Northborough – Three candidates will be on the ballot for one seat on the Board of Selectmen in the Tuesday, May 14 Annual Town Election. The Community Advocate has invited the candidates – incumbent Leslie Rutan and contenders Millie Milton and Jason McDonald – to share a bit about their backgrounds and why they are running for this position. Here, in their own words, are the answers from the candidates.
Leslie Rutan – I am a member of the Northborough Board of Selectmen. My husband and I have lived in Northborough for 28 years, and our children Patrick, Emily, and Ben attended the Northborough schools and graduated from Algonquin. I have worked for Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, and am also a proofreader/editor. I volunteered in the schools as a PTO Co-Chair and Treasurer, School Council member, as a member of the Northborough Education Foundation (NEF), and I currently serve on the Melican and Algonquin School Councils. After winning two terms to the Northborough School Committee, I was then elected to the Board of Selectmen, where I have served as Chair and Vice-Chair, as liaison to many town subcommittees, and as Chair of the Lincoln Street School Building Committee.
It is important to me that residents continue to have a Board of Selectmen member who listens, responds in a timely fashion, and has the knowledge gained from serving on the Board and in other volunteer capacities, to quickly and efficiently address areas of concern. I enjoy working with residents on various issues and areas of interest, and continue to work with transparency and a skill set obtained from having served on both the Northborough School Committee, and currently as a member of the Board of Selectmen. It is also an opportunity to work first-hand on the Annual Town and School District Budgets and Capital Improvement Plan, to oversee the hiring of fire and police personnel which impacts the safety and well-being of our community, and to work with residents and legislators on various issues facing our town.
Northborough is a wonderful community with residents who offer a variety of talents. My hope is to attract more residents to the many volunteer positions available on our boards and committees. There are positions that meet at varying times and which suit a variety of schedules! If you have an extra time slot in your week, please consider applying for a spot via our town website: http://www.town.northborough.ma.us/Pages/index . We need you! In addition, the issue of recycling is front and center, and the Board of Selectmen will be reviewing trash hauling and recycling proposals that make sense for Northborough both logistically and budgetarily. The Master Plan Subcommittee is also hard at work, and there will be much upcoming discussion surrounding that, which will benefit greatly from residents’ feedback!
Jason McDonald – I’m running for Board of Selectmen. I’ve spent my entire life as a member of the Northborough community. My wife Shannon and I met during our time at ARHS and we have been fortunate to be able to raise our children here. My 23 year career in software customer service and management allows me to utilize my listening and leadership skills every day to help others. I enjoy volunteering and have had the opportunity to be everything from Cubmaster to coach for baseball, softball and football.
I am running for Selectman because I believe the town needs a new voice who is willing to listen to and act on the concerns of the citizens. Someone who has the perspective of a lifelong resident, but also shares connections with the vibrant newer members of our community. Someone who believes that Northborough is already a great place to live, but who sees the potential that its future holds if we work together and each take part and share our voices.
If elected, my first priority will be to ensure that the town administration continues its work towards a more open and transparent government. Our policies should facilitate the rapid and accurate disbursement of town materials that our citizens have demanded. I also believe that we can do better with engaging and motivating people to take a more active part in their town government and this will be a focus of mine.
Millie Milton – I grew up in many different countries, each having unique cultures, religions and traditions. This has had an invaluable impact on how I see things. It has made me a naturally curious learner. I have experienced many different educational systems including international, private and public.
I did not grow up in Northborough, I chose it!
A resident of Northborough for 27 years, I have three kids and spent many years actively involved in school, sports and many local programs.
Over the years I have seen Northborough go through many different phases of growth and development, some better than others. I experienced firsthand the difficulties of opening a business in town and the challenges of running it. I’m still asking myself, why was this so difficult? I needed an answer to that, and so over the past four to five months, I’ve been
going to numerous town committees and boards to try to understand how processes work and familiarize myself with some of the committee/board members. I’ve gained a valuable perspective. There are many facets to consider when representing a community, all which need careful management. Like any successful business, balancing them all is no easy feat
We have benefitted from members who have served many terms on the board but I feel we will be better served by bringing in NEW ideas, NEW questions, NEW perspectives!
One focus will be to improve the downtown area by working with a master plan to be more welcoming to visitors, businesses and community members alike.
As a hands-on owner I am always on site. Every day, I have a unique opportunity to be part of many conversations and hear what people are talking about which is a great asset to be able to bring to the position. I plan to offer open hours on a regular basis and hope to become a strong liaison, with open communication, and transparency so we can all benefit from being more informed!
I’m excited to see so many wonderful things happening in this town and where we can go, and I am looking forward to being part of what it will take to make that happen!