Everyone Has a Say

To the residents who stayed at home while their elected officials crafted school and town budgets, and to those who chose not to air their concerns during recent public hearings, we trust that you are satisfied with the final numbers that resulted from these meetings.

But now that the hearings are over, your next shot at participatory democracy comes at the Deliberative Sessions and Town Meetings. It’s not too late to offer your well thought out and practical suggestions for saving your town money, or to offer your thanks if you feel that your elected officials have paid attention to the woes of the taxpayers.

Of course, there’s one other thing you can do, particularly if you are passionate about fiscal and personal responsibility. Is it frustrating to state your case and feel that no one is listening? You can see to it that that changes by running for elected office yourself.

From January 24 through February 2, the filing period is open for town and school district offices (check our calendar listings for details specific to your town).

If you’re willing to put in the effort (and it will definitely require effort), sign up for a seat on your school board or town council. Don’t let the apathy that brought out only one or two people to budget hearings continue into the upcoming election.

If you have great love for your community, are truly willing to listen to others, seek a middle ground among differing opinions, have a thick skin, and are willing to put in long evenings to serve your constituents, we encourage you to put your name in the running (those with personal agendas need not apply).

In a country founded on citizen participation, in a state where the voice of the individual is honored, and in towns with small enough populations that the voice of individual citizens is more easily heard, elected office is a possibility for anyone who cares enough to make an effort.

With a position in Town Council or your town’s School Board, you’ll know what’s really going on, have a say in what happens next, and be responsible for helping your town move forward. You’ll truly be part of your community, as well as a part of democracy in action.

At your local newspaper, we only cover the news, we do not make it. If you’re unhappy with what you’re reading in your weekly town paper, but are unable to run for a seat, sit on a board, or speak up at meeting, then please let your voice be heard by sending us your letters to the editor! We want to know your thoughts along with others in your town.

Change happens with action, so if you’re unsatisfied with the status quo, take action to make a change!

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