2019 Voters’ Guide

Each year, the League of Women Voters of Westford sponsors a Voters’’ Guide. Candidates running for local office are asked to respond to two questions about their candidacy, limiting their responses to 100 words for each question. This year, elections are being held for Board of Selectmen, Board of Health, Planning Board, Library Trustee, School Committee, and Housing Authority. All registered voters are encouraged to get out and vote on Tuesday, May 7, 2019!

The League of Women Voters of Westford is a nonpartisan political organization of women and men that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.

Click on an office below to see statements from candidates running for that office, or scroll down to see statements from all candidates.

Board of HealthBoard of Selectmen
Library TrusteesSchool Committee
Planning Board


BOARD OF HEALTH – Stephanie D. Granger

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities. 

I have been interested in public health since living in Haiti over 25 years ago. I earned a Masters degree in Health Policy and Management from Harvard School of Public Health and have worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in maternal and child health, for health insurance companies and volunteered in the field. I have been serving on the Board of Health for the past 3 years, and understand the role it serves in the community. In addition to serving on the BOH I have volunteered in the Westford schools, Westford Youth Soccer, the library, and my church.       

What issues will be a priority for you if elected?    

There are several issues that are of concern to me. I think it is important right now to make sure we do everything we can to maintain clean air and protect our water supply in town. I am also concerned with issues related to contagious disease as well as tick and mosquito borne illness. I hope we as a board can continue to provide resources and education to help town members have healthy lives.


BOARD OF HEALTH – Susan Hanly

How is your background related to the board position that you are seeking? Please include participation in any town or community-related activities.

I have been a member of the Board of Health for the past 10 years. This year, I’ve beenpart of the school and town-wide Health and Safety Task Force. I have a BS in Nursing and will complete my MS in Nursing in 4 months. I have been a middle school nurse in Westford the last 19 years. I think it is important to have some health care professionals on the Board of Health! I have coached both cross-country and ‘Girls on the Run’ at Stony Brook, been involved with the Westford Road Race for 20 years, volunteered at St. Catherine’s, and worked with the Westford Parent Connection.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected?

I am passionate about mental health initiative; this will always be a priority for me. I run a monthly parent support group with Dianne Walsh, LICSW.  Our support group, co-sponsored by the Westford Health Department, is available to any parent who is concerned that their child might be suffering from a mental health issue. Another priority for me will be to continue seeking ways the various Westford boards can work together. The school and town-wide Health and Safety Task Force is an example. It has been an honor and privilege to work collaboratively with the other boards in town. 

HOUSING AUTHORITY –  Muriel Drake

How is your background related to the board position that you are seeking?

My background of previous years as a Housing Commissioner and a senior that lives in Senior housing. I know that there is a great need for Senior housing in Westford.  I volunteer at the Cameron Senior Center in the Thrift Shop and as a visitor/volunteer.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected?

To see possibilities for more housing units.  The need is great.  The public can help by informing the Housing Authority Director of any property vacant or for sale that would lend itself to new units being constructed

HOUSING AUTHORITY – Janine McCormack

No reply received.

LIBRARY TRUSTEE – Elizabeth Dierks

How is your background related to the board position that you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

Beginning with an appointment to the board in June 2006, I have continued to serve on the Board of Library Trustees by election in 2007 to the current year. I was a school library teacher/librarian in the Westford Public Schools at the Robinson and Crisafulli Schools until retirement in 2018 and now serve as library substitute. This membership on the Board and work in the schools provides a bridge between the public library setting and the needs of the school community of students, parents, and teachers. Westford excels in the relationship between the public library and all nine school libraries. 

What issues will be a priority for you if elected?

An expanded 21st century library with space and flexibility is the priority for the growing Westford community. To plan for this, we applied for a Massachusetts Public Library Construction Grant Award. When awarded, it will be brought to the Westford voters both at Town Meeting and a ballot vote. The expansion plan addresses three top priorities: more meeting spaces (for study, research, or groups), expanded parking, and a larger Children’s room/area. It also includes a collaborative Young Adult area; additional shelving for the collection; a space to preserve and catalog local history; reading areas; and safety and building code updates.

LIBRARY TRUSTEE – Alisha Hillam

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

With graduate and undergraduate degrees in history and creative writing, my professional background has been wrapped up in and reliant upon libraries. As town residents, my children, husband, and I have been very involved in the J.V. Fletcher library activities and regard it as one of the most valuable community resources that Westford offers. Supporting and strengthening our library’s role in our community is one of my top goals.

​Additionally, for the last three years, I have been an inaugural and active member of the Healthy Westford Committee and a regular participant at the Strategic Planning Retreat and Town Meeting.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected? 

My first priority will be to support the most necessary project on the horizon: the library expansion. The J.V. Fletcher library is an important resource in Westford and the expansion will allow the library to better fit town needs in terms of meeting space, collections, technology access, and parking. In addition to that, my goal will be to identify additional ways for the library to meet patrons’ needs as the Westford grows and as the library serves increasingly diverse needs in our community. This includes increasing weekly open hours, exploring new services and collections, and retaining our excellent library staff.

LIBRARY TRUSTEE – Glen Secor

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

I am a long-time resident of Westford (WA Class of 1978). I was appointed to the Board in 2018 to fill a vacancy and am now seeking a 3-year term. I was a J.V. Fletcher Library Trustee in the early 1990s. More recently, I served on the Finance Committee 2014-2018. That gave me a good feel for how the Town budget and finances work. As a practicing attorney and former business executive, including two decades with a company that sold books to academic libraries, I bring a pragmatic but passionate approach to the position of Library Trustee.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected? 

A) Continuing the Trustees’ tradition of providing valuable oversight, support, and good governance to the Library. B) The ongoing evolution of information technology and digital content. C) And this is the big one for the next three years: the library expansion project (2021-2022).  We need the expansion for programming, to house materials, and to meet the demand for meeting space. But Town finances are difficult and Trustees will need to be ambassadors for the library and the expansion, making the case that this construction project deserves our dollars and support. A lot of outreach.

PLANNING BOARD – Michael Bonenfant

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

I am an attorney, I was admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts in 2000.  While my education and practice will serve the board, I believe the fact that I’ve lived here my entire life is just as important.  After undergraduate school, I knew that when I was ready to raise a family, I wanted to do it in Westford.  I believe in giving back to the community, I am a past member of the Master Plan Implementation Committee, I am currently the president of Nashoba Youth Hockey and I’ve been on the board of Westford Pack 96 Cub Scouts.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected? 

Having grown up in Westford I’m often asked how I feel about the growth of our town. Change and growth are inevitable. To make a difference, growth needs to be managed and Westford has, for the most part, managed well. Members of the Planning Board are entrusted to insure the projects presented to the board comply with our current bylaws.  In addition, the board serves to establish planning goals and prepare plans to implement these goals.  If elected, I look forward to learning how the town sees its future and then helping to prepare the plans to get us there.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Sean P. Kelly

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking? Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

I am a local trial attorney at Marcotte Law in Lowell.  Until recently I ran my own business and know what it takes to balance financial constraints against quality of service.  This is particularly important as Westford’s population expands and schools deal with increased class size.  I have been very involved in the legal profession, but am just now getting involved in Westford. I was raised by two public educators who inspired me to run for School Committee. I am a member of the Nabnasset Improvement Association and regularly participate in local runs for charity with my wife and son.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected?

My priorities as School Committee Member would be three-fold: fiscal responsibility, continued tradition of excellence in education, and engaged leadership within the community.  Given my background in the private sector and working for a small, but community-focused business, I know how to make tough financial decisions without lowering the standard of service.  My goal is to maintain Westford’s excellent history ofeducating our children, all while making smart, results-driven financial decisions.  Lastly, I want to be as accessible as possible to my constituents.  I will do that by being regularly available by phone or other social media platforms.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Daniel A. Goldner

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

I am in my 15th year as a high school English teacher. I have wanted to be in education since the sixth grade because I wanted to share my passion for reading. I have an undergraduate degree in English and Education; I have a Master’s degree in teaching English. Kids are my passion. Teaching is my passion. 

While I teach 11th and 12th grade students, I enjoy working with kids of all ages. I volunteer coach for the Westford Youth Baseball and Softball League for my 9-year-old son. I look forward to helping my 7-year-old daughter with softball.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected? 

During the state of the town address at our recent town meeting, the crowd cheered at the success of our schools. The citizens then voted down a chance to fund programs like pre-1 that our children, and our schools, need, in order to continue their success. My main focus will be finding ways to properly fund our schools, and to pay our teachers in accordance with the success of our schools.

My other main focus is equity and diversity. We need to make sure that all students can see themselves reflected in the curriculum and in staffing.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Alicia D. Mallon

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking? Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

I have served on the Westford School Committee for the last two years.  As a committee member, I have participated in the Policy Subcommittee, the Diversity and Inclusion Team, and ongoing discussions about enrollment, growth, and student wellness.  I attend workshops with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to stay current with policies and best practices.  I also engage our representatives at the state level to advocatefor increased school funding.  In addition, throughout the nine years my children have attended WPS, I have volunteered with the PTOs, the Nabnasset School Advisory Committee, and the Special Education Parent Advisory Council.


What issues will be a priority for you if elected?
 

Our foremost issues are the budget, new enrollment, redistricting, and student wellness and safety.  I have been an active participant in the budgeting process and value the collaborative efforts of all our town boards.  I have been a part of the redistricting and new enrollment discussions, and have proposed utilizing the existing “Move Up Day” and Sister School practices to ease the transition.  I will continue to advocate at the state level for school funding and reimbursement. We also need to continue efforts around school safety – with a focus on both physical safety and social-emotional supports for all students.

SELECTMEN – Scott Hazelton

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities.

Professionally, I am an economist advising clients on the allocation of scarce resources, a skill clearly relevant. Prior to becoming a Selectman, I served on the Westford Housing Authority and the Community Preservation Committee. I know the challenge of state mandates, funding among competing priorities, and the importance of working with other boards, agencies and even towns to accomplish goals.

These will be important skills as Westford implements EPA mandated storm water management practices and infrastructure as cost effectively and as possible. 

Working closely with diverse clients has taught me to collaborate, avoid pre-conceptions and look for creative solutions.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected? 

The top priority remains delivering the highest quality town and school services, cost effectively, in a challenging growth environment.

I co-chair the Town & School Safety Task Force; we will need to prioritize and implement consultant recommendations due in May. Relatedly, we need to continue to improve safe pedestrian access around our schools.

We need to rationalize existing and future town buildings with town service needs; I am working with the Permanent Town Building Committee toward this goal.

Public safety staff additions are a priority given increased call volumes, and we need to continue hiring consistent with a balanced budget.

SELECTMEN – Andrea Peraner-Sweet

How is your background related to the board position you are seeking?  Please include your participation in any town or community-related activities?

​For more than twenty years, I have been actively involved in Town government.  I have a proven record of accomplishment and an ability to foster collaboration and build consensus

​During my nine years as a Selectmen, I have served as the Board’s representative on: Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Town Center Parking and Traffic Study Committee, Economic Development Committee, Drew Farms Task Force (Chair) and Budget Solutions Task Force (Chair).

​Other Board and committee experience includes: Planning Board, thirteen years, six as Chair; Stony Brook Master Plan, Chair; Stepinski Land Acquisition, Co-Chair; Community Preservation; Affordable Housing, Co-Chair; and Master Plan and Master Plan Implementation.

What issues will be a priority for you if elected?

​The approximately 700 new residential units coming to Westford over the next several years will impose increased burdens on Westford’s schools, services and infrastructure.  Additionally, we are faced with state mandated storm water drainage requirements that must be funded.  Leading the discussion in how to meet these challenges and ensure that Westford continues to maintain the level of services its residents are accustomed to in a fiscally sound manner will be one of my main priorities. We must continue to explore opportunities to deliver town services in creative and collaborative ways, from an interdepartmental perspective, working together to benefit Westford.