Since coming on board here at 97.9 WHAV, I have written articles on elections in the neighboring communities of Plaistow and Groveland, and recently looked over the North Andover ballot from their recent town election.
Since last November’s presidential election, a number of community leaders and non-profits have encouraged individuals to seek out public office. Running for public office at the state and federal level is obviously a financial, emotional and time consuming commitment many of us are unable to undertake. But running for an elected town and county office can be undertaken for short money.
And, if even that can be an insurmountable obstacle for you, many boards and commissions in towns and cities across the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire are constantly seeking individuals to volunteer their time. The list below appears on the Town of Groveland webpage:
- Affordable Housing Committee
- Board of Registrars
- Cable TV Advisory Board
- Capital Improvement Commission
- Conservation Commission
- Council on Aging
- Historical Commission
- Zoning Board of Appeals
And, this—believe or not—is not the entire list of volunteer opportunities on the webpage. I am sure there are issues these boards take on and subsequently make decisions and recommendations about that directly affect the members of those boards, and the residents they represent. For those of us that throw up our hands in frustration in reaction to town policy decisions, these are the places where ordinary citizens can bring about change. Every one of us is impacted by cable TV costs, and right there in the midst of this list is a chance to influence that very problem.
When it comes to local elections, it only takes a handful of signatures from voters in many of our small communities to get your name on a ballot for town elected office. The need is there. In the recent Plaistow town election, FIVE office holders ran unopposed, while one candidate ran for THREE posts in the town election and one post on the Timberlane Regional School District ballot.
In the recently held North Andover town election, TWO of the four posts on the ballot had candidates who ran UNOPPOSED.
So, if you feel your voice is not being heard, if politicians don’t seem to be paying attention, perhaps it’s time to get off the sidelines, roll up your sleeves and jump into the places where you really might be able to make a difference.