LtE: In Support of Tara Gregory, Shawn Brandt, and Sarah McLaughlin

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Dear Editor and fellow Reading residents,

I’m writing today in support of Tara Gregory for Select Board and in support of Shawn Brandt and Sarah McLaughlin for School Committee in the upcoming March 5 town election. What these three candidates have in common is respect for fellow board members and their constituents. It is so important that town leaders can work collaboratively with each other and with residents to move Reading toward our goals.

On School Committee, we have seen several years of evidence that Shawn and Sarah, who don’t necessarily always agree or vote the same way, are able to work well with each other and the rest of the committee. The results are clearly visible, as this School Committee has accomplished so much (highlighted in the Candidate Forum): the hiring and contract extension of a very highly regarded superintendent, a great agreement with the teachers’ union well before the current contract expires, the imminent arrival of free full-day kindergarten, and more. I see a thriving team there of knowledgeable volunteers who are excellent at collaborating and who have the temperament and respect for each other that is necessary to keep making good things happen. I’m eager to see their momentum continue!

Regarding the Select Board, I admire current acting chair Mark Dockser for his level-headed leadership and his willingness to listen to all views. I appreciated recent member Jackie McCarthy as well as former member Anne Landry for these types of diplomatic skills as well. Tara Gregory appears to be someone well suited to join their ranks. Tara has been involved in serving their communities since high school, and now volunteers with groups like Partners and Allies for Inclusive Reading (PAIR) and Cato – The Coalition of Us, and of course Town Meeting. Tara’s sense of collaboration is clear in the statement I’ve seen on their website: “it’s not you vs. me, it’s you and me vs. the problem.” That really resonated with me and is the sort of attitude I would like to see more of on the Select Board, especially with so many big challenges like MBTA Communities zoning, the new Killam school, and better facilities for seniors that our town will need to tackle in the near future.

These top-level offices in Reading are best served by volunteers who have a spirit of collegiality and respect for the office and for their fellow board members, with whom they may disagree but can still work productively. Please join me in voting for Tara, Shawn, and Sarah on March 5 (or this week at Town Hall).

Rebecca Bailey
Forest Glen Rd.
Town Meeting member, Precinct 1

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