Dear Fellow Reading Community Members,
My name is Mark Dockser, and I am running for an open Select Board seat in the upcoming April 2019 election. I would like to serve on the Board for three core reasons:
1) To act as a COMPASS for what we do as a town and how we do it: with balance, civility, and kindness;
2) To advance Reading’s ECONOMIC STABILITY in a business and resident-friendly manner;
3) To advocate to place a new SENIOR CENTER/COMMUNITY CENTER on equal footing with other future core projects.
- COMPASS. While Reading is on a good course with economic development, providing quality services efficiently to the taxpayers, and supporting our schools, we often stray off course in tone and demeanor. As a member of the Select Board, I will act as a Compass, striving to ALWAYS conduct our business with balance, civility, and kindness. This should be our True North. We agree on much more than we disagree as a community, and we can strive to get real work done without being tripped up by discord. Where we do disagree, we should always engage in a constructive conversation based on ideas, not personalities.
One area that I feel passionately about is that we must stand up for and with our neighbors in denouncing hate to ensure that Reading is a comfortable and safe place for all residents and visitors. I believe that the Select Board, the Town, and the Schools all have an important role to play in making this clear.
In my many years of volunteer service to the town, I have built a reputation for being a good listener, approachable, fair, prepared, inquisitive, and analytical. I am pragmatic, and I provide leadership that brings results. I will bring these qualities in full force to the Select Board.
- ECONOMIC STABILITY—The economic development efforts led by past and recent boards, as well as town officials, is admirable, and we have many projects advancing that will add to our tax base. We now need to expand these efforts by better supporting our current businesses, encouraging new businesses, and by being resident-friendly in our efforts. As a member of the Select Board, I would:
- Create a business-focused task force to support our local businesses.
- Create a clear focus on improving customer service, with clear accountability
This can and must be accomplished while working respectfully for and with our residents, both during construction and once new locations are inhabited and thriving.
- SENIOR CENTER/COMMUNITY CENTER. Reading has three core large capital projects ahead that we need to keep front and center: DPW/Walkers Brook area development, Killam School/Educational Center and a Senior/Community Center.
While the DPW and Schools have advocates in place, and work has begun to assess the best solutions, the Senior Center has lagged in this regard. We have a rapidly growing population of seniors who want to age in place in our community. As a member of the Select Board, I will advocate establishing a champion for the Senior Center project to ensure that it is on equal footing with the other two. We can then focus on all three projects in balance to find opportunities to work together to meet all these core future needs.
I grew up in Needham and earned my BA in Economics, Summa Cum Laude from Tufts University, then an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. I worked for a variety of large and small companies before stepping out on my own as an entrepreneur. My professional life now centers around advising and consulting with new businesses, helping them to launch new products and grow successfully. One of my passions is to mentor young entrepreneurs—I teach a course in innovation at the Business School at Northeastern University and I serve as a mentor to new companies at Northeastern, MIT, and Tufts.
My wife and I have made Reading our home for twenty-two years. We raised our three children in Reading, with each of them attending the Reading Public Schools and graduating from Reading Memorial High School, providing them the opportunity to attend excellent colleges and start their professional lives.
We have invested countless volunteer hours to support the town. My wife, Linda Snow Dockser, has been an elected member of the School Committee for the past five years and an active volunteer in school, drama, and community activities. I have been an active and engaged Town Meeting member for the last twenty years and as a member of the Finance Committee for the last nine years. I took a leadership role on FinCom as Chair for three years and as Vice-Chair (my current role) for another two. I have served on the Town Manager Selection Committee, Early Childhood Center Task Force, and led a Procurement Investigation subcommittee for Town Meeting.
I have tremendous respect for all town volunteers who put themselves out there to do the right things for Reading. I would like to continue my volunteer service as an elected member of the Select Board. I believe I have the demonstrated experience, character, and commitment to serve the town well.
I like to speak with people in person when possible, and I plan to participate in many forums to meet and listen to as many residents as possible. I look forward to engaging with you over the next several months and beyond!