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A Strong Endorsement for Patrick Shield

April 24, 2010

Sam Obar 180 is endorsing Patrick Shield for Selectman for the second year in a row. Since there are two seats open on the Board, an additional endorsement for another candidate will be coming in the next few weeks as we move closer to the election. Also, opinions on the ballot questions will be published soon. Because the field for School Committee candidates is light, no endorsements will be made in that area.

Whoever is elected to the Board of Selectmen on June 5 will have a lot of work to do. Building a new senior center and public safety facilities, deciding what to do with the old Walpole Public Library, increasing funding to our public safety and school departments, and promoting economic development are just a few of the major issues our Selectmen will be focusing on during the next few years. Luckily, we have at least one very competent and qualified candidate running in this year’s election who will focus on all of these issues and more. This candidate is Patrick Shield.

Patrick Shield is a breath of fresh air and new energy that is sorely needed on a Board where the average age of membership is 55. He is the only candidate thus far this year who set up his own campaign website, which provides a substantial amount of information about his priorities and his campaign’s activities. He has a Twitter feed. He has announced he wants to revamp the town website and enhance the level of accountability and transparency from our elected and appointed officials. He has proposed summits to discuss the pressing need for new town buildings and he has made public safety – namely increasing the number of Walpole cops – a cornerstone of his list of priorities. Additionally, unlike some of our current Selectmen, he has no family ties to the Walpole Police Department, and in fact, none whatsoever with the town payroll. He is willing to make the tough decisions about cuts, when necessary, without having to abstain on an important vote because of a conflict of interest. He has a job just like the rest of us – working at Stop & Shop, where, according to his website, “he has been working to develop a more efficient and friendly customer service department.”

Shield has been attending Selectmen’s meetings as often as possible for some time now, making it clear that he is prepared to put in the time to attend every meeting and deliberate on Walpole issues. Last year, he was out on Walpole center every Saturday, waving to vehicles and showing he has the desire and persistence to serve Walpole. His presence on the common also illustrated his belief in being visible and not hiding behind the doors of Town Hall. He was one of the few candidates who did so. We fully expect him to be out on the Common again this year.

Shield has pushed for an expanded focus on economic development especially in downtown. Furthermore, his experience and work in State Senator Jim Timilty’s office will mean we will have a legislative partner on the Board of Selectmen who knows the ins and outs of the State Senate and who is known and trusted by the legislature. His understanding of the legislature will help in securing much-needed funding from the state. On the biotech issue, which is proving to be fairly controversial this year, Shield has already consulted a biotech expert on his own, to ensure his opinion is well-researched and educated. He has toured the DPW facilities to understand their operations. He has visited the senior center to speak to seniors. He has met with the police chief to discuss his department’s needs. He has been appointed by Selectmen to the Master Plan Implementation Committee. All this without even being elected yet. He is getting a full grasp of the issues well before any of the other candidates.

If elected, Shield has promised to do his best to not only increase the size of the Walpole police force, but also put more teachers in the Walpole school system. He graduated from Walpole public schools, and has friends and family attending the Walpole school system. He has stated on record that he wants to be accessible to the people of Walpole and even gave out his cell phone number to the public for people to contact him directly at any time. It is our hope that by doing so he will set an example that other town officials will follow.

He has said he will not vote to implement trash fees, and in fact has proposed being more cost-efficient in our trash pickup and promoting recycling more. He was the first candidate for Selectman this year to directly take on the trash fee issue with a firm “No”. He supports regionalizing certain departments.

Shield has the right ideas for Walpole. He came close to winning last year’s election, and now wants to give it another shot. You have to admire him for his persistence and determination. He deserves your vote. A vote for Patrick Shield on June 5 is a vote for a better Walpole.

To listen to my interview with Patrick Shield from February, download it here (courtesy of Archive.org.) His cellphone number, by the way, is 508-369-8326.

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