These uncertain days have led me to adopt this quote, attributed to Squire Bill Widener of Virginia in 1913, as my mantra: “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” I am excited to announce my candidacy for election to the Bedford Board of Health. I am honored to use my skills and expertise in this elected position that can have such a beneficial impact on our lives – as individuals, families, and a community.
I have been a Bedford resident for 33 years. My husband, Frank, and I are grateful to have raised and educated our three sons in this wonderful town. My initial town involvement was in 1988 when Ronnie Gould and I were Co-Chairs of the Bedford Community Playground. The success of this multigenerational project gave me a first-hand appreciation of the generosity, value, and power of community volunteers.
In the late 1980s, I represented town residents on the Bedford AIDS Task Force, a collaborative effort of town staff and boards, residents, and community partners. As the Town of Bedford Youth and Family Services’ Prevention Coordinator (1997-2004), I was responsible for town-wide alcohol, drug, and tobacco prevention, outreach, and education. I am awaiting approval of my application to join Bedford’s Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T) as part of its Medical Reserves Corps and look forward to serving in this role.
Bedford’s Town Election will take place just 3 months from today, on Saturday, March 15.
Because of current restrictions on gatherings, Bedford’s annual Caucus could not be held in person, and all candidates must collect signatures on nomination papers. As of Friday, Jan. 15, candidates have taken out nomination papers for the following offices, with several offices still without candidates.
Editor’s Note–As of Friday, Jan. 8, we continue to wait for the confirmation of the Governor’s signature on the bill that authorizes changes to our Town Election procedures. The legislation includes a requirement of 10 versus 50 signatures of registered voters to qualify for placement on the ballot for the Town Election on March 13.
Ensuring that our Town’s elected boards operate effectively requires complete boards with members elected by residents. Therefore, we need to ensure that these vital parts of the management of our Town are fully staffed through the Town Election on March 13. Ideally, voters will have choices between candidates to ensure that the board members represent the community.
We have been inundated and consumed with the politics of our democracy at the national level for the last year or more. But what of the local level? Former MA Congressman and Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil, famously said “All politics is local.” By extension, if our democracy is to thrive at the national level, it must also thrive at the local level.
Bedford’s “Open Town Meeting” form of government, is a “direct democracy” – every resident registered voter has a say and vote at Town Meeting. While we rightly take great pride in this tradition, it does not aﬀord the individual voting resident much power or influence regarding the direction and creation of town policy. That work is done well in advance of discussions that take place on Town Meeting floor – in committees and board meetings throughout the year – when the greatest impact can be had.
I had hoped to open my first letter of 2021 with lighthearted remarks about the end of 2020 and our looking forward to ushering in the new year. However, the events of Wednesday evening in Washington D.C. changed the trajectory of my message. Like so many Americans, I was overcome with sadness for our country. The events in Washington DC were difficult to watch and impossible to believe. My thoughts immediately turned to our teachers and administrators who would be greeting our students on Thursday morning. I sent them a quick message thanking them in advance for the courageous conversations to come. I was grateful that each principal worked with their faculty to provide a moment of reflection and community building. The principals and other colleagues also offered age-appropriate resources to help guide those important classroom conversations. This thoughtful approach is so important to our students and families and I am grateful to our faculty and staff for everything that they have been called on to do and the grace with which they do it.
Editor’s Note—Breaking News: At least four town offices on Bedford’s March 13 ballot are wide open on the night when the citizens caucus would have taken place if it was a virus-free year.
Planning Board member Jeffrey Cohen, Assessor Ronald Cordes, Housing Authority member Lewis Putney and Glenn McIntyre, a member of the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School Committee, have all confirmed that they are not running for re-election.
Two others said they are unsure of their plans: Anta Raj of the Board of Heath and Library Trustee Dennis Ahern. Another Board of Health member whose term is expiring, Sarah Thompson, could not be reached.
Only three office-holders are currently candidates for re-election: School Committee member Dan Brosgol, Select Board member Margot Fleischman, and Michael Pulizzi of the Board of Library Trustees.
If these were normal times the Town Election season would start tonight January 5 with the annual Town Caucus. Bedford registered voters would gather in the Reed Room in Town Hall to hear nominations, statements of support, candidate statements and vote to designate two candidates for each position as a “Caucus Nominee.”
Additional candidates as well as those who were not nominated by the Caucus would still have the option of appearing on the ballot, but would need to complete nomination papers requiring the signatures of fifty registered Bedford voters.
I am pleased to announce my candidacy for reelection to the Bedford Select Board. It has been my privilege to serve in this position since 2012, and I would be honored to be given another three-year term to continue to work on behalf of the people of Bedford.
I got involved with town government almost as soon as I moved to Bedford in 2003 with my husband Bill and our two (then little, now grown) children, Giuliana and Theo. My first volunteer job in town government was as a member of the Sidewalk Committee, which I joined in 2005 because I wanted to help make all our neighborhoods more walkable. For over 15 years, through my service on elected boards and volunteer committees, from the Planning Board to the Violence Prevention Coalition to the Community Preservation Committee, I have worked on policies and projects that have moved Bedford forward.
I first ran for the Select Board because I wanted to make a real difference in the lives of Bedford residents. Now as then, we care about housing affordability, providing a great education for our kids, taking care of our seniors, supporting our local businesses, strengthening our cultural institutions, protecting our environment, having a fiscally healthy town, and, of course, dealing with traffic. I’m proud of the projects I have advocated for through the years, from preserving the affordability of over 90 apartments at Bedford Village so that our lower-income neighbors would not lose their homes, to constructing the Davis Road Boardwalk so that the residents of West Bedford could safely walk or let their kids bike to the center of town.
But nothing I have done in the past nine years compares to what we are facing as a community at this moment. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, our major challenge has been to protect public health while we continue to work on these important issues and tackle new ones, like growing food insecurity, housing insecurity, mental health needs and social isolation. Town staff has worked ceaselessly to keep the doors of Town Hall open and the wheels of local government turning. It is a testament to this hard work that the Town of Bedford successfully held the first municipal election in the Commonwealth just four days after Governor Baker’s declaration of a public health state of emergency last March, stood up a weekly Emergency Food Bank, and launched a website to support Bedford restaurants and businesses all within a few short weeks.
This ongoing crisis has had so many facets and has touched our lives on every level. From how we work, how our kids do school, whether our favorite local restaurant will stay open, and when we might be able to hug our parents again, the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, and I know it has been hard on everyone. And while some of us have had to adjust to dramatically reconfigured lives, others have lost livelihoods and, tragically, fifty members of our community have died.