Civics Sunday: Meet Five Candidates for Town Office
Publishers’ note: The five candidate statements received to date are posted below in the order in which they were received – appearing from top to bottom. We post these statements to help us make informed decisions in the upcoming Town election.
Candidate for re-election to the Board of Assessors
I am running for reelection to the Board of Assessors. After many years of being involved in town government and its policies/practices, the BOA is a new perspective for me. This department is really an extension of state government where we perform dozens of functions according to their requirements. We must be responsive to the town taxpayers and officials but must also respond to the requirements of the State. Our most important work is to maintain our tax assessments at 100% of market value (plus or minus 5%)– that is the sale price for a similar home on the market as of the previous fiscal year.
Staff and the Board work hard to ensure the following:
- 1. Access to the information it wants about the taxation process,
- 2. To provide appropriate abatements on tax bills as allowed by state and town laws.
- 3. To reconsider abatements when people think there is an error.
- 4. And to always be responsive and open to the taxpayers who visit the office. Present your views on issues pertinent to this office/board/committee.
My priorities have been: 1) To undertake a thorough examination of commercial assessments to ensure they are consistent and fair. That work is now underway after we got funding through Town Meeting to hire a specialist. 2) To make sure that people who are eligible for abatements due to hardships are aware of their options. I believe we need to do more in this area, but we have resumed an old practice of sending them postcards to remind them of deadlines. Now I’d like to reach out more proactively to those who might not know of the possibility for abatement.
My biggest surprise coming on the Board is that people often refuse to let the Assessor inside their homes for valuation. It’s actually in everyone’s best interests to have full and accurate information on file. When residents put a house on the market, they make improvements to the property like painting or fixing small problems. Some even redo kitchens or baths, so they increase the value of their home. But their selling price also impacts you. We base assessments on 100% (+/- 5%) of the selling price of comparable houses in your neighborhood. If your house is in poorer condition or has fewer amenities, we only know it if you allow the Assessor inside. So, give us chance, please. We strive for fairness for all.
Candidate for Re-election to the School Committee
Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Community Members:
The Select Board of Holliston unanimously voted last night to change hours of our town election to 12p-4p on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
In addition, the Town Clerk is asking for voters to vote by mail rather than in-person voting.
Applications for ballots can be found here: https://www.townofholliston.us/…/vote-early-by-mail-for-the…
So, with that being said, it is now that I ask for your vote (and ask that you share with your friends), as I am re-running for another term for my seat on the Holliston School Committee.
Top 10 Reasons to Re-Elect Stacey Raffi:
- 10. Successful lobbyist: established solid working relationships with our state legislative representatives.
- 9. Involved community member: PTO Board, Celebrate Holliston Board, Traffic Advisory Board, and Spring and Holiday Stroll Committee.
- 8. Active committee member; countless hours on policy, collective bargaining negotiations, and budget planning.
- 7. Experienced committee member who understands the challenges of municipal finance, policy, and communications.
- 6. Persistent leader: calling for vision and strategic plan for the Town of Holliston; pushing for more collaboration and transparency between and amongst Town boards and departments. We’re in this together!
- 5. Parent of 13 and 11 year old boys, who values public education.
- 4. Dedicated advocate for ALL students (PreK-12+ students, Special Education, Gifted and Talented, struggling students, and non-struggling students).
- 3. Fearless activist: I’m not afraid to ask thoughtful questions, make tough decisions, and focus on doing the right thing for students, staff, and community.
- 2.Concerned advocate for students’ social and emotional well being in this high-pressure academic environment.
- 1. Proud citizen of the Town of Holliston who is willing and committed to serve our community.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about my candidacy.
Thank you for your consideration.
Candidate for re-election to the Board of Library Trustees
I am running for re-election to my second term as a member of the Board of Library Trustees, and would be grateful for and honored to have your vote. I have been privileged to serve as the Chair of the Board, working with my colleagues and a superb library staff to guide the management and maintenance of library facilities for the continued benefit of all the citizens of Holliston.
These are challenging times for our library, as they are for all municipal services. Two recently-completed documents, the library long range plan and consultant’s space study, describe paths for improvement of library space and services that will require careful and thoughtful examination and eventual successful implementation. The guidance of library staff and professionals will inform decisions by the Board to best provide continued equal access to information, exchange of ideas, and educational and recreational opportunities for all ages.
Our library is a cornerstone of both our downtown area, and the fabric of our community life. While predicting the future of how library services will need to continue to be effectively offered to our public is not easy, rapid reaction to emerging needs and opportunities will become critical to maintaining our library as a significant contributor to our life together. I would like to remain a part of that process, and believe my professional experience in organizational governance, financial planning and budgeting, and facilities management, and my experience with municipal finance, are solid foundations for continuing to contribute to the work of the Library Trustees.
I have been a resident of the Town of Holliston for over 30 years, and have served on various town committees, as a community volunteer, and continue as a member of the Council on Aging and Holliston Housing Authority. I have an MBA in Finance and a BBA in Business Management.
Thanks for your consideration.
Faithfully, Kevin Robert “Bob” Malone
(Please vote in the town election)
Candidate for Election to the School Committee
Why vote Mary C. Savard for School Committee? In no particular order:
- I hold a doctorate in Human Development and Education as well a Masters in Social Work.
- I am an online educator of more than 8 years.
- I am a registered nurse.
- I am a mom.
Some of you might be thinking, “Mary? I thought her name was Catherine.” Yes, you are correct. The Irish side family is replete with women with the first name Mary, thus, many of us go by our middle names to differentiate. Though I answer to both, the ballot will read “Mary C. Savard”.
The experience that I bring to the table as an educator, both virtual and on-ground, allows for a unique lens on topics that will arise as our school system navigates this unprecedented time and new learning platforms. As a registered nurse, important public health considerations are well-ingrained in my thought processes, while my work managing projects has prepared me to plan and act within strict budget constraints.
Similar to the variations that we appreciate between the traditional, Montessori, and French pedagogies, online education has its own nuances and opportunities. The research on this modality is vast with many established best-practices to bolster the academic success for students. Folding the new approach of remote learning into the existing infrastructure is a complex task. I am ready to focus my years of education and experience to help ensure successful outcomes for all our students.
This is my field of expertise and I am ready to help.
Once we have moved past the current crisis management phase, I hope to use my time on the School Committee to address:
- improving academic outcomes through tailored learning approaches,
- focusing pointed attention to our special education system,
- purposefully moving toward decreasing anxiety and depression in the student population,
- enhanced and tailored offerings for the Holliston High School students, specifically for upper grades.
In addition to many years working in various educational arenas and healthcare settings, my most important role is as a mom to three young children. Over six years ago, we moved to Holliston largely to afford our children the benefit of the excellent schools here, and we feel very lucky to be a part of a town with such a strong commitment to education. We also moved here because I am a small-town, farm-raised child of New England, and Holliston is the first place I visited with the same hometown, home-grown feel.
I have enjoyed volunteering in town in a myriad of ways: as a soccer coach, religious educator at our church, room parent, Montessori Multicultural night assistant and on several projects in the schools and with the PTO. Now that my youngest is heading to Kindergarten, I am excited to have more time and energy to contribute to our schools and our town.
We are living through unprecedented and unexpected times creating a myriad of unknowns. We are in this together, and if any community can overcome our current challenges great aplomb, I know that it is the Town of Holliston.
We have a long history of providing unique educational programs, a strong commitment to innovation, and highly dedicated administrators and teaching staff. To be sure, what lies ahead of us is steeped in uncertainty. Here’s what I *do* know: Education is both my passion and my occupation. I know that this is a time to apply best practices and research based decisions and I am a highly-trained education analyst, a seasoned on-line educator, an experienced health professional, and a deeply invested citizen. Given the opportunity, I look forward to applying those skills and passion to the work of serving the children and families of Holliston.
Thank you for your consideration.
My name is Thomas Ellis and I would like to thank you for your consideration of me as a candidate for the Holliston Board of Health, two-year term. It would be an honor and privilege for me to serve you in this capacity.
A native of Pennsylvania, I moved my family to Holliston three years ago. I am a proud husband and father of two teenagers and a dog. Living in Holliston has been a wonderful experience. It is a hidden gem with great schools, beautiful historic homes and gracious people. Living in Holliston has given me renewed interest and passion for giving back to the community. I have a genuine concern for the well being of others. Caring for my family and for other people is what guides me. This is why I am interested in serving you as a member on the Board of Health.
While most of my background and experience has been in the bio-pharma industry for over 25 years, I have also worked in a micro-biology research lab at Tulane University Medical School, and volunteered as a health-care security consultant for an international non-profit organization helping governments. Over the years, I have served in various leadership and executive roles in large & mid-sized multi-national companies in areas of medical education, business development, consulting and product strategy and marketing. I am a co-founder and former Chief Commercial Officer of a medical payment platform start-up. I have a B.S. in Biology/Chemistry from Morehouse College and M.B.A. from Penn State University. In addition I have done Master’s work and research at both Tulane and the University of Pennsylvania.
Since we are now being confronted with diseases like COVID-19, and will soon be shadowed with EEE, West Nile virus and tick-borne diseases, it is imperative that we work together to address these issues but to also entrust in individuals who have dedicated much of their life to improving health-care and finding new solutions to safeguard our health.
How would I serve the mission of the BoH and work for you? My goal is to listen to your needs and address them promptly and improve health outcomes for you and family members by 1) advancing outreach and 2) expanding communication. I will explain.
- Improving health outcomes through outreach – I would drive the creation of outreach programs (live and virtual) to motivate people to make better positive health behavioral changes for a variety of health issues – from enlightening teens on the dangers of smoking/vaping to educating older adults about the need for pneumococcal vaccination. During my career, I have led several health outreach programs that achieved positive outcomes. For example, I developed and led a Saturn Motors (GM) men’s health fair/screening program that educated/screened over a thousand men at a plant. It improved awareness and identified many men with BPH and cancer who didn’t know they had disease. Because these men’s disease was caught in time they had better outcomes. I believe that Holliston residents would benefit greatly from having quarterly disease outreach programs that would include screenings and education. These BoH programs could be done virtually and live at Health fairs in collaboration with local hospitals, healthcare providers and companies.
- Improving health outcomes by expanding communication channels – Like most local towns, the current BoH site has general information but is static, so one idea is to create a separate interactive health surveillance tool designed to empower residents to report and get real-time information on public health issues in Holliston. The site would provide instantaneous communication of local threats allowing residents to be more informed to protect themselves faster which could improve health outcomes. I have experience in the development and implementation of several award winning health-care sites so I could contribute significantly towards the development of this communication platform.
In summary, I plan to bring my expertise, innovative ideas and passion into this role so that I can truly make a difference to the lives of Holliston’s residents. Thank you for your consideration. I kindly ask for your vote.