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 School Committee, amidst the Town’s search for a new Superintendent and a (_nasty_) national debate about educational policies and curricula.
Down ballot, there are competitive races for seven of eight Town Meeting precincts, just a year after a Town-wide redistricting shook up the status quo.
As we did last year, BloggingBelmont circulated a survey to candidates whose names appear on the April ballot two weeks ago, working through the Town Clerk. So far, 91 of 141 candidates have submitted responses to the survey (with more likely to come in the days ahead).
You can view all the survey questions here (PDF). Keep in mind that the questions asked to each candidate vary depending on what office they are seeking, so no candidate was presented with every question. (Though the Select Board candidate got _a lot_ of them. 😉 )
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, check your email for a link to the survey and the password to complete it. Or, 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 4. 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 Viglirolo rink), to addressing the urgent calls for government reform that have come by way of the Collins Center for Public Management’s assessment of Belmont.
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, as I said last year, I felt we needed more information and attention going into local elections, which are almost always low turnout affairs. We also need accurate information in the places where Belmont voters consume it: online, on social media platforms, and so on.
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 Candidate’s 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.