Nomination Comments ~ Follow-up to Bedford’s Annual Town Caucus 2022

Adjusted protocols for Bedford’s annual Town Caucus eliminated nomination speeches—candidates were nominated and seconded from the floor without traditional speeches by the nominators.

The Bedford Citizen invited all the candidates to share their prepared remarks along with undelivered nominating speeches.

Assessor

Nancy Wolk, nominated by Rebecca Neale

Nominating remarks were not submitted.

Board of Health

Bea Brunkhorst, nominated by Susan Schwartz

Hello everyone and thank you for coming out tonight to support Bedford’s candidates. My name is Susan Schwartz and it is my honor and pleasure to nominate Bea Brunkhorst for the Bedford Board of Health. I have had the privilege to serve on the Board of Health with Bea and am impressed by how she regularly leverages her experience, knowledge, skills, interests in and passion for science, safety and public health to inform and educate the Board and the Bedford community on the science that affects our public health. She has done this not only relative to COVID, but in terms of the many public health issues that affect the Bedford community. Please join me in supporting Bea’s nomination as a candidate for the Bedford Board of Health.

Alison O’Connell,
nominated by Katie Guerino

Nominating remarks were not submitted.

Library Trustee

Abby Hafer, nominated by Elizabeth Hacala

Nominating remarks were not submitted.

Padma Choudry, nominated by Lalitha Gunturi Raganath

Last Tuesday evening at our Town Caucus, it was my honor and privilege to nominate my good friend and now neighbor, Padma Choudry, to serve on our Board of Library Trustees.

While Padma and her family are relatively new to the Bedford community, I am lucky to have known her for almost 20 years.   Padma was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Boston to attend law school.  As classmates at Boston University School of Law, Padma helped me navigate how to survive the frigid Northeast winters (a shock for me, having moved from Texas!).  She also served as my partner in crime as we navigated the pressures and intense curriculum of law school.

After law school, her career took Padma away from Boston for some years, but I was absolutely thrilled when she and her family decided to make Bedford home.  Even though they moved to town in the middle of the pandemic, Padma and her family quickly made connections in town and were instantly drawn to our wonderful town library.

A technology attorney by day, Padma amazes me in her commitment to reading for pleasure.  She has also instilled a love of reading (and the library!) in her children—a 4th grader and Kindergartner.

If elected as a Library Trustee, I know Padma will bring her thoughtfulness and dedication to the role.  She works well with others and strives to reach common ground between opposing views.  She will also bring a young parent’s perspective to the Board, an important and growing demographic that the library serves.

I am lucky to have known and benefitted from Padma’s friendship and thoughtfulness for the past 20 years, and I am excited for Bedford to now reap those benefits too.

Please join me in voting for Padma Choudry at the town election on March 12th.

Elizabeth Hacala, nominated by Abby Hafer

Nominating remarks were not submitted.

Moderator

Mark Siegenthaler, nominated by Betsey Anderson

I am pleased to nominate Mark Siegenthaler as a caucus nominee for the position of Moderator. Mark has lived in Bedford since 1982 and has been involved in local government in various positions for over 28 years. He and his wife Diana have three daughters who grew up in Bedford attending the Bedford Public Schools and graduating from Bedford High School.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and has a master’s degree in Urban, Social and Environmental Policy from Tufts University. He is currently retired having worked for several governmental agencies – including more than 25 years at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. In addition, he worked for the City of Newton and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).

Mark brought his interest in local government and his professional training to the positions he has held in the Town of Bedford. He was a member of the Planning Board for more than 7 years. Elected in 1996, he then served as a Selectman for 21 years.

He has also served in appointed positions including the Bedford Housing Partnership, the Municipal Housing Trust, HATS – the Hanscom Area Towns Committee, and the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission. These positions reflect his expertise in affordable housing matters and inter-community cooperation especially as it relates to Hanscom Field. Other areas where Mark has shown leadership are in fiscal planning, capital expenditures and the development of infrastructure.

In his various roles in local government, Mark has actively participated in Bedford’s Town Meetings – representing the Planning Board and the Select Board – by making presentations and responding to questions from citizens. Most recently, Mark assisted at the 2021 Annual Town Meeting as the assistant moderator and was elected as the moderator for the Fall 2021 Special Town Meeting.

Mark respects the tradition of Town Meetings as the local legislative bodies in Massachusetts and the ways in which they involve direct participation and control by citizens in deciding the future of their towns. He also recognizes the need to keep Town Meeting relevant and will seek ways to encourage participation and engagement of local voters in our community. His experience and commitment make him an excellent candidate for moderator.

I urge you to support Mark at the local election on Saturday, March 12th.

Planning Board

Todd Crowley, nominated by Jacinda Barbehenn

It is my pleasure to nominate Todd Crowley as a Candidate for the Planning Board in the upcoming 2022 Town Election.
Todd has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for close to 10 years and has been chair for the last six.
Todd would like to take what he has learned from working on one regulatory board and expand his focus to a board that does regulatory work as well as look ahead to what Bedford needs with respect to zoning.

Regional School Committee

Nancy Asbedian, nominated by Brian O’Donnell

It was my pleasure at the recent Town Caucus to nominate Nancy Asbedian to serve for a second term on the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School School Committee.

During the past year as her colleague on the Committee, I have witnessed her infectious enthusiasm for advancing Shawsheen’s mission, particularly with regard to encouraging more Bedford families to give consideration to the Shawsheen option when considering public school choices for students transitioning out of their middle school years.

Nancy led the Policy Subcommittee which has recently overseen a major set of revisions to Shawsheen’s admissions process (including an enhanced appeals process) which will have direct benefits for expanding access to admission.

She is currently shepherding the Committee in the first complete review of the school’s policy manual in decades.  By attending Shawsheen outreach events at JGMS and meeting with Bedford town representatives on-site at Shawsheen, she furthers the objective of having Bedford in the foreseeable future using all of its allocated openings at Shawsheen (projected to be 34 spaces for next year’s first-year class).

There is a particular selflessness to Nancy’s efforts because her clear goal is to expand educational access opportunities for a new generation of Bedford kids now that her own children and grandchildren have pursued their own educational paths.

I encourage support for Nancy Asbedian in Bedford’s March 12 election. And I know Nancy would want me to remind everyone that the admission deadline for the Shawsheen Class of 2026 is February 1st. Go Rams!

School Committee

Bradley Morrison, nominated by Steven Hill

I am pleased to nominate Bradley Morrison for re-election to the Bedford School Committee.

Like Brad, I am the proud father of a 16-year-old sophomore at Bedford High School. I have been a resident of Bedford for 20 years, and my wife was raised here and went to Bedford Schools.

Our children have grown up as close friends, and I have known Brad, and his wife Sally, for most of my time in Bedford.  Throughout the time I have known him, Brad has been one of the most thoughtful, patient and sincere people that I know.  I was very excited when he initially told me that he was going to run for School Committee several years ago because I knew that he would use these same qualities that make him a good and caring person to help the Bedford Public Schools and our community.

There are three principles that guide his work on the School Committee: doing what is right for the students, knowing that there is more to education than just book knowledge, and listening to all of the school community stakeholders.  These are his most important duties, and they are exactly what Bedford needs now.  Brad’s adherence to these principles has helped the School Committee shepherd the Bedford schools through the most difficult health crisis in recent memory. Thanks to the School Committee that he is on, and their close partnership with the Bedford Public Schools and staff, Bedford Schools have been able to remain open where other school systems have shut down or gone remote.

Brad is also a phenomenal team builder and player.  Brad is a faculty member of Brandeis University and holds teaching appointments at MIT (Sloan School of Management) and Brown University.  There, he works with, and teaches diverse groups of faculty and students in some of the most prestigious business management programs in the country.  This type of team building and cooperative effort is needed for the School Committee to work effectively with the Bedford Public Schools for the citizens of Bedford.

Overall, Brad has worked tirelessly for the citizens of Bedford since being elected to the School Committee.  He carefully considers the needs of all the stakeholders before he makes any recommendations to his fellow committee members. He brings a unique skillset, based on his academic and business backgrounds, that the Town of Bedford needs in these difficult times.

I proudly nominate J. Bradley Morrison for School Committee at the Town Caucus on January 4, 2022.

Eleanor Gorsey, nominated by Shuang Stoppe

I would like to nominate Dr. Eleanor Gorsey.

Dr. Gorsey received her Master’s degree from Wayne State University and PhD from St Louis University. She taught at St. Louis University and Southern Illinois University as an associate professor. She was in the Massachusetts Public Schools in Newton and Reading and served on the school evaluation committee for the Commission on Public Schools for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. She served the Bedford Community for years as the Director of the Bedford Learning School.

Dr. Gorsey is committed to listening to the stakeholders, and helping our town provide the best educational experience for our children and prepare them to succeed in life.

Kelly Horton, nominated by Meredith Wasko

Nominating remarks were not submitted.

Sheila Mehta-Green, nominated by Emily Mitchell

I’m delighted to nominate Sheila Mehta-Green as a candidate for School Committee.

I have known Sheila for nine years, initially as a fellow Den parent in Cub Scout Pack 194. We worked together as parent volunteers for the JGMS musical for three years, and our paths have crossed often through volunteer activities with POMS and the MSPA as well. As you may have read in her candidate announcement, Sheila has been involved with Bedford’s public schools for many years, as the co-chair of SEPAC, a frequent room parent, a member of the District and JGMS reopening committees, and a member of the JGMS principal search committee.

Sheila’s gregarious nature and keen intellect are an excellent match for the duties of a School Committee member. She listens carefully, does her homework, and knows how to advocate for herself and for others. Last year Superintendent Conrad began meeting monthly with the leadership of various parent organizations, and I was always impressed with Sheila’s ability to raise questions and press for improvements in collaborative and effective ways. She is generous with praise and thoughtful with criticism, understanding that we are all in this together as a community.

When COVID suspended rehearsals for JGMS’s 2020 production of FROZEN JR., the students and directing staff were left rather lost, without a sense of closure or a way to celebrate the work we had done up to that point. It was Sheila who suggested a cast-and-crew Zoom meeting on what would have been our opening night, and Sheila who coordinated the logistics and structure of that meeting. She made sure every student had a chance to express their feelings and fears that day, and gave all of us—students and adults alike—the space and opportunity we needed to be together in that moment.

Sheila is a dynamo. She seeks out opportunities to contribute her skills and talents, and knows how to rally others to participate as well. For last year’s 8th-grade Moving On ceremony, Sheila corralled a volunteer core of dozens of parents to coordinate gift bags, photos, setup, cleanup, and more, ensuring a memorable outdoor event that all families could enjoy.

I believe Sheila Mehta-Green would be an excellent member of the Bedford School Committee. She is tireless in her advocacy for students and staff, dedicated to the mission of our public schools, and sensitive to the needs of all families in Bedford. I encourage you to support her at the polls on March 12.

Select Board

Emily Mitchell, nominated by Ann Guay

I was so looking forward to nominating Emily Mitchell for Re-Election to the Select Board at Town Caucus this Tuesday, but due to COVID 19 concerns, nominating speeches are not being made. The Bedford Citizen offered to publish these speeches, so I have submitted it for publication.

When Emily first announced her candidacy for Selectman in 2019, I was glad to see that she was interested in running. Note, the name of the position changed to Member of the Select Board after the 2020 election. While we did not know each other well, our paths had crossed in town over the years through various volunteer activities. Prior to her first run, Emily was active in Bedford. She was elected a Trustee to the Bedford Free Public Library, was president of Bedford Patrons of Music Students (“POMS”) and a parent coordinator of the JGMS musical.

My friend Dori Pulizzi invited me to a candidate’s coffee she was hosting for Emily at her home, and I decided to go and listen and learn more about Emily’s ideas about being a selectman. I liked what I heard, especially her three big ideas for the Town:  accessibility, livability and inclusivity. In some instances, candidates for elected office espouse lofty ideas but are vague on the details. Emily’s goals were straight forward and practical. I was glad to see her elected to the Board of Selectman.

During the last three years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Emily in a variety of capacities. When there was an opening on the Bedford School Committee due to a resignation, the Select Board and the School Committee interviewed candidates for the open seat. Emily and I did not rank the candidates in the same order, but I did find her rationale for who she believed should be appointed persuasive. Later, when we were both liaisons to the Bedford Youth and Family Services Committee, I developed a new appreciation for Emily’s attention to detail and ability to get things done. Emily’s work with the Volunteer Coordinating Committee is a textbook example of how to effectively recruit new committee members for boards and commissions. It is great to see new residents becoming involved in town government.

For more than two years now, Bedford has responded to the challenges of COVID-19. As a member of the Select Board, Emily has worked tirelessly with Town Manager Sarah Stanton and Heidi Porter, the Director of Health & Human Services to respond to the changing needs of community members. While everyone did not always agree on how to proceed, the Town saw the needs of residents and expanded the Food Bank and created an Emergency Relief Fund. Despite all these challenges, government went on. Town Meetings took place on football fields in sweltering heat and elections were held with everyone six feet apart. Effective town government requires strong leadership. Emily has demonstrated her ability to effectively serve on the Select Board and we are fortunate as a community that she wants to serve another term.

These are just a few of the reasons that I am supporting Emily’s re-election to Select Board. I am pleased to be able to nominate Emily for caucus nominee to the Select Board and I urge you to support her as a nominee this evening and at the polls on March 12, 2022.

Shawn Hanegan, nominated by Ken Gordon

To my fellow Bedford-ites,  Happy New Year.  My name is Ken Gordon, and it is my honor and my pleasure to nominate Shawn Hanegan as a candidate for Bedford Select Board.

As a rule, I do not become involved in our municipal election.  That’s because as your representative in the legislature, it is my job to work with all of my municipal partners. I don’t usually want to complicate the relationship by becoming involved in local races.  But this year, right now, I want to be sure that we continue and in fact strengthen the cultural fabric of our town, through the executive body that makes our most important decisions.  Shawn Hanegan is the candidate who, together with Emily Mitchell who is running for re-election, is best positioned to join the other Select Board members in protecting our town.  Shawn is the best candidate to carry on the fine work of Bill Moonan, who will be missed.

Here’s the reason:   He is the candidate who has learned the values of Bedford and he is the candidate best prepared to lead.  He volunteered for the Transportation Advisory Committee, the Housing Partnership Committee and the Community Preservation Committee.  This led to three terms on the Planning Board, where he now serves as chair.  This important work is what prepares Shawn to serve on the Select Board and I want to be sure that we can turn to experienced, involved, and prepared leaders for this top position.  In my capacity as State Rep, I rely on partners on the Select Board who are ready from day one.  Bedford residents need Select Board members who are ready from day one.  Shawn has put in the time and has done the work, to prepare him for this role.

There are three reasons why Shawn is the best candidate from among the challengers.  First, Shawn has a vision for Bedford’s future that reflects our culture.  Second, he understands Bedford’s challenges and is prepared to lead, right now.  Third, as I said, he is prepared.

Shawn Hanegan has a vision for Bedford’s future, and he has demonstrated that by showing up.  As the Chair of the Planning Board, he has helped to shape our future.  He sees Bedford’s vital role as a leader in the life sciences industry and is prepared to cultivate it.  He has sought out housing opportunities so our seniors and returning students have a place to live.  He has come to me to discuss our energy future.  Through his vision and that of current Select Board members, we will continue to live in a safe, clean, environmentally conscious town.

Shawn has a handle on the town’s current challenges.  We are in the second year of a pandemic that has changed everyday life.  Decisions that affect all of us are made frequently.  Shawn is the candidate who will continue to make the hard choices, such as whether and when we must protect each other by wearing masks indoors.  He led the effort to re-zone the Pine Hill Crossing neighborhood by listening to residents and other municipal leaders, even satisfying early objections We need a candidate who listens to all points of view, exercises steady judgment, and comes to a well-reasoned decision.  We don’t have to wonder if Shawn is that person. We know he is.  We have seen it in his leadership roles with the town already.

Indeed, Shawn has a track record to demonstrate he is prepared to succeed.  He is ready.  Ever since Shawn came to Bedford, he joined in with volunteer committees to listen and to learn.  I urge you to join me in nominating Shawn Hanegan for Bedford Select Board and voting for him on March 12.  It is my honor to introduce, Shawn Hanegan. Thank you.

Ronald O’Brien, nominated by Adam O’Brien

Nominating remarks were not submitted.

Correction, 1/15/2022: Nancy Wolk is the candidate for assessor, not Nancy Wolf.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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