Each cycle many people ask me who I support in an upcoming election. Elections are something I have experience in having led campaigns for Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey and progressive Gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick, and was the founder of ProgressiveWatertown. I am traditionally drawn to candidates to start with their heart and finish with their brains. And it seems that Watertown has shown it’s admiration of these same traits as well.
First I congratulate each of the candidates for Town offices. It takes a lot to run, especially when it often pits you against friends and allies of past campaigns. It wasn’t too long ago when many town positions went uncontested or unopposed. That’s not the case this year with difficult choices to be made.
As for the Library trustees I will vote for David Breakstone, Daniel Pritchard, and Leanne Hammonds. All sincerely expressed their love for libraries and the importance it can play in uniting a community. As most of us use our computers at home whenever we want, if you ever stop by the Library computer room you’ll start to have an idea of what it provides for everyone. Each seemed committed to expand access, and each had a vision of what more the Library might provide our community.
I must say that I liked the School Committee candidates as a whole and that each seemed to offer measures of talent, experience, and concern to move the schools forward. But I have only three votes and I, like you, must make a choice. I think John Portz has been a steadying influence and will continue to do so with another term. With experience as a town councilor, an educator, and a parent, John has a base of experience to draw from. Lilly Rayman-Read is a parent, an educator, and an advocate. She sacrificed appearing at a Candidate Night because she had parent-teacher conferences at her school. I think she will be a new voice that will add to the School Committee. My last choice is the hardest. I think Elizabeth Yusem’s experience as an architect would be important strength to the Committee. However, I have decided to cast my third vote for Amy Donahue. I appreciate her efforts as President of the Watertown Education Foundation and the legacy she built there. I am a past President too and I fully understand how hard a job it is. An effective Education Foundation is a wonderful resource for community input and support to a school system. And her experience in special needs is an important strength. She earned my vote.
Town Councilor at large is also a difficult decision. Unfortunately, while all seemed to really want the job, I felt that Tony Palomba and Caroline Bays were the candidates that most expressed for their visions of what is possible over the same old arguments of “changing times.” Tony sees the income in town as resources to add services that were truly his vision. He not only dreams, he finds ways for his dreams to succeed. Caroline is unstoppable. Her dreams of what is right occur in the day time, where she acts on them in full view. All the stones in her life have been lifted to see what’s underneath them. David Stokes’s ability to express his goals have improved with each time I have seen him. I think his desire to serve is sincere and I think he’s worth giving my third vote.
I hope you’ll give this election some real consideration. I offer these opinions as my own and not as a member of a particular group. Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday November 7th, and close at 8 p.m. There is a lot riding on this election, VOTE! Or don’t complain!
(Letters about the Watertown Election will be accepted by Watertown News until noon on Sunday, Nov. 5. Send them to email@example.com)