John Flores, a Republican town councilor in Barnstable, seeks to unseat incumbent Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, for the Cape and Islands District state Senate position in the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.
Cyr, 32, will compete for a second term in the state Senate, representing 20 towns across Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.
Cyr told The Times that during his time as senator, he has worked passionately to address issues that are most pressing within the multitude of small communities. “In 2016, I told voters I could hit the ground running, and I believe we have done just that,” Cyr said.
Problems such as addiction, mental illness, rising housing costs, and environmental decline are all issues Cyr said he has worked closely with members of the community to resolve. Cyr grew up in Truro, a small town in Barnstable County that sees a seasonal tourist population. “I love small towns, because I grew up in one,” Cyr said. “I enjoy working closely with people in the community to go deep into the cause of some of these ongoing issues.”
Cyr graduated from New York University with a degree in public policy and community health. He worked closely with governors Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker in advancing coalitions and pushing for policy changes within the state legislature. One reason Cyr said he has been successful in his role as senator is because he understands what it’s like to grow up in a tiny, coastal community. “Truro is similar to many towns on Martha’s Vineyard, with a seasonal economy and a tight-knit community. I feel really at home on Martha’s Vineyard, because it reminds me a lot of where I grew up,” Cyr said. Cyr said he visits the Island every couple of weeks to meet with town administrators and visit friends.
In his youth, Cyr worked at Adrian’s Restaurant in Truro, which his family has owned for 28 years. “I spent my summers waiting tables and working behind the counter and meeting lots of locals,” Cyr said.
Over his two-year tenure as state senator, Cyr has brought more than $3.7 million in local funding priorities and statewide programs to Martha’s Vineyard alone, programs such as a $750,000 Economic Development Bonding Bil, which provided funds for Edgartown to store dredge sand and other materials in preparation for severe weather events. Cyr also advocated for $1 million to improve the welcome area and circulation plan for the Oak Bluffs ferry terminal. “I will work hard to address issues that are at the forefront of our community, just as I have in the past,” he said.
John Flores, a Republican in his 60s, said his experience as a teacher, coach, school administrator, superintendent, and college dean are what set him apart from his competitor and make him the right man for the job of state senator. “I bring real-life experience to the table,” Flores told The Times. “My key objective is to be a bipartisan voice for all my constituents, to be fiscally conservative, socially moderate, yet bring common sense to each and every decision I make.”
Flores holds a master’s of science degree from Boston University and a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.
Flores said he oversaw a multimillion-dollar budget as school superintendent in Lynnfield, and currently oversees a $160 million budget for the town of Barnstable. “I have had to research and analyze and work closely with those on both sides of the aisle to get things done,” Flores said.
Flores is a fourth-generation Cape Codder from Provincetown, and his family was part of the Provincetown fishing industry. “I had the great opportunity to live in Boston, Cape Cod, and Nantucket throughout my life,” he said.
According to Flores, he has a close connection with Martha’s Vineyard and the surrounding coastal areas. “I have visited Martha’s Vineyard regularly throughout my life, but had family on Nantucket since I was a child, and I lived on Nantucket for over 15 years, so I have a hands-on view of the needs and issues facing island life,” he said.
Flores said environmental concerns regarding the Cape and Islands are something he takes seriously. “The beauty and fragile environment are a gift and a responsibility that we need to preserve for future generations to enjoy, as we have. The memories I have from childhood are the same I wish for my children and grandchildren,” he said.
Water quality and wastewater issues are some of the most pressing in the district, according to Flores. “If we don’t have clean water, people won’t live here. We won’t have a fishing industry, a tourism industry, and therefore all other industries will be affected,” he said.
Flores also said he plans on focusing on the opioid epidemic: “This affects our healthcare services, first responders, crime levels, homelessness rates, our children whose parents are struggling with addiction, and the services these children need to break the cycle.”