Belmont’s annual Town Election is just around the corner and the stakes this year – like most years – are high. We have a contested race for the Select Board that pits a newcomer, former Jamaica Jeff’s owner Jeff Lasseter against incumbent Select Board member Roy Epstein. There are competitive races for the newly created Light Board as well as Board of Health.
For Town Meeting – Belmont’s legislature – this year is unusual: the decennial census resulted in changes to the dimensions of four of Belmont’s 8 precincts, which necessitates a total “refresh” in those precincts with all 36 members of the Precinct’s Town Meeting delegation needed to stand for office at the same time – that’s a lot of races, to say the least.
To help sort out the options for voters, in the last two weeks, I circulated a survey to candidates whose names appear on the April ballot. So far, 144 candidates responded (with more likely to come in in the days ahead). I’ve posted their responses online and made them available to Blogging Belmont readers. You can check out the Voter’s Guide using the button below.
If you’re a candidate whose name is on the ballot, but you haven’t yet filled out the survey, feel free to message me on Facebook, or text me: 617 817 0198. I’ll get you the link and password to complete the survey. This is an online guide, so we can update it as new information comes online and late is better than never.
Why a voters’ guide?
The goal here is two fold.
First: I wanted voters to have as much information to guide their decision making when they go to vote April 5. Belmont has some weighty problems ahead that our elected officials will have to juggle: from a multi-million dollar structural budget deficit, to urgent capital needs (the Library, the Viglirolo rink), to reinvigorating our business districts following the pandemic to completing the Community Path. Hearing candidates thoughts on what issues are most important to them can help ensure that our elected government represents the priorities and concerns of residents.
Second: I felt we needed more information and attention going into local elections, which are almost always low turnout affairs. The League of Women Voters survey is awesome and they do amazing work to raise awareness about local elections. But it is limited by its form – namely: the space and timing constraints of a printed guide. The annual LWV “parade” of candidates is also limited by its format and does little to advance voters understanding of where individuals stand on the issues that matter to Belmont.
Fortunately, technology has solved these problems of space and access. An online survey allows us to share the final results in ways that reach a population that increasingly gets its information online. Thus: the Blogging Belmont Candidates’ Survey.
Take a few moments to review the responses. I hope they help to inform your decisions on April 5. And, by all means, share this survey around to your friends in town. The more participation (and democracy), the better for our Town of Homes.