Westborough – The town of Westborough will be holding its Annual Town Election Tuesday, March 1, at the Westborough High School gym, 90 W. Main St., from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters will also vote in the state’s presidential primary at that time.
Three candidates – Leigh Emery, Syed Hashmi and Bruce Tretter – are running for two open spots on the Westborough Board of Selectmen. (Lydia Goldblatt and Tim Dodd are not running for re-election.)
Here, in their own words, are statements from three candidates:
Leigh Emery – I live with my husband, two sons, and their families on our family farm growing and selling organic produce. After graduating from Westborough High School, I attended nursing school in Boston and joined the Peace Corps, serving two years in Iran. That experience taught me much about compassion and the richness which diversity of cultures provides. Returning to the U.S., I earned an MS in nursing from Boston College. Hired by UMass Medical School, for over 30 years I had a varied career in healthcare administration, pediatric clinical practice, and national and international research managing large budgets, staffing and building projects.
I am running because I am uniquely qualified, having served 10 years on our Advisory Finance Committee and 11 years as a selectman. I demonstrated leadership in those capacities, being elected to chair each group multiple times. Now we are turning over 40 percent of the board. I feel a personal responsibility to run at this juncture, to offer my extensive experience in town government and proven ability to work collaboratively and productively with all department heads at a time when continuity in governance will be critical to the many challenges we are facing over the next three years.
The committee work will be the selection of the chief of police and Department of Public Works director. Alan Gordon and John Walden will be retiring and their positions are critical to ensuring the safety and physical operations of the town. New appointees will likely remain in position for 15 years, thus having tremendous influence in departmental evolution. We deserve appointees with as much integrity, expertise and involvement in town activities as they have provided.
The project is potential revenue gain through adoption of the Community Preservation Act and designation as a Green Community. I would fully research those statewide initiatives.
Syed Hashmi – I grew up in four countries on four continents, and have spoken four languages. When I moved to Westborough in 2009, I realized I had found my home. I realize my roots in our town may not run as deeply into the soil as some, but my roots are firmly anchored with deep affection for this town which has given me so much. I have worked in healthcare all of my life, starting at the bottom, and working my way up. My training and interest have always been geared toward quickly identifying and solving multiple high-intensity problems by marshaling the best from the people around me.
We are exceedingly fortunate to live in a town blessed with a great quality of life. However, Westborough is reaching a critical juncture in its evolution. Over the last few years, Westborough has seen residential growth outpacing business growth; this is but one of the reasons residential tax payers have seen their tax bills go up. The question we need to be asking is: is this residential growth outpacing our town resources? What are we going to need to do to plan for our future without impairing the services this town provides? I want to be involved in making sure we answer these questions without losing what we have.
I would like Westborough to leverage its strengths in technology to become an incubator for transformative new technologies and be a magnet for talent. I want to work with local business groups to work on developing a town rewards program and build a sense of community loyalty to our local business. Also, I intend to work closely with the Planning Board and the town to continue the process to revise and update our 2003 Master Plan to focus on where we want to be in five, 10, and 20 years and continue the necessary steps to get Westborough there.
Bruce Tretter – It’s been a lot of fun working together with fellow residents and our professional town officials as a School Committee member for 12 years, chair of the Bike & Pedestrian Advisory Committee for 3 ½ years, and as a participant on several groups to help Westborough progress as effectively, efficiently and vibrantly as possible.
I’m running for selectmen for four reasons:
- To advocate for balanced town growth and progress that allows both parents with school-aged children and those without children in our school system the ability to live in town affordably;
- To continue advocating for safe transportation efficiency and infrastructure improvements;
- To work with fellow selectmen, the town manager, and department heads to establish annual town goals as a foundation for policy and budgetary decisions;
- To advocate for municipal government efficiency in the State House the way I’ve been actively advocating for years to connect policymakers with professional educators to improve education relevancy, efficiency and affordability.
The bottom line: every problem we face is man-made. It’s therefore only up to us to resolve them.
I’ve had the pleasure (absolutely!) of working with professionals and town volunteers to resolve a good number of problems in Westborough. Right after joining the School Committee in 2001, I chaired a committee that created a first-in-the-nation school building health and safety management program that involved all school and community stakeholders. That program empowered school staff, created an open system of maintenance communications and action, and was twice nationally recognized for excellence and sustained excellence by the Environmental Protection Agency.
I also participated in town’s Master Plan revision process. That plan has been the blueprint for positive growth management in town. Most recently, I’ve been chair of the town’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which, together with town departments, has made positive steps toward increasing cycling and pedestrian safety and accessibility in town (the flashing crosswalk signs around town are highly visible examples) and building non-motorized trails (we’re asking for approval at Town Meeting to a build short section – E. Main to Lyman St. – of a trail that will eventually link Framingham to Worcester).