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Endorsements for Selectmen: Jim Stanton and Joe Monahan

June 4, 2014

Jim Stanton

During this campaign, Susan Lawson has boasted the endorsements of a whole host of town politicians, such as former Selectmen Joe Denneen and William Ryan, and current Selectmen Chris Timson, Michael Berry, and Mark Gallivan.

The great thing about Jim Stanton is that he doesn’t need the high-powered endorsements of Town Hall insiders to win. His campaign is about the people of Walpole, not about any so-called town officials. Stanton’s campaign has been built at the grassroots level by a bipartisan coalition of voters who believe that he is the most qualified, most genuine, most competent, and most independent candidate for Selectman to run in many years. Those voters are absolutely correct. His resume of volunteerism and relevant work experience, and his common sense stances on the issues speak for themselves.

Lawson may have the endorsement of Assistant School Superintendent Jean Kenney, but Stanton has the support of thousands of voters who come from average means with private sector jobs, who don’t want to keep paying more and more for a town government that can work much better and more efficiently than it currently does.

The bipartisan coalition backing Stanton this year is a testament to his moderate approach to politics, with an appropriate blend of fiscal conservatism and a desire for a strong community.

Stanton understands that it is possible to have good schools and a high quality of life without breaking the budget and turning our town into Wellesley or Weston. Unsustainable spending in the town and school budget must be addressed in order to avert the need for future general property tax overrides. This requires constant vigilance when it comes to spending – the capital, personnel, and health insurance line items are just a few of the many areas where Stanton knows that we can find savings. As a Selectman, he can help highlight these issues.

Stanton is not a ruthless budget-cutter who will slash school or town spending just for the sake of keeping taxes down – he recognizes the negative impact of cutting teachers and services, and will look for a happy medium between stable services and modest taxes. That is very achievable, if we have a Selectman like Stanton who is willing to explore the town budget more deeply than the current Selectmen and Finance Committee.

Unlike the Finance Committee, where Lawson hails from, Stanton won’t rubber-stamp spending articles, nor will he accept bureaucrats’ word for everything – he will question every item, review every alternative, and consider sensible approaches to saving tax dollars.

Stanton was also opposed to the school department’s request to postpone a $300,000 contribution to pay down our $84 million OPEB debt this year, while Lawson supported it. Stanton recognizes that paying down our debt, and not piling it on future generations, is an important issue that can’t just be postponed.

Additionally, Stanton’s own private sector business experience, as an attorney running his own firm, will help in cutting red tape to make it easier for businesses, like the new Napper Tandy’s on Main Street, to start up in Walpole.

Town Hall has also been rife with mismanagement and scandals these past two years – from the Finance Department theft, to two thefts in the Recreation Department, and the mysterious resignation of the Animal Control Officer. As a Selectman, Stanton won’t look the other way while scandals like this occur – he will demand answers and accountability.

Stanton is involved in the local community as a youth sports coach, and is an involved parent in his children’s education. He also serves on the ZBA, as its new chairman helping to rebuild the board’s reputation after a tumultuous situation related to the Moose Hill ZBA, and as a Town Meeting Representative.

Joseph Monahan

Were it not for Joe Monahan, incumbent Selectman Mark Gallivan would have had no opposition this year, or would have had just token opposition in Bill Hamilton. No matter your political persuasion, democracy is always good. Let’s give Monahan a lot of credit for doing what he has done these past six weeks – he has run a steady campaign against a strong incumbent who had a lot more name recognition and money at the start. Monahan hasn’t let the big money and name intimidate him – instead, he got to work during this campaign, learning about the issues and understanding what voters are concerned about. He has gone door-to-door, called voters personally, and is working hard to earn every last vote.

Monahan may not have the political acumen or charisma of Gallivan, but that’s because he is a working class guy who is running because he doesn’t like what he sees in government. Rather than sitting on his thumbs and complaining about this, he took out nomination papers and is attempting to change things. Monahan is an average taxpayer attempting to make a living, but is finding that to be increasingly difficult in this community. He will serve us well as a Selectman, because he is one of us.

During this campaign, Monahan has employed a mix of Scott Brown-style populism and The Boston Herald’s anti-establishment message. These are themes that should resonate with voters in this Republican-leaning town, at a time when we face some fiscal problems just like the ones on Washington and Beacon Hill, only on a slightly smaller scale.

Although his campaign initially started out of some frustration with the $80,000 so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” next to Town Hall, his campaign is about much more than that – it’s about what the bridge represents: overspending and a lack of oversight. Consider the example of the ongoing wading pool reconstruction at Memorial Park on School Street – officials initially underestimated the cost of the reconstruction, ripped the pool apart just before pool season, and now find themselves having to install “fewer fountains and aesthetic features” in the new pool because the final cost turns out to be a lot higher than expected. Why did the pool plan even have those unneeded aesthetic features in the first place? If the pool can be built modestly, why was it being built more expensively than it needed to be?

Monahan has rightly taken on the wading pool issue, along with other issues like the Selectmen’s decision to let a North Walpole developer back out of his deal with the town to build a ball field on his land for a bargain basement price of $200,000, as reasons why Town Hall simply has been asleep at the switch.

Monahan has also pointed out that the town may not need to go to taxpayers for huge overrides in order to fund new facilities such as a police station and senior center. Rather, the town should use more creative ways to fund a new police station, like what towns like Bellingham are doing by putting money aside from their operating budgets each year. This type of out-of-the-box thinking on how to build and maintain the facilities that we need, rather than an automatic desire to hit up taxpayers for more money for this purpose, would be very useful on the Board of Selectmen. We need a Selectmen whose first inclination on a large expense is not to ask how we can get taxpayers to pay more for it, but rather to ask how we can make it work within our budget or if we even need it in the first place. Monahan believes that raising taxes should be the last resort.

That said, Monahan is not an automatic “no” vote to everything. He recognizes that government has a purpose in spending money on certain things. For example, he has suggested that the town may need to put up some money to reconstruct downtown, but not the amount of money that the town has proposed. Monahan has also suggested that there is a need for a new senior center, but it can be done in a more modest, fiscally sensible way. Monahan also has kids in the school system and will not support any drastic school department cuts that he knows will impact his own kids’ educations.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 4, 2014 10:24 AM

    Very nice Sam Stanton and Monahan are my family votes

    Sent on a Sprint Samsung Galaxy S® 5

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