[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com.]
To the Editor:
It is with extreme honor and without any hesitation that I write to endorse Representative Carolyn Dykema’s reelection to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives. I base my recommendation on my direct knowledge of Representative Dykema’s tireless efforts on behalf of the Town of Southborough, a Town I have the privilege of sitting on many boards and committees, including as a member of the Board of Selectmen.
Having never personally interacted with state politicians prior to my election to the Board of Selectman, I viewed such politicians with skepticism, believing that their primary interest was personal, with only a secondary, passing obligation to the electorate. My view was immediately dispelled when I first met Representative Dykema. I witnessed how responsive Representative Dykema was to our Town, how genuine and sincere she cared for residents, and how she has always been available to discuss a local issue for as long as necessary. She is a constant supporter of Southborough’s Board of Selectmen, and has advanced Town causes through the Legislature whenever asked. She is a constant at many, many events involving our Town seniors and veterans, causing me to wonder in amazement if her day is longer than 24 hours.
One of the most important qualities of a leader is the ability to listen. This is a quality that is very difficult to learn, but one that is innate to Representative Dykema. When speaking to Representative Dykema her listening is acute, and her willingness to help is evidenced in her person and actions. She understands that leadership is a characteristic that does not necessary flow from a title. Instead it is a title reserved to those who earn it through hard work and commitment. She consistently makes sure issues do not disappear into the administrative equivalent of an astronomical black hole, by resisting the temptation to kick the can down the road. Representative Dykema always follows through on any promise to get back with information, and offers suggestions to make improvements to our town government. If a return phone call is needed, the phone rings; if a meeting is required, her calendar is made available; if her presence is required, her early arrival and late departure is a guarantee.
Being a representative of the people is a very, very difficult job. Anyone who disputes this has not had the privilege of doing so. It is inevitable in that representation that positions taken and votes made will not always be fully representative of the entire electorate, for Utopia does not exist in Southborough or elsewhere. Yet, even when Representative Dykema votes in a way that may not be consistent with a resident’s point of view, she is always available to take the requisite time to listen, understand, and then fully explain why she voted the way she did. She does not portend to sit as a Philosopher King, imposing her own views insulated from the people. On the contrary, she listens, does her homework, understands, builds consensus, acts and then listens some more. No greater testament to an ideal representative can be given.
In this age of party politics one is immediately covered with feathers when “your” party is scoped in the cross-hairs on a sensitive, controversial issue. Such a herd grouping or mentality makes for easy campaign fodder and seems to forever tie you to a platform regardless of your personal commitment. For better or worse, that is the nature of our democracy. And while that may be a legitimate basis for a voter to consider when darkening the circle on the ballot sheet, equally and indeed I would suggest, even more important, is the issue of the candidates true representative actions. For when Representative Dykema is measured by a personal yardstick that includes honesty, integrity, sincerity, reliability, and allegiance, the circle next to her name should be black as a judge’s robe.
Based upon my first-hand personal knowledge of working directly with our State Legislature for the past five years, if the voters in the Eighth Middlesex District want an ally who truly listens to them, a person who understands the consequences of increased taxes, who understands the problems with the reduction in the quantity and quality of municipal services, a person who will take whatever time is needed to be a true representative regardless of the perceived importance of the issue, Representative Dykema should and needs to be sent back to Boston to work for us.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter of endorsement.
[Member, Board of Selectmen]