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Would you elect a young Selectman?

April 3, 2014

18-year-old North Attleboro High School senior Patrick Reynolds became the youngest Selectman ever elected in state history when he was the highest vote-getter, by far, in Tuesday’s North Attleboro municipal election. Reynolds is a Republican.

Before Tuesday, the youngest person ever elected Selectman in Mass. was Gary R. Beauchamp, elected at age 19 in Northbridge in 1979. Within the last ten years, Raynham and Sutton have both elected Selectmen at age 21, both of whom went on to be re-elected to their positions by large margins. One of those, Ryan Fattman in Sutton, is now a prominent Republican state representative.

Reynolds was widely praised for his tireless campaigning and professionally-composed videos that promoted pride in the town. Reynolds also focused on turning out the youth vote by getting hordes of his classmates to register to vote.

Walpole has a history of allowing young people to get involved in government. In 1994, Kenny Jones, Jr. became the youngest person ever appointed by Selectmen to a town board, when he was appointed to the Town Forest Committee at age 14. Former School Committee member Bill Buckley became the youngest person ever elected to Town Meeting when he was elected at age 19 in 2006 (though he ran, and lost in a close vote, at age 18 the year before). This year, there are also two recent Walpole High School graduates who are running for Town Meeting Rep: Joseph Wyman in Precinct 5 and Christie Maciejewski in Precinct 8.

The Walpole Republican Town Committee also recently elected a 19-year-old, Blaine Woodcock, as a delegate to the state GOP Convention. Woodcock has not expanded his political career to municipal office yet, however.

In recent years, multiple people in their 20s have run for town-wide posts, and some have been successful, including Buckley, who became a School Committee member at age 22; Christine Coury, who ran for School Committee at 22 in 2011, but lost; Patrick Shield who ran unsuccessfully for Selectman at age 22 in 2009, but later became a School Committee member at age 25; and Michael Berry, who became Selectman at age 27 and a School Committee member at age 24.

Berry appears to be the youngest Selectman ever elected in Walpole, though Francis W. Smith and James P. Ginley were also both in their late 20s when they were elected in 1960 and 1979, respectively.

What do you think? Would you vote for someone under the age of 22 for Selectman in Walpole?

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 9, 2017 8:11 PM

    if anything, I see a younger person as a GOOD thing, though age alone is not going to be a substantial factor in how a decide. I can cite at least a few very successful city/town mayors in recent years, among those holding other elected positions. The mayor of Attleboro was elected to his first term at age 23 or something—-and the mayor of Holyoke, now in the third term, was first elected at 22, making him among the youngest in state history. Each have done a very good job in not only managing their affairs, but actually turn around mounting debts, long-standing budget issues and inept book-keeping….new blood is often a good thing when things have gone sour. However, I might add aside from that, each had very good qualifications for the position as well as a coherent plan and good communication skills.

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