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Dear fellow Reading citizens,
My husband, John Arena, is a candidate for re-election to Reading’s Board of Selectmen. As our community looks forward to this year’s election on Tuesday, April 3, I would like to tell you about John, and the qualities and talents he brings to our town government.
This year is a milestone for John and me. We met almost 40 years ago, on Labor Day weekend in 1978. We were married in 1981 and moved to Reading the following year. Our three children (now adults) graduated from RMHS in 2003, 2005, and 2008. I am grateful and blessed to have shared almost 40 years with John; he is kind, hard-working, and dedicated to our children and his family, and to the town, we call home.
We both love Reading. It is truly a special place with an ideal location, great schools and unique opportunities for children, and so many wonderful neighbors and friends who truly care about both the town and one another. We want Reading to continue to be that special community, where children love to learn and have fun, and where people of all ages feel safe, welcome, and appreciated.
That said, I also know Reading has many challenges and problems, just like any other town. Being married to a selectman has made it easy for me to pay attention to the issues and concerns we face today, and I know John can continue to provide leadership, sound ideas, and solutions in challenging times.
Our town needs leaders and volunteers who genuinely care about the people of Reading, and who know how to solve problems. We’ve been honored to meet and talk to so many Reading neighbors in the last few months; if you know John as I do, you know he cares about others. He also truly enjoys work — all kinds of work — even if long hours are involved. He offers his time to help others whenever he can, whatever the need. One of his favorite hobbies is fixing just about anything that’s broken: furniture, cars, lawnmowers, computers, toys, and the list goes on. I think that’s why he’s so good at solving problems; he loves to figure out how things work (or how they were broken) and then seeks the best solution.
Humility and respect are so important to me, and to the issue of trust in our town’s (or any) government. I believe the best leaders are true public servants: willing to listen and responsive to all citizens — not just those who agree with their views. John is a person who wants to hear opposing views and ideas; especially if they may help solve problems. And he respects those who may not agree with him — a quality that is important in our marriage (we certainly don’t always agree!), and necessary in a good leader.
It concerns me that some have tried to paint a different picture of my husband as he runs for office because I know he is willing to listen and discuss issues calmly, without anger or malice.
Finally, I want others to know that John is straightforward and honest. He truly appreciates those qualities in others. We all teach our children the importance of being honest and worthy of trust, and John and I strongly believe they deserve leaders who exemplify those qualities.
Thank you for your consideration, and for sharing your concerns and ideas with John and others who volunteer to serve. Please remember to vote on April 3.