Voters’ Guide for the May 4, 2021 Town Election

Each year, the League of Women Voters of Westford sponsors a Voters’ Guide for the Town election. Candidates running for local office are asked to respond to three questions about their candidacy, limiting their responses to 250 words for each question. This year, elections are being held for Select Board, Board of Health, Planning Board, Library Trustee, School Committee, and Housing Authority.

More information about what’s on the ballot can be found here.

The deadline to register to vote for this election is 8 p.m. on April 14. You can register to vote at the Town Clerk’s office or online here or download a voter registration form here and mail or bring it to the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall, 55 Main Street.

All registered voters can apply for mail-in ballots. Ballot applications will NOT be automatically mailed to you. Ballots must be received by the Town Clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on May 4. You may mail in your ballot or drop off your ballot in a secure drop box for mail-in ballots located in the Town Hall parking lot. Please note that if you do use this drop-box, your ballot must still be in the “early” or “absentee” envelope provided to you. Also, don’t forget to sign your envelope. Polls will also be open on May 4 for in-person voting, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The League of Women Voters of Westford is a nonpartisan political organization of women and men that encourages informed and active participation 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.

Select BoardSchool Committee
Planning BoardHousing Authority
Library TrusteesBoard of Health

SELECT BOARD – Eric Barber-Mingo

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

Select Board Members are the chief policy-making officials in Westford. Effective policy-making requires active listening – eyes and ears open; mouth shut – to collect facts that support identified policies. Effective policy-making also requires effective argumentation, namely an ability to cogently and ethically justify policies by marshaling collected facts into concise arguments that survive public scrutiny. Active listening and effective argumentation have been my stock in trade during my 28 years as a trial attorney, and I will use these attributes on the Select Board.


Select Board Members are also responsible for the enforcement of all town bylaws and regulations. I am ready for this because I have spent my entire career applying laws to facts to determine proper outcomes. I am also ready for this because I know that “enforcement” requires fairness, equity and empathy, and my 28 years in court have taught me that lack of same inspires resistance and failure. I will most certainly foster said fairness, equity and empathy as a Select Board Member.


Regarding my town/community activities: Presently, I am Co-Chair of Westford’s nascent DEI Committee. In a few months’ time in that role, I have forged relationships with Westford leaders and begun to help further Westford’s commitment to equitable practices. In the past, I have served Westford by serving on the School Advisory Councils in the Miller School and the Day School, coaching flag football and softball teams, and helping manage the Day School Chess Club.


For more information, see www.ebm4sbm.com!

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

Two things launched my candidacy.

First was my belief that I have the interpersonal skills and temperament needed to be an inclusive and responsive – and thereby effective – Select Board Member.  To me, this means having sufficient patience to avoid snap decisions, having sufficient self-confidence and “thick skin” to remain diplomatic and empathetic while listening to and responding to concerns raised on all sides of important issues, and having sufficient judgment and communication skills to make and support tough decisions when decision time comes.

Westford really needs this approach to governance right now.  Our pandemic-stressed times have left budgets tight, emotions raw, and people huddled in “safe” or “familiar” corners where, too often, effective communication and cooperation occur only between like-minded people.  Given the success I have had in resolving tension-filled legal matters – criminal matters, family disputes, and high-stakes corporate disputes – while making few (if any) enemies, I feel I have what it takes to bridge gaps and get things done in the current environment.  So, no better time than the present!

Second, I am running now because I am responding to a literal call to service.  Several members of the Westford community who are familiar with my values, abilities and background reached out to me and encouraged me to step up and use those attributes to serve Westford as a Select Board Member.  I was both humbled and energized by their collective ask, so I said “Yes!” and jumped in with two feet!

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

(1) I will promote effective and inclusive governance by (a) remaining the polite and approachable person that I always strive to be, no matter how tough the situation; (b) giving everyone a voice by actively listening to, and responding to, concerns raised on all sides of issues; and (c) justifying Town policies by marshaling collected facts into clear and concise arguments that withstand public scrutiny.

(2) I will help forge equitable access to every aspect of Westford Public Schools, and I will help ensure that WPS embraces the cultures and experiences of each student.  How?  By fostering productive relationships with all members of the School Committee and with our new Superintendent of Schools, and then cementing their commitment to these goals, period.  It is that straightforward, and I’ve already begun this work.

(3) I want to improve police-to-community relations.  So, I support funding initiatives to (i) screen out negative biases in any active officer; (ii) enhance de-escalation and mental illness recognition skills; and (iii) enhance public accountability for officer wrongdoing.

(4) For pedestrian safety, I will support initiatives to gauge walking demand on our busiest roads and to build a greater network of sidewalks, crosswalks and streetlights on those roads.

(5) I want to eliminate Internet “dead zones” in town; the pandemic has highlighted this weakness.  To do so, I will champion any sensible and affordable initiatives to build cell towers and to improve wired Internet delivery to all homes and businesses.

SELECT BOARD – John H. Cunningham

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

I spent 16 of my 26 years in the Air Force serving at bases here and overseas where I was involved in Public works activities. This includes facilities operations and maintenance as well as design and construction of base facilities. During my last 2 years, I served as Base Commander of Edwards Air Force in California and was sometimes referred to as the “Mayor”.  I was responsible for the security and upkeep of the 300,000-acre facility. I was also responsible for Disaster Preparation for landings of the Space Shuttle.  In other words, doing what a Mayor or Town Manager would do, solving problems for any small town in the country. During the last 16 years, I have served on over 10 committees, including the Comprehensive Master Plan, Capital Planning, Public Works Initiative Committees and working groups, along with the Conservation Commission. I am currently on the Finance Committee. Serving on these committees has given me an understanding of how our annual Town Meeting and Town Manager form of government work and an appreciation for, and admiration of the employees and volunteers who make it succeed. The Comprehensive Master Plan Committee demonstrated what a dedicated group of volunteers could do and reawakened a sense of purpose that I had not felt since the Air Force. For that I am grateful. Working for the citizens of Westford just feels right.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

If not now, when?  I have spent much of the last 15 years working on a variety of committees with the sole purpose of making life better for the citizens of Westford. While serving on the Finance Committee, I have gained a new appreciation for the importance of that committee to review the proposed budget and to ask the hard questions. This provides our legislative body, the Annual Town Meeting, with the information needed to make informed decisions on all articles having a financial impact on the town. I also better understand the importance of working closely with the Town Manager and the Select Board in resolving budget issues to provide the best budget possible to the Annual Town Meeting(s). The Conservation Commission and Finance Committee come the closest to the Select Board experience in that they make decisions that can directly affect the safety and welfare of the people and the adequacy of the Town budget to meet the Town’s most urgent needs.  On the Conservation Commission, it made a marked difference when the atmosphere was one of helpful assistance rather than only regulation and bylaw enforcement.  My experience will help with budget issues, weathering the pandemic and facing the challenges of  the future. I feel the timing is right for me to take the next step and apply my experience and capabilities to help the people of Westford.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

Getting through the pandemic with the people of Westford as safe and well as possible is priority one. That includes getting our children back into the classroom as soon as safely possible.  We must produce a budget that continues a high level of service to the community and maintain a work force to do it. Public safety matters. While Westford is one of the safest towns in MA, if not the nation, we need to continue our support of the Town and School Safety Task Force (TSSTF) in developing solutions to the potential threats to our safety. This may result in a further increase in Police and Fire and we need to develop a more rigorous method for determining that need. Additionally, while we have made significant progress in the efficiency of Town Operations, there are still potential savings to be had in town wide maintenance and purchasing activities  We need to include procurement, and capital projects. Consolidation of similar activities,  increasing the commonality of equipment, using underutilized space in town facilities should all help with operational costs. I would like a  more comprehensive look at capital needs.  Another priority of mine is to incorporate the work of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to ensure that we can take timely action, if needed, to provide equal protection and opportunity for our diverse population.


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SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Avery Adam

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

I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s crazy world; your personality, your sense of humor, and most importantly, your heart. Over the last six years as a member of the committee, I have weathered many storms and come out stronger for it.   I have served as Chair for two years, worked on the policies and negotiations and served as liaison to the Public Works Initiative and the Town and School Safety Task Force. More recently I was named Chair of the new school finance subcommittee and am the school representative on the Town Capital Planning Committee.

Before joining the School Committee in 2015, I served on the SAC at Nabnasset School, Co-President of WEPTO, President of the Westford Friends and Newcomers and was part of the CAC for Full Day Kindergarten.  Two years ago, my dedication to Westford led me to the Roudenbush Community Center. I work part-time promoting the historic community center.

We moved to Westford almost 15 years ago looking for a kid-centered, family friendly community.  We fell in love with the rural charm, historic roots and strong schools.  Thank you Westford!

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

The reason that I am running for re-election to the Westford School Committee can be summed up in a few words – almost 5000 kids.  I believe that over the past six years I have demonstrated a deep commitment to the education of all of Westford’s students.  While I am a parent in the district, my decisions have always been predicated upon what is best for the district as a whole. I am passionate about ensuring that all of our children get the best possible start in life. I have also demonstrated the leadership ability to make the tough decisions that had to be made.  I want to provide stability and perspective as we enter a new era, under new leadership. 

Children everywhere have endured an unprecedented year and mental wellness has never been so critical.  As a high-performing academic district, I feel our students are vulnerable to the pressures put on them. I am the mom of two teenagers and I have seen how easily that balance can slip and how challenging it can be to get back on track.  With the return to the classroom,  I will continue to advocate for the needs of the whole child.  I will continue to make votes that may not always be popular but that I know are right for the children of Westford.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

Over the next three years, with a new Superintendent, we will need to make some tough decisions about continuing to improve our educational deliverables in a fiscally sustainable manner.  I hope to draft a comprehensive strategic plan that will take Westford Public Schools to the next level of achievement.  I want to see SMART goals adopted by the district that can then be adapted to guide every level of the schools.  Issues like start times and FDK need to be planned for while also keeping the district fiscally stable. Once we have a framework to work from, I know we will need to continue to improve the communication with all stakeholders.  We must identify channels that allow for transparency in finances, operations and curriculum.  

Let us not forget those who welcome our children everyday. We must support our teachers and staff as they educate our children.   As a six year vetern member, I have a unique perspective on providing leadership as a new superintendent begins, as we rethink what it means to be accountable, effective and efficient in the years and decades ahead.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Kathryn Clear

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 currently a stay-at-home Mom, but I am also a qualified elementary teacher, have a Master’s in Education and hold a postgraduate diploma in Public Relations.

I have experience working in the Irish, Scottish, and American education systems and prior to my teaching career, I worked for five years as a communications executive. Along with my career and qualifications I have also been a parent volunteer and board member of LexFun (a non-profit focused on supporting young families), and a classroom and library volunteer at Nabnasset Elementary School.

As an educator and a Mom, I am passionate about creating a school system that nurtures and includes all our learners. I believe different voices and perspectives are always a huge benefit to school committees considering the breadth of issues that they engage in daily. As a member of the Westford School Committee, I will bring a fresh perspective where I will prioritize equity, inclusivity, communication, and innovation in our schools, while being transparent in my decision making.

For more information:
kathrynclearforwestfordschools@gmail.com 
www.kathrynclear.net
www.facebook.com/KathrynClearforWPS

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

I decided to run this year as I have 3 children in Nabnasset, and Abbot schools and I think that my background in education and communications would bring a different perspective to the School Committee that I feel is missing.

This past year I felt with several school issues that transparency, communication, and thorough engagement across all involved groups could have been greatly improved. With Dr. Chew becoming our new Superintendent, I see now as a perfect opportunity to develop clear communication channels that are transparent and mindful in their approach.

Another factor in deciding to run for School Committee this year is the dramatic change to our children’s lives and schooling, which has been stressful for all. The impacts from Covid are going to be far reaching from policies and procedures to budgeting and mental health support, and I want to be involved in these issues so that I can advocate for equity and inclusion whilst being mindful of our teaching staff.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

I would like to see special education in Westford focus on equity and improved communication along with educational innovation. Westford is a fantastic school district, primarily due to the teachers who are hands on with our kids every day. However, being a mom of children receiving special education services I see this as an area in need of improvement.

I want to also prioritize and advocate for better communication between the administration, the school committee, and the community. I believe that all communication should be strategic, mindful, transparent, and accessible. Collaborative decision making and open communication between these groups is key to building trust in the process.  

I am also concerned about recent budget cuts regarding K-2 years and the lack of full time Kindergarten. A strong educational foundation is imperative to a child’s development and without early intervention it puts pressure on the rest of the school system to plug gaps and play catch up which can leave some of our children feeling left behind and lacking in self-esteem.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Meghan O’Connell

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 6 school age children, from 2nd to 10th grade.  Up until the fall of 2019, we had homeschooled our kids, using many of the resources available to homeschoolers in this area.  We experienced first-hand how each child has their own unique style of learning, and how proper engagement allows them to thrive.  There have been people who have suggested that the hybrid or remote learning models are essentially homeschooling.  They are vastly different. 

My background is in engineering, which at it’s core is about finding ways to make things possible that previously hadn’t existed, often while finding compromises between competing requirements (or competing interests).  I have been working in Quality in FDA regulated industries for several decades.  One of the fundamental – if unspoken – doctrines of quality is that of communication and fact-based decision making, understanding that there is always risk. 

Communication and compromise based on facts is what is needed, and that has become clear over this last year.  Over this last year, we have all heard about ‘staying safe’.  While that is a noble goal, my background in quality engineering also helps me to understand that risk is never eliminated.  Further, when mitigations are implemented to reduce risk, the risk introduced by those mitigations must also be taken into consideration.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

What motivated me to run for the School Committee this year was listening to the School Committee meetings late last summer, when the plans for the 2020-21 school year were being discussed.  I recall a few things specifically.  First, the survey of parents in July showed that the plurality of parents desired a full-time school re-opening.  Below are links to the survey results.

Grades pre-K – 2:
Grades 3-5:
Grades 6-8:
Grades 9-12:

Second, on June 25 of last year the DESE issued guidance which stated that while 6’ separation was better, a 3’ separation was acceptable with minimal increased risk, as well as guidance on how to serve lunch safely.  Yet the superintendent and the School Committee ignored the desire of the plurality of parents and stated that they were ‘not comfortable’ with the DESE guidance.  There was also no determination of metrics that would be used to determine when to change models.  Decisions should be based on facts, not feelings.

Mass DESE Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance, June 25, 2020

There has been little effort on the district level to address inequities inherent in the hybrid/remote models.  These inequities are real, and the concerns need to be heard.  Not a single message sent to the superintendent and each current School Committee member was acknowledged.  That is unacceptable.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

There will be a number of significant challenges going forward for the district and the School Committee.  These include:

How do we address the fact that a significant number of children across all grades are significantly behind academically compared to where they should be after a full school year of hybrid/remote learning?

How do we address the fact that there are a significant number of students who may continue to feel unsafe with respect to their health?

How do we address the fact that there are a number of parents who feel unsafe with their children returning to school in-person?

How do we address the concerns of some teachers about their personal safety, or the safety of their family members?

These are all difficult questions to answer.  They all start, however, with data analysis, risk management, and communication.  I think there are several things we can look into as a district that will start to address these challenges:

We should look into optimizing class sizes based on subject and the ratio of students who are behind.  This may likely require negotiation with the teachers and the DESE. 

We should consider making available grade appropriate education on risk, risk evaluation, and mitigation.  These are skills that will be useful to all adults.

We should make a commitment that the School Committee will at least acknowledge concerns of families in Westford.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Christopher Sanders

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

If re-elected to the School Committee, I would build on my six years of experience serving the students, families, and taxpayers of Westford. As the chair of the committee’s policy subcommittee, I have substantial experience with the policy development process and have seen firsthand how our policies can have a tangible impact on the lives of our students and staff. An active participant in the district’s partnership with Challenge Success, I created a storytelling event that highlighted nontraditional paths to educational and career success. In the wake of last year’s murder of George Floyd, I worked with students and alumni to hold a forum on race and ethnicity in Westford schools. Most recently, I served on the subcommittee that oversaw the rigorous search process that led us to selecting our next Superintendent.

I also bring a spirit of problem-solving and teamwork from my background in engineering and my experience working in mediation and restorative justice. I have consistently sought to improve the way the committee goes about its business. I instituted the now annual School Committee planning retreat. I developed our policy database to improve how we undertake the policy development process., With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took responsibility for moving our meetings to a virtual platform, ensuring openness and access to the community.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I bring my experience as the proud parent of two students who’ve been in Westford schools since kindergarten, and now are 9th and 12th graders at Westford Academy.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

It has been a challenging twelve months—not just for our schools, and not just for Westford. COVID has hit families in ways that aren’t always obvious. The physical, psychological, and economic impacts of the pandemic have been compounded nationwide by all-too-prevalent examples of hate, inequity, and division. And while I cannot solve all of the above, I can do my part. I can choose to serve my community, with the hope that my doing so may move the needle. I am seeking another term on the Westford School Committee because I am committed to serving the cause of educating our youth to go out and lead fulfilling lives.

Our schools are at a pivotal juncture. We are optimistically eyeing a return to classroom learning the way we remember it. Yet, at the same time, we know that we can’t just go back to the old way of doing things. We have learned too much this year about how creative and resilient we can be as parents and caregivers, as students, and as educators. This moment is an opportunity to reimagine what education might look like post-COVID.

On top of all that, Westford is also preparing to welcome a new superintendent and develop a new strategic plan for the district. As one of the two most experienced school committee members, I feel a responsibility to continue to serve and provide stability and continuity in a time of so many changes. I look forward to the opportunity and to the challenges ahead.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

My priorities are that every student In Westford Public Schools has equitable access to a high-quality education that fits their needs, and that the district is constantly striving toward the long-term fiscal and administrative health that ensures that we can provide that quality education year in and year out.

Our children need and deserve an education that can’t be measured solely by MCAS scores, GPAs, and admission to prestigious universities. We, as a district, must continue to strengthen our commitment to educating the whole child—their academic, physical, social, and emotional well-being.

I believe our school district is just at the beginning of its journey into greater awareness and practice of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I am heartened by the strong voices I hear from our students of color, and by the openness and willingness of so many of our staff and administrators to engage with this work.

Finally, the long-term health of our schools requires responsible administration, which includes openness and accountability at all levels, fiscal prudence, and attracting top teacher talent.

I will address all of the above priorities by developing a strong, collaborative working relationship with the new superintendent, by helping make sure that our strategic plan and the superintendent’s yearly goals align with the priorities, and by supporting these priorities with appropriate policy and budget decisions.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Steve Wilkins

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

As a father of two I have been following the school committee meetings in the past and feel I have a good knowledge of what has been happening in town and within the school system. Being a very involved father as well as dealing within the evolving circumstances within my career choice I feel I am equipped to be a great support to the school committee as well as deal with tough decisions.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

I believe some changes are needed and I feel like I could be the voice to help make those changes. I no longer want to sit on the sidelines and would like to make an impact within the school system. My initial reasoning to run for school committee was to help get the children back in school full time. This initial thought is what opened my eyes to the fact that I could help shape our children’s futures by assisting to create a healthier mental environment for all.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

-Although I am very aware of what is going on in the world today I believe that political opinion needs to be left out of the classroom as well as any other divisive material. That is not to say that history and politics should not be taught but we cannot go back and rewrite what has unfortunately happened, however we do need to learn from it to move forward. I am also aware this is not happening in every classroom but I have heard of a few incidents in our town as well as others. Our children need to be forming opinions based on facts without personal bias being involved. Also, given what has happened in our country in the last few months kids need to know it is okay to have different opinions. Simply put our children need to know it is okay to disagree.

-I would love to keep the schools open 5 days a week, and avoid any future lockdowns and hybrid models of education by seeking alternate ways to keep everyone safe. 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE – Minquan Zheng

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 sitting on the School Committee for my first full term. During the last three years, I have worked with other committee members on the following: developed a fiscal responsible school budget for every year; focused on student social and emotional learning; promoted diversity and inclusion in the school system; and navigated with school administrators to open schools during the pandemic. I have also been very active in other town boards such as the Pedestrian Safety Committee, Town DEI Committee, and many other organizations in Asian community.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

I have been thinking about this for a long time if I should run for election. Eventually the prospect of putting Westford Public Schools on the right track and moving the school system forward ultimately overweight other considerations, and I am willing to put in my time and effort to work with the entire committee and school administration to ensure the great work will continue, and even greater work will advance.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

There are many new challenges facing Westford Public Schools, and I am ready to take on the challenges and move Westford Schools forward. a) Reopen schools in the pandemic. Students have been suffering a lot with isolation without being able to be back in schools full time. It is vital to open schools following federal and state guidelines, and provide mental health support, and focus on social and emotional learning; b) Now there is a new superintendent, work closely with the superintendent to develop a three year strategic plan for Westford Public Schools to position for education for the 21st century; c) Develop a fiscal responsible school budget tending to emerging students needs while fully examining existing programs to make sure programs are up-to-date and are relevant. Be fully aware of decline in enrollment and study building/space utilization and rebalance needs if necessary.


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PLANNING BOARD – Kate Hollister

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 Planning Board since 2010. Before that, I was Chair of the 2009 Master Plan Committee and I helped research and write the 2001 Open Space and Recreation Plan. I’ve taken advantage of the workshops offered by the Citizen Planner Training Collaborative on a wide variety of planning topics such as Roles and Responsibilities, MA Zoning Act, Subdivision Rules and Regulations, and Complete Streets.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

The Planning Board has the responsibility to treat applications fairly and respectfully while caring for the interest of the Town as a whole. We are guided by policy documents such as the Master Plan, the Route 110 Master Plan, and ones generated by other town committees. Together with the Conservation Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, we guide the physical future of Westford. I feel that I have done a good job, and appreciate the support I have received from fellow residents. I respect and enjoy working with the other Planning Board members, and want to continue serving the Town in this capacity.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

Westford is approaching full residential buildout, and the remaining buildable parcels often have siting issues. We need to work with the applicants to achieve plans that are fair to all parties and follow the intent of our zoning bylaws. A wide variety of housing stock is critical, so average households are not priced out of town. At the same time, we need to create an environment that allows businesses to succeed. Our commercial and industrial zones are a critical part of Westford, including our tax base. For the past 11 years I have been pushing to update our zoning documents to reflect new zoning technologies, philosophies, and best practices. I’m hoping we can achieve this for critical sections within the next few years.


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HOUSING AUTHORITY – Carol Engel

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

Over 25 years ago an individual in my church asked me if I would be interested in running for a spot on the Westford Housing Authority.  I told him I would consider it and I did so, even though, after I agreed, I found out it was a five year position. Now I have been a member of the Authority for over 20 years.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

I am running again because someone needs to do it and I don’t see anyone else coming forward.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

As a member of the Housing Authority I want to make sure all individuals in town have a safe place to live.


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LIBRARY TRUSTEES – Marianne C. Fleckner

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

My background is directly related to the board position I am seeking. I am currently the Director of Human Resources for Acton since 2008, and before that I worked for the Commonwealth for 20 years in various administrative capacities.  The work we do as Library Trustees is closely related to my profession, which is supporting and guiding the Library Director in the policies, procedures and budget plans we draft and advocate for to ultimately realize positive change for the Library.

In addition, I participate in town and community-related activities such as Women Leading Government, a volunteer for Domestic Violence Services Network, current President of the Acton/Boxborough Rotary Club, Board Member of the Center for Hope and Healing and a Commissioner with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. 

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

I decided to run for Library Trustee this year because I have a very strong passion for libraries, with a particular fondness of our J.V. Fletcher Library here in Westford.  When I walk into our library, I am immediately enveloped into a welcoming environment filled with caring and knowledgeable employees, ready to assist all visitors.  This past year, when Library Staff changed from mainly a walk-in business and, without skipping a beat, moved to online and curbside services, only increased my unending passion and appreciation for our local community-driven library. 

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

The issues that will be a priority for me if elected and how I will address them is the continuation to support the Library expansion project. It will give our community the much-needed space for a larger children’s room, media space, public meeting rooms, quiet study rooms, and expanded space for adult and young-adult materials. The town has been supportive in its voice at Town Meeting for the expansion project and we are hopeful to soon see our efforts come to fruition!  In addition, as a Trustee, my priority is to support the Library Director in developing new policies, instituting new programs and making key purchases for the library and supporting continuing education for staff.  Thank you for your time and consideration!

LIBRARY TRUSTEES – 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.

I am familiar with the responsibilities of the Board of Library Trustees as I have been able to serve as a trustee for the last two years. 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. Previously, I served on the Healthy Westford Committee.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

I decided to run for the Board of Library Trustees again because I am passionate about the library’s role in our community, I have developed a better understanding of the importance of cohesive and functioning relationships between Library Trustees, the Library Director, and the Friends of the Library, and am keenly aware of how important it will be to continue to support the library in the next few years with the expansion project on the horizon. We have an incredible library and library staff here in Westford, and I am committed to continuing to support them to the best of my ability as they serve J.V. Fletcher Library patrons.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

My priorities will be to first continue to support our Library Director and staff through the complexities of serving Westford residents through a pandemic. My second priority will be to continue to support the library expansion project, particularly as the project comes before the town at Town Meeting and at the ballot box. The 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, but it will need continued championing in order to be funded.


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BOARD OF HEALTH – Joanne Belanger

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 seeking re-election for the Board of Health.  Prior to this, I had been on the Board for 12 years before deciding not to run for re-election for personal reasons.

I have been working in the field of Public Health for over 30 years. I am a nurse and have background in such areas as Emergency Preparedness, food inspection, septic and soil evaluation, housing issues, communicable disease surveillance and follow-up, and Public Health management.  I am currently the Director of Health and Human Services for the City of Lowell.

Why did you decide to run for this board or committee this year?

I am running for re-election.  I feel that, especially with the current COVID 19 Pandemic, I wanted to continue on the Board of Health and give back to my community in the best way I can, by using my expertise in my chosen profession.

If elected, what issues will be a priority for you and how would you address them?

Right now, the COVID pandemic is still the most important issue.  We need to continue with all the public health mitigation efforts including promoting vaccine, wearing masks and social distancing.  We cannot let our guard down just yet and that important message is the priority.  

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