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Lovejoy announces candidacy

~ Submitted by John Lovejoy, candidate for Wilbraham Moderator

The first Annual Meeting of the 4th precinct of Springfield, called the Outward Common, was held on March 25, 1741 at the house of Isaac Brewer at one in the afternoon. The first article of business was to choose a Moderator. Daniel Warner, the third person to move here in 1733, became the first Precinct Moderator. When the precinct grew large enough and became the incorporated town of Wilbraham on August 25, 1763, Lt. Thomas Merrick was elected the first Town Moderator.

Wilbraham has been electing Moderators to preside over and regulate the proceedings of its meetings for 265 years. Town Meeting, the fountain of democracy, is alive and well today in Wilbraham. Sometimes cumbersome, at time tedious, rarely disruptive, always informative, it is a place where all town residents are welcome and free to voice their views, to debate, to vote. Bedrock democracy in action. New England's gift to the world.

Each town's Town Meeting is different, has its own pace, has its own character. Wilbraham has been fortunate for the last 15 years to have had a firm, fair and knowledgeable Moderator who has overseen the business of the town, and in an orderly way has moved that business forward at the pleasure of the Meeting with both positive and negative votes. I pledge to continue the traditions of our past Moderators and, in particular, those of our most recent Moderator, Arthur Dionne.

I began attending Town Meetings in Wilbraham in the early 1950s in the town's new auditorium at The Memorial School, then a junior high. Since the late 1960s there have been very few Annual or Special Town Meetings from which I have been absent. With few exceptions I have always voted in the town elections.

Virtually all material from the Massachusetts Moderators Association stresses the importance of knowing about, being familiar with town issues and local Town Meetings as a key to being a good Moderator. Over the years I have participated in many Town Meetings: as a resident, a taxpayer, a Selectman, a proponent, as a spokesman and as a Moderator's teller. I have drafted Articles and Motions for Town Meetings, entered petitioned Articles and assisted others in writing petitioned Articles. For years now I have observed town issues ebb and flow on the floor of Town Meetings as the town sought answers, solutions to our town's varied situations. I am familiar with the variety of conditions under which Town Meetings have been held over the years, the procedures, the methods, the parliamentary rules. I am familiar with both the players and the issues.

Fairness and impartiality are at the core of being a good Moderator. Fairness and impartiality to the Selectmen who have spent months putting together the Articles to represent the business of the town for the coming year. Fairness and impartiality to all the other town officials who have submitted Articles for the meeting. Fairness and impartiality especially to those taxpayers who have submitted their own Petitioned Articles. However, first and foremost, fairness and impartiality to all those folks, the homeowners, the taxpayers of Wilbraham who have come to the Town Meetings to understand, to seek clarification and to make their own recommendations and, in a very real sense, to receive satisfaction.

I pledged to our town a fair and impartial Moderator. I ask for your support in our Town Election on May 20.



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