20 Chilton Street
Relevant Qualifications: I have multiple degrees, including a Masters in Business Administration from Northeastern University, and a B.A. in English Literature from Boston College. I have 20 years of experience as a journalist, including over a decade with the Old Colony Memorial during which I wrote hundreds of stories on almost every Board and Committee in town, from the Select Board to the Cultural Committee, to the Conservation Committee, the Planning Board and others. During my time on the ‘Old Colony’ I received numerous awards, including being named Gatehouse Media’s writer of the year, and Innovator of the Year by the New England News and Print Association. All of these experiences have added to my appreciation for the natural resources of this community, and fueled my desire to see the community’s best characteristics preserved – including the small-town, no big-box store feel of our historic downtown, the surprising pastoral byways of Chiltonville, the unique vista and unspoiled woodlands of the Pine Hill, and of course our amazing, yet vulnerable sole-source aquifer. All of these experiences have also whetted my appetite for finding solutions to our economic challenges, solutions that don’t sacrifice our historic and environmental legacy. All of these experiences contributed to my desire to have a direct impact on the town I loved, leading to my election to both the Charter Commission and the Planning Board and my desire to serve as a Select Board member.
Nonprofit/Town Committee Experience: I have an extensive history of community involvement, including (in rough chronological order): serving as President of the South Plymouth Little League; as a Board Member of the Plymouth Task Force to End Homelessness; creating “365 Sunrises” (a year-long, pre-dawn photographic essay about Plymouth); creating CommuniTREE (ornaments for the Town Tree depicting town non-profits and volunteers); Walking Home (a fundraising walk from California to Texas); and a decade as a member and now Vice President of the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance (SEMPBA), whose goal is to conserve the globally-rare Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens ecoregion. As Vice President of SEMPBA I have written or co-written over a half-dozen grants, with a value of approximately $1,000,000. SEMPBA, I should note, doesn’t retain those funds: it gives them to established conservation organizations such as Manomet, Mass Audubon, the Town of Plymouth and others who have the expertise and education to achieve the goals of our organization.
Top Three Priorities: “My first goal will be refrain from what used to be called ‘tunnel vision.’ This town is far too complex to become fixated on three, short-term goals. I understand why that is appealing: achieving short-term goals allows elected officials to claim success. I would argue though that there are at least 100 worthy, short-term goals I might apply myself to, and that to a large degree those goals are inter-related. Consider, for example, the goal of protecting our sole-source aquifer:
- Ensuring that we protect our natural resources, especially water, enables us to offer new businesses the assurance that they will not be left high and dry. • A plan for water conservation will reduce the need for a new multi-million dollar municipal well and consequently impacts the tax rate. • Preserving the land around a potential new well site slows growth in that area.
- A long-range plan for preserving key open-space parcels will allow us to knit together the dozens of disconnected trails, town preserves, state parks and forests, creating an ecotourism hotspot.
- Increasing our capacity to ‘entertain’ hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, kayakers and others leads to longer stays, more meals in restaurants, more meals-tax money and so on.
A Master Plan is not in and of itself a goal, but it is key to achieving many of our most important community goals. While we began moving toward a new Master Plan almost two years ago if I am elected to the Select Board I want to see that process move immediately into high gear. Finally, I sincerely believe that the divisiveness, the polarization, and the mean-spiritedness that are so apparent at the national level, has seeped into our cultural aquifer and needs to be addressed. There is certainly enough work for five, perhaps even seven Select Board members to do, without taking on the task of helping restore a sense of community, but that’s what I would hope to do. In large part that’s what I have tried to do in the many non-profits that I have engaged with during my 40 years in Plymouth.”