By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – The meeting room at the Vincent F. Picard American Legion Post 234, was packed on May 6 when candidates for Northborough’s Town Election gathered at a forum organized by Laura Ziton and Edward Bombard.
Moderator Mitch Cohen, Northborough Free Library trustee, reminded the audience that the election is Tuesday. May 14. All precincts will vote at the Robert E. Melican Middle School, 145 Lincoln St., and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There will be two contested races in this year’s election.
Incumbent Selectman Leslie Rutan will be challenged by political newcomers Jason McDonald and Millie Milton.
Chris Covino, a candidate for the one year position on the Northborough/Southborough Regional School Committee was unavailable but his challenger Sean O’Shea was in attendance at the forum.
Also present were incumbents running unopposed: Michelle Gillespie-Planning Board, Frederick George, Jr. – Moderator, Keith Lebel – Northborough K-8 School Committee and Joan Frank- Northborough/Southborough Regional School Committee.
The theme expressed by all candidates in their opening remarks was transparency.
Rutan was asked a question pertaining to the town’s Master Plan and what actions the Board of Selectmen should take in its implementation.
“…I don’t think that the Board should act until we’ve heard recommendations by the appropriate committees and get as much public input as possible,” she replied.
McDonald and Milton were asked about what areas of community involvement they have had to prepare them for this role, noting it being their first foray into town government.
“I’ve done a lot of hands-on volunteering; Cub master, various coaching and have attended many of the Town Meetings to be a part of the process…I truly believe that municipal government is the purest form of democracy …,” McDonald stated.
“…I have for the past five or six months been going to many of the Board meetings… and one of the things that I’ve been able to do is to see how things are communicated, what people are talking about…,” responded Milton.
O’Shea was asked about working with a new superintendent and building a strong relationship.
“Greg Martineau will be the new superintendent and the benefit is that he has already established a working relationship and trust with a lot of entities in town and the school board…,” O’Shea said.
A recording of the forum may be found online at this link.