One spot open in Hudson Board of Selectman race

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Three candidates are vying for one seat on the Hudson Board of Selectmen this spring. Here, in their own words, are their bios and thoughts on four issues –

Susanne Crippen – My name is Susanne Crippen, age 42, I am married and have two children ages nine and six. I grew up in a small town, I am the youngest of four children, I played team sports each season and college, my mother was a special education teacher, and my father was Vice President of a company. They both worked hard and attended college while I was a child. I chose to live in Hudson for the excellent school system, the center of town, and the community events.

Antonio S. Loura – Born in Santa Maria I immigrated to the United States as a youth and attended the Hudson Public Schools. Married to my wife Zaira for the last 35 years, we raised our two children in town and today enjoy spending time with our grandchildren. I have worked in a range of capacities in both the private and public sectors. This includes working my way up from a heavy equipment operator in the Hudson Department of Public Works to a number of management positions in private industry, as well as having my own business owning and managing real estate.

Christopher Yates – My name is Christopher Yates. I am a lifelong resident of Hudson. I own and run my own law practice, Yates Law Offices, P.C. I have served on Hudson's School Committee for the past ten years. My wife, Erin, and I have two sons, and are expecting our third child in September.

What specific career or personal experience in your past do you feel prepares you for this position and why?

Crippen – My most recent experience was working on my cousin Tim Cahill's campaign, which was instrumental in my decision to run for Selectman. My preparation is cumulative of all my experiences and education. My Bachelor's from Framingham State in Sociology and Psychology, the study of groups of people and individuals, has taught me understanding. My Masters in Public Administration developed my management and leadership skills. My experience as a Firefighter/EMT has helped me prepare for the worst, while helping others in their most diffi cult times. Teaching the SAFE program for Framingham, a Massachusetts Fire Academy recruit instructor, and being a member of the School Counsel Committee, all have prepared me for working and teaching all ages.

Loura – Having lived in Hudson for the past 45 years I have been extremely active in community organizations within the Town such as the Hudson Portuguese Club and Elks. As a former member of the Cable Committee and Finance Committee I understand the importance of giving back to the Town that has provided so much to me and my family over the years. As a current Selectman I have balanced the budget every year without cutting services and have advocated for the increase of non-tax revenues. In addition, I am fluent in Portuguese, which makes me much more accessible to a very significant segment of our local population.

Yates -I graduated from Assumption College with a degree in accounting. I obtained my Juris Doctor degree from the Quinnipiac University School of Law. I have been practicing law locally for the past nine years. I have ten years experience on Hudson's School Committee, serving as its Chairman for three years. I have dealt with budget challenges yearly as well as the hiring of a new Superintendent to replace a departing long term Superintendent. My education focused in accounting and law, my legal experiences, and my active service on the Hudson School Committee have prepared me well for any challenges Hudson's Selectmen may face.

What level of involvement do you think residents should play in local politics?

Crippen – As your Selectman I will speak on behalf of the residents, and make decisions based on their best interest. The Hudson Municipal Charter was developed to increase resident's involvement in our government. The level of involvement of residents is already present through the boards, commissions, open town meeting, school volunteers, and sports. Resident involvement is very important and is how we have created Hudson, the town we call home. Please check out the commissions online to volunteer, or at the Town Hall.

Loura -The essence of what makes local government the most efficient layer of government is the involvement of its citizens. The open town meeting is the last remnant of direct, participatory democracy, and the fact that residents are aware and involved in all aspects of our government is what makes it responsive, honest, and transparent. Through the many volunteer boards and committees, both elected and appointed, residents have many options that allow them to participate in the manner and to the extent that they want.

Yates -The more people that are involved in local politics, the better. Local elected boards need changeover. Change brings fresh perspectives and new ideas. I believe that nine or 12 years on any one elected board is enough. To sit too long you risk losing sight of the vision and goals that brought you to the table when you were first elected. I have contributed to the School Committee and district for the past ten years. It is time for a new member to bring fresh ideas to that committee and I want to bring my fresh perspective and experience to the Board of Selectmen.

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?

Crippen – As your Selectman I will look at the Town as a whole. The schools are the face of the town and bring people in, the other half of the budget makes residents want to

stay. It is important to ensure that no section of the budgets is neglected. As Benjamin Franklin once said “an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.” At present the School Budget is less than 50 percent of the Towns Budget, and most department heads live in town and are willing to work for the good of the town, I will work cooperatively with all.

Loura – In Hudson, the School share of the combined operating budgets (leaving out debt service, insurance, state charges, etc) is 67 percent vs. 33 percent for the general government. Over the past five year period the average annual increase to the school budget has been 5.25 percent while the average increase to the general government budget has been 2.85 percent. While I have been on the Board we have developed a highly effective method of budget allocation with the schools, which has made us partners rather than adversaries, and has eliminated the rancor and divisiveness that often characterized our relationship and our town meetings in the past.

Yates – Hudson's Board of Selectmen and School Committee have worked well together through the years. All of the other town departments require adequate funds to be run properly. All departments

should be considered equal in importance when it comes to making budgetary decisions. Representatives from all branches of town government should be meeting at least six times per year to have open and transparent discussions regarding their budgets. We need to end the now common 15 minute Selectmen meetings and replace them with meetings of more substance and transparency.

What US political figure, local or national, past or present, do you admire the most and why?

Crippen – There are many leaders that I admire. Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were both very instrumental in the fire service through their leadership and service as fire fighters. But the person I admire the most is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt was from a wealthy family and attended Harvard College; he overcame his disability from poliomyelitis, and was the 32nd President of the United States during the worst economic time in US history. As President he stated that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” What did not kill him, made him stronger, and he used his education and personal experiences to give back to the people of America.

Loura – America has been blessed with great leaders throughout its history from Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. Each represents a different quality, and each served his country in a unique fashion. But many of those I admire most are those that have been effective at a more local level. Our town native son, Paul Cellucci, worked his way up from Selectman to Governor and Ambassador to Canada. He was and is unpretentious, straightforward and business-like and he never demonstrated arrogance or put on airs. In many ways he is representative of the best aspects of our Town.

Yates – I respect the way that Governor Paul Cellucci rose through the ranks, as a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, to become Governor of Massachusetts and then Ambassador to Canada. I applaud his loyalty to Hudson. He had to make many tough, often unpopular decisions, as Governor of Massachusetts, especially when it came to education. On the national level, I have always held President John F. Kennedy in high regard. I admire his leadership during the Cuban missile crisis and his accomplishments related to Civil Rights and the space program in the 1960s.