By Jaime Craven
Caucus nominees filled all but one available ballot slot last Tuesday at the Town Caucus for the upcoming town election on March 11. This year, 12 seats are set to open across seven public offices, including two on the Bedford Library’s Board of Trustees, one of which will not have a Caucus Nominee since no candidate stood for the seat.
Rachel Field, who has served as Chair of the Trustees since 2014, was nominated for one position. For the other position, Field attempted to name current Trustee Lynne O’Connor, but was unable due to O’Connor’s absence. O’Connor, who has served on the Board since 2002, recently announced she will not be running again this year.
According to the Bedford Charter, a town office hopeful may still attain a spot on the ballot by submitting a petition to the Town Clerk. However, as of Friday, January 13, no one has stepped forward to do so. If the Library Trustee vacancy is not filled after the election, the remaining Trustees will be tasked with appointing a new trustee by roll call vote. Citizens are, of course, also free to write in a name come March.
Many of the other open seats were met with familiar faces. State Representative Kenneth Gordon nominated Michael Rosenberg for another three-year term on as Selectman, which Rosenberg says will be his last before retiring. In a short but enthusiastic speech, Gordon highlighted Rosenberg’s “nonstop” years of public service, starting in 1989 as a member of the School Committee, and concluding as a Selectman for the past three terms. Rosenberg, taking the podium, described his “visceral love” for the town of Bedford.“I guess this makes this a PG-rated talk,” he joked, to a chorus of laughter.
Also running for Selectman is Edward Pierce, nominated by Ann Guay. If elected, Pierce will be replacing Selectman Mark Siegenthaler, who is retiring after this election following more than 20 years in town office. Pierce and Guay served four years together on the School Committee. “Frankly, I cannot imagine a budget season without him,” she said.
For the School Committee, Pierce nominated Guay, who is currently serving as Vice Chairman. Guay praised the Bedford School System for its efforts in accommodating the needs of all students, and noted that this is an important factor in Bedford’s attractiveness to new families.The School Committee also saw the nomination of Sarah Scoville, a volunteer art teacher and spearhead for the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s vacation Bible school. Both women spoke of past work as advocates for the families living in the Bedford Plaza Hotel
Selectman William Moonan nominated 10-year veteran Jane Puffer for another five-year term on the Housing Authority. “Jane has helped shape the town as we know it today,” he said. At the podium, Puffer spoke fast, rattling off plans for a new maintenance facility to be constructed by the students of Shawsheen Tech, as well as continuing work with the Life Management program so that participating families may “move up the ladder of success.”
Also looking for a return to her post as Assessor is Zoe Pierce. Pierce is employed as Treasurer and Collector for the Town of Wayland. Both Pierce and Carol Amick, her nominator, noted that this is a volunteer endeavor; “This is the one way that I’ve looked for years, that I could do something for Bedford, that I could add value,” said Pierce.
The nominees for the Planning Board were Cindy Barbehenn and Tim Gray. The latter expressed his belief that the Board is frequently pressured to work without sufficient information, and that, as a journalist, this is a challenge for which he is prepared. In particular, he cited his field of focus – business and finance – as qualification. “[That’s] basically what the Planning Board does,” he said. Barbehenn, meanwhile, mentioned her connections with various community groups and businesses, and raised the ever-hot topic of alleviating traffic through Bedford.
The Board of Health saw incumbent Mary Seymour, a nurse, and professor Ann Kiessling nominated. Seymour discussed the prominent role of lifestyle and environment in health, which she said she noticed early in her career. She also pointed to tick and mosquito disease prevention as a current area of concern. Kiessling echoed and amplified this sentiment, calling for a “coordinated effort” to control the issue.
The deadline to register to vote in the March 11 town election is February 19.