Hudson – Three candidates – Fred P. Lucy II, John M. Parent and Cipriano S. Pinto – are in contention for the one-year vacancy on the Hudson Board of Selectmen. (The seat was previously held by Santino Parente, who resigned from the board in 2011. The selectmen opted at that time to not fill the seat until the May 14, 2012 Annual Town Election.)
All three candidates were asked to participate in a Question and Answer feature – Pinto did not respond by press time. Here, in their own words, are Lucy and Parent's bios and thoughts on four issues:
Fred P. Lucy II – I graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1974 with an Economics degree and received an MBA from Suffolk in 1982. I started my banking career at BayBank in 1975 and am currently a Senior Vice President with Bank of America. I joined the Hudson School Committee in 1995 and Hudson's Board of Selectmen in 2000. My wife, Iris (Hudson High School “71), and I have two sons: Fred (HHS “02) graduated from BU and is working with special needs youth; John (HHS “05) will graduate from the seminary this May. We spent many years involved with youth street hockey where we made many friendships.
John M. Parent – I have lived in Hudson for over 25 years. My children Amy and Lisa went through the Hudson school system and participated in many outside events, one of which, led me to coaching girls” softball for many years. I became more involved in the town 12 years ago when I joined the Hudson Finance Committee. I was nominated Chairman 10 years ago and have been the chairman since then. I also serve on the JFK building committee, the Hudson Affordable Municipal Trust and the Community Preservation Committee. I want to put this experience to good use for the benefit of the town of Hudson on the Board of Selectmen. My goal is to maintain a conservative approach to the budget while fulfilling the basic needs of the school department and general government departments.
1. What specific career or personal experience in your past do you feel prepares you for this position and why?
Lucy – As a banker I have helped companies improve their planning and expense management these last 24 years. My skills will serve to ensure that Hudson continues its last 20 years of good 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 reflected on my nine years as a Selectman since stepping down in 2009. The chance to step away and consolidate my experiences and observations makes me a much stronger candidate in 2012 than if I had continuously served.
Parent – The fact I have been Chairman of the finance committee for 10 years and a member of the JFK Building Committee, Hudson Municipal Affordable Trust, and the Community Preservation Committee gives me the experience of dealing with town officials and department managers on a regular basis. I believe this has given me a great opportunity to recognize the needs of the community and its challenges. My thirty- plus years of management in the insurance industry adds to my experience.
2. What level of involvement do you think residents should play in local politics?
Lucy – The word politics is applied to national, state, and municipal governance. However, in Hudson the people are the only governing, legislative body via Town Meetings. There is no Hudson Senate or House of Representatives like we find at other levels of government. Hudson's Home Rule Charter Plan makes all registered voters legislators. Hudson citizens can be as involved as they wish via service on boards and committees. Rather than politics I prefer to call our involvement local governance and I encourage all my fellow legislators to attend Town Meetings and to vote in all local elections.
Parent – At a bare minimum all eligible residents should vote on election days. I would like to see substantially more residents participate at town meetings. Each resident has to determine their level of involvement but there should be at least one thing that each resident can do to better our community whether its helping a neighbor, supporting children's sports programs, or simply expressing your ideas.
3. In many towns, the school budget is 50% 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?
Lucy – Hudson had a school/town services spending ratio. That ratio was repeatedly missed due to a series of events: hitting the Proposition 2 ½ cap, the 1993 Education Reform Act's unfunded mandates, an increasing number of students with medical needs the state wouldn's pay for, and reduced state aid for town services after this century's recessions. The ratio can's be maintained if the goal is to keep local taxes reasonable. Going forward we must encourage the School Department and the town to keep reining in expenses to avoid a spending crisis because I do not want any school/town employee laid off.
Parent – In Hudson the school department is well over 50 percent of the budget. In the past several years the school department has been held to a level services budget. This has been achieved due to the cooperation of the Superintendent's office, the School Committee, the Executive Assistant and the Finance Committee. This kind of continued cooperation allows the town to meet the needs of the school department as well as the requirements of the general government departments.
4. What political figure do you admire most and why?
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 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. His peace through strength policy lead to the disintegration of the European communist bloc removing what had been a grave national threat.
Parent – I would have to say John F. Kennedy. When he was president I felt an united pride in our country and a sense that we could set big goals and achieve them. There was a very positive attitude toward our country as well as positive change working towards achieving equality. His famous inauguration speech including the line “ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country” has always been a reminder to me that if you want change you need to step up where you can and be a part of the change as opposed to sitting back and letting it happen.