~ Submitted by Erin Sandler-Rathe
I am writing to support the elections of Emily Mitchell and Shawn Hanegan for the Select Board, Brad Morrison and Sheila Mehta-Green for School Committee, and Bea Brunkhorst for Board of Health. My primary reason for voting for these candidates is experience.
Candidates in elections often position themselves as “outsiders” or promise to “shake things up.” I prefer to vote for candidates with experience in the roles they will be taking on. Often this means voting for incumbents: Ms. Mitchell, Dr. Morrison and Dr. Brunkhorst. Bedford weathered the two years of the pandemic in good fiscal shape and with lower transmission and mortality rates than many others around us. This has only been possible through the leadership and coordination of our officials. I strongly prefer to continue to receive guidance from those who have been in the trenches throughout this crisis.
It is easy to criticize decisions from the outside and think there could have been better outcomes. However, our current Select Board, School Committee and Board of Health have collectively committed thousands of hours to weighing those decisions. They have repeatedly stayed late into the night to hear public comments, to discuss options with their colleagues and to review all available data from the necessary agencies. We might, individually, not have liked certain decisions or felt that they didn’t work for our specific situation: my children, my business or my household. However, leadership is not about making any one citizen happy with every decision. I believe Bedford handled the crisis better than most towns, and I believe our current leaders have operated in good faith to meet the needs of the Town as a whole.
Mr. Hanegan and Ms. Mehta-Green are not incumbents, but they have important and relevant experience needed for the offices they seek. Ms. Mehta-Green has worked with all of Bedford’s schools for years. She has consistently taken on leadership positions in the PTOs and SEPAC. Mr. Hanegan has served Bedford in numerous capacities, including Planning Board, which has given him the opportunity to work with the Select Board closely. I know them both to be good faith operators as well.
I urge my neighbors to vote for candidates who will lead with thoughtful consideration of all factors and then base their decisions on what will best serve the whole Bedford community. In my opinion, these are those candidates.
[Editor’s note: Bea Brunkhorst has a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Brad Morrison had a Ph.D. from MIT.]