Seat: Board of Selectmen – 2 year term
(vote for 1 candidate)
Why I am running for office:
I like people! After a 40 year career as a practicing pediatrician listening to families and dealing with medical as well as societal issues of education, family dynamics, finances and risky behavior, I am eager to apply listening skills with people of my community. And I am proud to say we have a very fine community here in Southborough.
I have resided for the past 23 years in Southborough with my wife, Dr Lynn Eckhert, and our three children. Growing up my children often referred to me as Dr Detail because the facts in each case are important for fair and effective decision making. I expect to do my homework to arrive at reasonable solutions while avoiding costly litigation.
As the Board of Selectmen was expanded to 5 members to hear additional voices, I hope to add a fresh perspective on the basis of a concerned citizen who has served in multiple capacities in town and at the state level as well as nationally and overseas.
Why I am the right candidate for the position:
While serving as Chairman of the Board of Health for most of the past 11 years, we have made significant changes in the operation of this independently elected town board. Post 911, your BOH has gradually expanded our vision from the traditional role of supervising septic systems to greater involvement with local control of infectious diseases, emergency preparedness, and working with other departments in town. For example we expanded the role of public health nursing from 2 hours per week to 15 hours to allow for up to the date computerized tracking of communicable diseases and greater impact on coordinated emergency response in town and in Region 4A. Our Medical Reserve Corps is one outcome of this expanded service. During the transition to improved nursing coverage, I became very attuned to the fiscal constraints in town and yet we were able to maintain our budget within town limits by innovating a “fee for service” approach to the septic system process.
My priorities/Key issues:
1) We are a 10% community. The MA Dept of Revenue has calculated the per capita income in Southborough within the top 10% of 351 of towns and cities. How do our town services measure up to the other 10 % communities? We can establish benchmarks and a dashboard of expectations for our town services. The budget process is critical but so are the outcomes. For example the recent Boston Business Journal ranked our Northborough-Southborough School District as #7 in the entire state. By their metrics our schools provide real value to our residents. (Mach 7, 2014)
2) Shared resources: Actually the problems facing our town are not very different from our neighboring communities. Two years ago your Board of Health hosted a convergence of ten towns to apply for a state grant to expand and improve Public Health services for all. I learned this is a gradual process after we received initial funding but we were unable to agree to convert to the implementation stage. The concept of sharing to expand and improve services is still worth pursuing with public health as well as public safety and other valuable public services. In fact we recently did obtain funding for a 3 year tobacco control project with 9 other communities.
3) Long range decisions: Transportation through town is the “hot button” issue of the day. How do we make decisions? We can start with our 2008 Master Plan to implement our strategic 20 to 30 year roadway planning. We begin by considering BOTH major transportation issues: yes, the congestion along the East-West Route 30 downtown needs resolution but also the poorly accessible North- South corridor needs attention to provide ease of transport between the two halves of our Route 9 divided town. The Master Plan calls for improved sidewalks and bikeways clearly promoted as “Complete Streets.” After the Route 30 discussion, we will still need a plan to provide “complete streets” between our Library/Town Hall/Commons area and the MBTA station. With expected increased development in Hopkinton, the North South split takes on even greater importance.
Veteran Status: Retired after 40 years as an active duty and reservist in the United States Public Health Service with rank of CAPTAIN (06). During this time I worked at numerous Indian Health Service facilities in Oklahoma, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona.
Volunteer for medical support services during Boston Marathon, 2008, 2014.
Overseas experiences include many opportunities to live, travel and work in 40 countries over the past 40 years. I firmly believe a global perspective provides the framework for effective action at the local level.
To contact me to help support my candidacy:
I welcome any inquiries called to my home @ 508-460-6025. Emails may be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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