LtE: Tara – A “Civil” Engineer and the Right Choice

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To the Editor,

“I want lower taxes and I want all the Town Hall drama to end” is the refrain I always hear from friends less connected to town politics than I am, when they hear about what has been going on. “The Select Board just needs to get back to doing what they were elected to do. Enough already.”

If that is how you feel, then cast your vote on May 14 for Tara Gregory.  

At the recent RCTV Candidates Forum, Moderator Kevin Vendt asked Tara Gregory and Melissa Murphy about “community frustration, the Select Board dysfunction,” and how the candidates proposed to “bring the Board together” to regain the community’s trust and support.

Tara answered first and spoke of accountability and transparency, “So residents can have confidence that officials are working in their best interest.” Tara stated that they had had the privilege of working with Jackie McCarthy on several initiatives and that they had a great deal of respect for her and her service. Tara thanked Ms. McCarthy for her service. Tara ended by saying “While this investigation is closed, I hope we can move together as a community and look to bring out the best in one another.”

In contrast, amongst other comments, Ms. Murphy stated that residents are really frustrated with the behavior of “some Select Board members” and Ms. Murphy stated that she would have liked Board members to “step up and come forward with the truth.” Delivering divisive innuendo is not the way for Select Board members to come together for the good of the Town. What “truth” did Ms. Murphy mean? Was it the truth surrounding Select Board member Chris Haley’s false accusations against a fellow Select Board member, when, only shortly after the February 17 Select Board meeting concluded, Mr. Haley texted Ms. McCarthy and wrote, “Hi Jackie, I want to apologize if I flew too close to the sun earlier today. It was the heat of the moment and I could have chosen better words…” Is that the truth Ms. Murphy is seeking to understand? It doesn’t appear that Ms. Murphy is ready to leave the drama behind.

Regarding resident taxes, Mr. Vendt asked Tara and Ms. Murphy if they thought a larger split tax rate was in the best interest of Reading. Tara responded by stating that residents are struggling with high taxes. Tara stated that 18 of 23 neighboring communities have a higher commercial tax rate than Reading. They stated that the Select Board should use the tax rate to let everybody’s taxes go up at relatively the same rate. Tara concluded by saying that they “Support continuing a gradual expansion of the tax rate to slow the property tax increases for residents.” Tara appeared to understand the nuances of such an important decision, and appears to understand how rising tax bills affect residents.

In contrast, Ms. Murphy spoke of effects of tax increases on commercial property owners. Ms. Murphy stated, “We really have to see what our businesses can handle… I’m not sure that expanding the split tax rate is the right move at this time.”  Expect your taxes to go up at a greater rate next year if Ms. Murphy is elected. To see what real effect this difference in approach to the split tax rate will have on your wallet, read letters previously published when Ms. Murphy ran for Select Board last year.

Tara is willing and quite able to tackle all the important issues before the town – tax rates, water rates, MBTA communities zoning, building a new school, a decision on a senior/community center. Their experience as an engineer and their experience working on several committees on Town projects will put them in a good place to start working productively on their first day on the Select Board.   

Lastly, Tara has impressed me throughout their campaign as a person who is willing to put their authentic self out there, with their aspirations, goals, and struggles. I admire their honesty, and trust that Tara will listen to residents and work in the best interest of all. To learn more about Tara’s platform, go to their website To see fun videos Tara made with former Select Board member Anne Landry, go to

Please join me in voting for Tara Gregory on Tuesday. 


Angela Binda
Orchard Park Drive

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