Five candidates vie for two spots on Hudson’s Board of Selectmen
Hudson – Five candidates will be on the ballot for two seats on the Board of Selectmen in the Tuesday, April 30, Annual Town Election. Here, in their own words, are the candidates’ bios and their thoughts on four questions.
Phillip “Paddy P. Dolan – My name is Paddy Dolan; I have been involved in local and national politics for some time. While getting involved, I have come to realize that in order for elected officials to truly represent the people, the community must be active in decision making. I am an advocate for lower property taxes, transparency and open communication with local government, and accountability from elected officials. As Selectman, I will fight for these core principles, and for you. I ask for your vote this April 30. For more information about me and my stances, visit www.paddydolan.us.
Susan Dunnell – I’ve been a Hudson resident for 22 years and married to my high school sweetheart for 24 years. We have three children, two in college and one in JFK Middle School. I feel fortunate that my parents and sister also live in town, and most of the rest of our family is in state. We’ve found so many wonderful friends in town that have become more like extended family, we are so lucky. It’s a great place to live and raise a family, and I am committed to keeping it that way.
Fred P. Lucy II – After graduating from St. Lawrence with an Economics degree in 1974, I received an MBA from Suffolk in 1982. I started my career at BayBank in 1975 and am currently a senior vice president with Bank of America. I joined the School Committee in 1995 and the Board of Selectmen in 2000. My wife, Iris (Hudson High School, class of 1971) and I have two sons: Fred (HHS-2002) graduated from BU and is working with special needs youth; John (HHS-2005) graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary and will be a minister soon. We spent many years involved with youth street hockey where we made many friendships.
Charles P. McGourty – Resides at 29 Plant Ave., Hudson. Lifelong resident. Attended Hudson schools. Attended Fitchburg State College. Works for commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Has a very dedicated passionate direction in which Hudson should move forward towards, more services, lower taxes, infrastructure repairs, more transparency and last but not least, clean water for all citizens.
James David Quinn – Lifelong resident of Hudson. 57 years old. Parents- David James Quinn, Sr. and Juliet Cabral Quinn. Hudson High School, class of 1973. Studied at North Adams and Fitchburg state colleges. Property management consultant. 14 years service on Hudson Historic District Commission, 10 as Chairman (currently Vice Chairman). Long history of volunteer work for local charitable and recreational causes.
What specific career or personal experience in your past do you feel prepares you for this position and why?
Dolan – There are many experiences I’ve been through, past and present, that have prepared me to represent you as Selectman. Let’s not kid ourselves, being Selectman is a heavy workload that requires time, dedication and passion. As a chef I exemplified the necessary work ethic and passion, working 80 to 90 hours a week on a regular basis. Culinary arts are the lesser of my two passions when compared to public service. As Selectman I will dedicate my full-time and effort into bettering communication and transparency, addressing the 9.4 percent dropout rate in town and truly respond to water quality.
Dunnell - In nine years of municipal management experience, including two as Chairman of Hudson School Committee, I served on Budget, Policy, Curriculum, and Strategic Planning subcommittees, overseeing $270M in expenditures, and participated in successful contract negotiations with most bargaining units. I hired two superintendents, other administrators, and spearheaded a focus on communication with parents.
I’ve been a Product Manager at a high-tech company for 13 years, successfully thriving through 2 acquisitions, interacting daily with senior management, customers, and colleagues around the globe. I grasp complex problems quickly and have a track record of building trust and solutions with others.
Lucy – As a banker I have helped companies improve their planning and expense management. I have also been involved with many high level negotiations and legal issues; sometimes in highly charged, acrimonious environments and have secured favorable settlements. My financial skills will serve Hudson well in current and future planning and careful spending. I served on Hudson School Committee’s budget sub-committee each year I was on the School Committee and helped negotiate two teacher contracts. I have been a Selectman for 10 years. I have been commended for my calm civility and my respect for everyone.
McGourty - I have been a selectman for the last three years and have a good pulse on what has to be done and/or completed at a reasonable price for the taxpayers and all citizens of Hudson.
Quinn - My service on Hudson’s Historic District Commission for almost 14 years, 10 as Chairman, currently Vice Chairman, has been a valuable experience. The HHDC is charged with protecting the historic look and feel of our downtown while also keeping in mind the needs and wants of property owners and merchants so that they can compete in this economy. Enforcing the rules and regulations while working with all of the people and personalities involved can be a real balancing act but I think we’ve managed to do a pretty good job over the years. It hasn’t hurt that I’ve had some great people to work with on the board over the years.
What level of involvement do you think residents should play in local politics?
Dolan – Residents should have the utmost involvement in our local politics. The Selectmen have a responsibility to encourage more community involvement. I propose a unity summit bringing all boards, committees, and the people of Hudson together to share our ideas for the future of Hudson. As selectman I will utilize social media and local media to reach out to the residents of Hudson continually keeping everyone informed on the town’s inner workings and upcoming events.
Dunnell – An involved, informed, and engaged public is the most powerful ingredient for a successful and productive government; a disengaged public can be a breeding ground for political greed, abuse, and misuse. But, people are busy; they’re tired, they’re working multiple jobs, they’re engaged in their kids’ lives and taking care of their parents. They often rely on elected officials to reach out to them, listen to them, and understand their needs, pains, and concerns. Elected officials who truly represent their constituents don’t care how engaged or connected a resident is; every voice matters and needs to be heard.
Lucy – The word politics is applied to national, state, and municipal governance. Rather than politics, I prefer to call our involvement here in Hudson local governance. In Hudson, the people are the only governing, legislative body via Town Meetings. Hudson citizens are the voice. Hudson citizens can be as involved as they wish via service on boards and committees. I encourage all Hudson citizens to attend Town Meetings and to vote in local elections.
McGourty – We should be very transparent to keep the citizens informed as well as involved. Sometimes they have more information on things and are better informed than we are.
Quinn – I really think that everyone should make their own decision as to how involved they get in the local political scene. I do believe that everyone should at least exercise their most basic of rights and vote. I’ll discuss politics and public service in a friendly manner with anyone. But, I always ask if they vote. If they say no, I’ll still listen, it’s what I do. However, if they say no I’ll probably give a little less weight to their words than I would have if they voted. It’s called Democracy; it’s worked pretty well so far, let’s keep it up.
In many towns, the school budget is 50 percent or more of the overall budget. What ideas do you have that will help ensure equity, so that the needs of the schools as well as the town will be met?
Dolan – Hudson’s education budget has a $1.7 million budgetary shortfall. According to 2012 Massachusetts DOE statistics, Hudson High School has a 9.4% drop out rate, which is considerably more than the state average of 6.9%. While I support budgetary investment in education, all spending needs to be balanced, open, transparent, and done in a responsible way that yields measurable results for Hudson. We need to be pushing back on unfunded mandates that impose irresponsible burdens on teachers and our education system. We need to support our students by empowering our teachers to do what they were educated to do, teach.
Dunnell - Hudson Public Schools gives 40% of all additional funding, such as federal stimulus money, to the town. In 2010/2011, this was 40% of 1.2 million in ARRA stimulus funding. Education is an investment in our country’s future, something we’ve all enjoyed. It must always evolve, leveraging technology, partnerships, grants, and other innovations while under careful fiscal guidance by the School Committee. Equity means ensuring all community members receive services needed, it doesn’t mean charging for actual usage, as that would devastate some. For example, we would never consider charging the elderly for ambulance, police, and fire department calls.
Lucy - Hudson had a school/town services spending ratio. Unfortunately, that ratio was repeatedly missed due to a series of events: hitting the Proposition 2 1/2 cap, the 1993 Education Reform Act’s unfunded mandates, an increasing number of students with medical needs the state couldn’t pay for, and reduced state aid for town services. The ratio can’t be maintained if the goal is to keep local taxes reasonable. In order to keep our town and schools running well, we must encourage the School Department and the Town to keep reining in expenses to avoid a spending crisis and increasing the tax burden on Hudson residents.
McGourty - Hudson does take a substantial portion of our budget for the operation and maintenance of our school system. Repeating, Hudson has a very, very good working school system, which provides a great education at a very reasonable price per student for the taxpayers. We are one of the lowest cost per student per capita in the area.
Quinn - I come from a family of teachers. My brother Dave teaches English at Assabet and I spent quite a few years in the classroom myself before going into property management. So , I’m about as pro education as you can get. The question mentions a 50/50 split. I believe Hudson’s split is somewhere around 60/40 for the schools. I think your schools are the foundation of your town but you need to find that ratio that works. I think what we have is sustainable but I would like to explore some other alternative means of funding to take some of the burden off of the taxpayer. easier said than done , I know. But a new look in this direction is something I would explore.
What US political figure, local or national, past or present, do you admire the most and why?
Dolan – I admire many political figures in American History, I respect the way President Ronal Reagan handled the Cold War, and the way he tackled the increasing food and gasoline prices. As a resident of Hudson running for Selectman I admire and look up to Governor Paul Celucci, primarily the grace and diligence he has shown while tackling adversity, and working hard for Massachusetts. I also admire State Senator Jamie Eldridge’s constituent services, and community involvement. On a non political note, I admire our military members for putting their life on the line to protect our liberties and way of life.
Dunnell – I most admire Rosa Parks, as she epitomized what true leadership is, or rather what it should be. Her quote that speaks most powerfully to me is, “I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.” I admire the audacity of her courage, and her willingness to stand up for what she believed in, even though she watched many before her do the same and fail.
Lucy – Given the divisive political environment we are faced with today, we can learn from President Reagan’s leadership. Reagan led his party into constructive dialogue with the Democratic majority. Both parties were open to and did cut the top income tax rate to 50 percent. Later Reagan led both parties to increase the capital gains tax rate to 28 percent. At both tax levels the economy grew each year after unemployment had hit 10.8 percent. His eight years ended with unemployment at 5.4 percent. Respect and cooperation, bipartisan particularly, defined his administration.
McGourty – The two most political figures in my life would be from childhood, John F. Kennedy and later on in life, Argeo Cellucci, the father of Gov. Paul Cellucci.
Quinn – This is an easy one,Abraham Lincoln. My Grandad Jim had a copy of “Lincoln, The Prairie Years” by Carl Sandburg , and I latched onto it. It led to a lifetime of studying the man and his actions. As you dig deeper into the man you find an astounding depth and breadth of intellect and character. His ability to get different factions to work together for the common good is legendary and has provided a lifelong lesson for me. One has to wonder what our country would be like if Lincoln had lived to serve out his second term and been able to usher our country through the reconstruction era.
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