LtE: Independents Stand w/ Christopher Haley, Dana Guarino, & Sarah McLaughlin

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Dear Reading Residents, 

As a State and Local Tax practitioner, it is my job to implement and ensure tax compliance from taxpayers, regardless of political interests or policy. Tax is an exciting field in that sense. We may have a personal opinion on tax matters. We may agree with what we are preparing or disagree. And yet, as tax professionals, we continue to uphold the utmost diligence to the public, to ensure compliance in entities and taxpayers.

There are over 90,000 state and local governments across our entire country. And while the media continues to bring the presidential election into the forefront of voters, our local elections impact us directly and the hardest here at home. Please go out and vote! This provincial election will have large implications for our school system as well as the economic growth of the Town of Reading. Let me preface that I am an Independent voter; unlike many young voters, I am not consumed by red or blue. I vote on what is right, what is wrong, what will help, what will hurt, but most importantly, who. Character matters in every election – without character, respect, and honesty, we elect leaders who should not be representative of the people. 

School Committee: We will elect two new school committee members this election. Growing up in the RPS system, Reading was notoriously ranked in the top 20 for school districts and college acceptances. New officials elected in recent years have spent more time discussing their political agendas than focusing on the root problems in Reading. Our district has dropped to #78 out of 220. According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, only 52% of students in Reading were proficient in math, and only 66% were proficient in reading. And the gap has continued to grow each year. When people think of Reading, they think of a robust school system as justification for our high taxes, but we will no longer be able to justify how things are going. I urge Reading residents to stop supporting the school committee by taking a red or blue pill. Choose the grey pill. Our school system is no place for partisanship; our students, our teachers, our families, our taxpayers deserve better. 

Please vote for Dana Thomas Guarino and Sarah Michelle McLaughlin for the School Committee this Tuesday. Both are ethical leaders with proven track records for student success. 

Select Board: In this election, we will vote for a new member of the Select Board for the town. Reading has collectively grown in population in the last decade. The biggest change? Renters are everywhere. You may have seen in the news that Massachusetts cities and towns connected to the MBTA must rezone property to meet “multifamily housing” developments. This does not mean the land must be converted from existing homes to apartments, but it does allow builders to buy homes, knock them down, and build condos and apartment buildings within a 0.5-mile radius of the Reading train station. For example, Milton has recently rejected the MBTA zoning law over congestion and crime concerns. Due to Reading’s charter, the Select Board does not need to hold a public election to rezone the land, but it will require a vote from this year’s Select Board. Builders continue to take over Reading Square, pushing out downtown local businesses for urban transplants that cannot afford Cambridge or Somerville while disproportionally paying less tax revenue and using the same existing resources. As this trend continues, Reading residents, in economic speak, are receiving less while paying more. I recently talked to a few Reading taxpayers who said while they agree, “the State has a housing issue; Reading does not need to be building giant apartment complexes at the ends of cul-de-sacs and on every parcel of unused land.” 

-Percy Ave Residents (who wished to stay anonymous) 

Chris Haley, a longtime Reading resident and local business owner, has committed his next term to expanding Reading’s economic growth without jeopardizing Reading’s low crime rate and small-town feel. Chris has a successful track record of improving the town of Reading. 

Please vote for incumbent Christopher Haley for Select Board this Tuesday. 

With Much Kindness,

Ryan Assarian
Countryside Lane (Precinct 4)
Reading, MA 01867

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