We saw difficult issues raised in our community last year in the Lt. Pedrini matter, which focused our attention more intensely on tolerance and diversity. Overall, our town has made a lot of progress on these social issues, which in many ways make it exemplary. That said, it’s clear that with more effort, we can make members of the community who feel either uneasy or very upset appreciate that the town takes their concerns very seriously and that the Select Board and the administration will take measures to improve relations between everyone in every department and those that they serve in the community.
Town Meeting is a wonderful form of government, but many, if not most, people in our town are unaware of how it works and how they can be a part of it. I want to continue working with Envision Arlington to improve Town Meeting members’ engagement with residents in their precincts and the administration. The goal? To function as more of conduit of information from those who are making decisions to those who are affected by them. The precinct meetings that I worked with Envision Arlington to organize are just the start. I fully support the Election Modernization Committee, which should continue until its work is done.
As a member of the Select Board, I will continue to foster more communication, not only between the Select Board and Town Meeting Members, but between Town Meeting Members and their constituents. Neighbors knowing their neighbors and working with their representatives makes our neighborhoods stronger and our town government more responsive.
Let’s also explore ways to get the youth and young adults more engaged in governance. To formulate policies and practices that work for them, they should have a meaningful voice at the table. The town should create a Youth Advisory Council. It could resemble a Student Council, one with which the Select Board and other committees/departments would consult. The youth council would be encouraged to submit its own Town Meeting articles. I hope that the process will create citizens who are more engaged in town government at a younger age.