Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

The Bedford Citizen is gratified that you, our readers, have taken such an interest in the 2019 race for Selectman and have sent nearly 40 letters to the editor endorsing one or another candidate.

But late last week, we got a very special letter, and then we asked for two more.

The Citizen proudly presents an inside look at each of the three candidates for Selectman – Bill Moonan, Chris Gittins, and Emily Mitchell — written by their spouses – Carol Amick, Stacy Chandler, and John Mitchell.

Read all you can (links to the candidate pages are posted at www.thebedfordcitize.org ), then make up your mind, and come to the polls at the John Glenn Middle School on Saturday, March 9 from 8 am to 6 pm. Unless you vote at the Town Clerk’s office during regular business hours (8 to 4 on Thursday, and 8 until noon on Friday).

CAROL AMICK ~ FOR HER HUSBAND, BILL MOONAN

As Bill Moonan’s wife of 43 years, I know how smart he is.  I know his gentle nature, his integrity, honesty, compassion, and love for our town.

Bill’s commitment to the citizens of this town is undeniable.  From saving the historic, Union School as our Town Center, to serving on numerous boards and committees, including 9 years as a Selectman, Bill has contributed in so many ways.  But don’t take my word for it; please read all the letters endorsing him that appear on the “Letters” page of his campaign website,  www.MoonanForSelectman.com, including letters that didn’t make the newspapers’ deadlines:

  • Former Selectman Walter St. Onge wrote: “Bill long ago recognized the value of maintaining the best attributes of the Town’s history, coupled with sensible financial decisions that enhance Bedford’s livability for everyone.”
  • Current Selectman Mike Rosenberg said: “We can be confident that (Bill’s) advocacy and priorities are based on decades of involvement, diligent research, informed reflection and a sincere love for the town and the values it represents.”
  • Retired climate scientist and Bedford resident Rick Rosen confirmed Bill’s belief that climate change is a crisis that must be addressed.
  • 255 residents endorsed Bill in a single letter for many things he’s done and supports.
  • Jon “OC” O’Connor wrote that, even though he and Bill don’t always agree on an outcome, “Bill Moonan has earned my appreciation for his unrelenting dedication, insightful involvement, and inspiring dependability, in town activities, organizations, causes, and government.”
  • Don Corey said he believes Bill’s “continued service as a Selectman is critical” to re-establishing a town historical museum.
  • Jane Puffer wrote about Bill’s work for Seniors on the Bedford Housing Authority, and Bobbie Ennis told how Bill decided, one night while walking our dog, to save the Union School as a Town Center, commenting: “I am so grateful for Bill’s creative vision, 38 years ago, when he took action as a private citizen to save the old Union School building behind Town Hall, and turn it into the wonderful Town Center we have today.  Where would Bedford be without our Town Center!”
  • Current and former Finance Committee members Ben Thomas, Paul Mortenson, Steve Carluccio, and Jerry Pfeiffer praised Bill’s “sensitivity to the Town’s financial condition,” his almost-100% attendance record at FinCom meetings for the past 9 years, the “110%” he gives to the job, and his ability to “ask good questions, provide considered answers, and prepare thoroughly for presentations.”

As Bill’s wife, I’m biased.  But these testimonials come from residents who volunteer with Bill, have worked with him for years, and believe his re-election is best for the Town.  I hope you’ll join them, and others, to re-elect Bill this Saturday.

I also urge you to ignore the campaign of untruths being spread about Bill’s positions on climate change and solar power.  This kind of campaign scare tactic has no place in Bedford.  Bill has always supported solar and wind power; hasn’t everyone?  He tried to get solar panels installed on our house but was told the roof orientation is wrong.  He recognizes there is a climate change crisis and has supported every Town proposal to make the town greener.  He cares deeply about these issues, as he also does about Bedford’s Seniors, about fiscal responsibility, about ameliorating our traffic problems, and about re-establishing a historical museum, to name a few.  There are many other challenges the Town is, and will be, facing over the next few years.  Bill expects to energetically address these matters, as he has done in the past.  Please vote for him this Saturday.

STACY CHANDLER ~ FOR HER HUSBAND,  CHRIS GITTINS

I am writing today to provide you with some personal insight into my husband Chris Gittins, who is running for Selectman. Thank you to Julie Turner and The Bedford Citizen for this opportunity. I have many options for how I could fill you in.  I am choosing to provide you with two settings to help you understand the Chris that I know and love.

Chris and I have been married for 12 years. We became parents 10 years ago. In our busy lives of parenting and working, we have two areas of our home life that have important significance to us–the dinner table and the garden.

Dinnertime in our household with our 10- and 8-year-old children can include any and all of the following: examining climate change, sharing our “highs” and “lows”, exploring racial discrimination, telling and composing jokes, sharing story plotlines, solving math equations, discussing transgender rights, telling family history stories, reviewing our energy usage and solar intake for the day, explaining labor unions, or reviewing Wii high scores.

“Ask until you understand” is one of Chris’s favorite mottos. I am a licensed social worker and certified early childhood teacher and Chris is a research scientist. We do not shy away from answering questions or providing additional provocation when the children seek information.  Chris listens, repeats their questions to ensure that he heard them correctly, and then asks what their thoughts are on the topics, all before providing a thorough but age-appropriate answer. If Chris doesn’t know the answer, they go look it up together.  It wasn’t until the day that our oldest child asked, “Why is the sky blue?” that I thoroughly understood the phenomenon myself. Chris’s area of expertise is optical spectroscopy, after all.

When Chris moved into our house in 2001, he inherited a garden that his Nova Scotian-born grandmother had cultivated over 50 years. Her rhododendrons and arborvitaes still anchor corners of our yard. Over the last decade, Chris has quietly and steadily created an oasis for both us and pollinators. He removed invasive species of tree and plants. He researched and taught himself about native and climate appropriate wildflowers, berries, and fruit trees. The result is a yard that produces kitchen crops of peaches, pears, raspberries, elderberries, blackberries, and hopefully paw-paws.  Chris includes our children in his gardening passion—spreading our own composted soil, deciding on which plants to add, and teaching them how to identify birds, butterflies, and bees. Our son even knows how to pet a bee!

The dinner table and the garden are Chris’s oases—from his work responsibilities, the news, or whatever stresses him. He is rejuvenated by these reflective and purposeful aspects of our home life. As an introvert, he enjoys having the opportunity to listen, research, explain, and reflect on new perspectives and ideas.

I have seen this same approach during this campaign as he has met with fellow Bedford residents. Chris has his own vision for building Bedford together which you can read about at www.chrisgittins.org, but he is most inspired and rejuvenated when he gets to hear others’ thoughts and concerns. Chris’s enthusiasm for meaningful discussions and future-oriented planning that builds off of the past are characteristics that he exhibits in all settings.

In closing, I’ll share a couple of Chris’s other favorite expressions. He values a “belt and suspenders” or “measure twice, cut once” approach to projects. As your Selectman, he will make sure that any statement, proposal, or decision is well researched, has sufficient input, and is clearly and openly explained. I’ve never once in 12 years wondered where Chris stood on an issue—big or small. Thoughtful and truthful is where it’s at with Chris. Period.

Thank you again for this opportunity to share my perspective of Chris Gittins.

I look forward to seeing you at the polls on Saturday, March 9.

JOHN MITCHELL ~ FOR HIS WIFE, EMILY MITCHELL

Nobody should be surprised that I strongly endorse Emily Mitchell’s candidacy for Bedford Selectman because I am her husband. In nearly twenty years of marriage, I have developed a unique perspective about her. Emily possesses many admirable qualities which will serve her well in this office. I would like to share three:

First, Emily believes in building our community. Every parent has a litany of phrases they use with their children, some of which provoke eye-rolling, to instill important lessons and habits. In our home, with our teenagers, Emily’s most common refrain is, “We live in community.” She says this because she believes we all have a responsibility to help each other and make our town, nation, and world a better place for everyone, not just ourselves.

Second, Emily is committed. She understands that volunteer organizations—in schools, at houses of worship, in community service groups, and in town government—only succeed when individuals step forward to dedicate their time and talent to make success happen. Since we moved to Bedford in 2001, Emily has answered the call, again and again, as a library trustee, a warden of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, parent coordinator for the BHS and JGMS musicals, POMS president, board member of the Bedford Citizen. Each of these organizations have been strengthened by Emily’s involvement and commitment.

Finally, Emily is diligent. She works hard at every task she takes on. She prepares. She studies. She shows up. She takes notes. She follows up on loose ends. She demonstrates an exacting attention to detail and takes pride in a job well done. Emily takes seriously the trust that others place in her, and in all cases she puts in the time and effort required to get things done and make things happen. Of all the traits I admire in her, I admire her work ethic most of all.

I hope you will join me in voting for Emily Mitchell for Selectman on March 9th.

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