~ Submitted by Emily Mitchell
I am pleased to announce my candidacy for re-election to the Bedford Select Board. I have been privileged to be a member of the Select Board since 2019, and to serve as its Clerk for the past year.
When I first ran for Select Board, I focused on three big ideas: accessibility, livability, and inclusivity. I am proud of the work we’ve done so far as a Board and as a Town toward these ends.
- Established regular Public Comment section at each Select Board meeting, to give residents a consistent opportunity to speak on issues before the Board
- Regularly live-streamed and recorded board and committee meetings for remote viewers, thanks to our partnership with Bedford TV, which has substantially increased public participation in Town government
- Established the Disability Commission and completed a grant-funded Town-wide disability audit, to help us ensure our public spaces and procedures are open and accessible to all
- Increased the default percentage of green energy sources through Community Choice Aggregation to 20%, which provides a cost savings from prior years, with an opportunity to opt-up to 100% green energy
- Earned state approval for Bedford’s Cultural District, to celebrate and promote local arts and culture, and added new public art installations around town
- Continued attention to our streetscapes, including adding more sidewalks in critical areas and installing Adirondack chairs and other seating options in public parks and shopping areas
- Secured overwhelming voter approval of the name change from Selectmen to Select Board, creating a gender-neutral title in line with other Town boards and committees
- Actively recruited new board and committee members, led by the Volunteer Coordinating Committee, to ensure broader representation of Bedford’s population
- Applied for and received a yearlong Racial Equity and Municipal Action Plan (REMAP) pilot grant (one of only six communities in MA to do so), to help the Town achieve tangible improvements in community-wide outcomes to reduce racial divides
And that’s just a small sampling of our accomplishments over the last three years. We have many more opportunities and challenges ahead in the next three years—not least of which is securing the location for a new fire station, which the Town and our first responders desperately need.
The biggest issue during my first term, of course, has been the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID has been a stress test, for Bedford and the whole world, and we don’t yet know all the lessons we’ll take from this experience. I want to continue to be part of the team leading the Town through these challenges. I am hopeful that our experiences during the pandemic have opened up new ideas and opportunities to improve our common life in Town—taking advantage of our natural resources to enjoy more time outdoors, for example, or providing more ways for residents to participate in public life from the comfort of their homes, through technological improvements and access.
Serving on the Select Board has been a privilege and a responsibility that I take seriously. I can’t promise that everyone will agree with me on every issue, or approve of every decision I make. But I can promise that I will always do my homework, I will always ask questions, and I will always strive to maintain the trust that voters placed in me three years ago.
I am grateful for the support and encouragement that Bedford has given me during my first term on the Select Board. I humbly ask for your vote at Town Caucus on January 4, and again at the Town Election on March 12.