The candidates for Foxboro selectman at candidates night, 2013
The candidates for Foxboro selectman at candidates night, 2013

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2012

As a Foxboro Jaycee, I was so honored to be the moderator for candidates night — yes, I was nervous but my main goal (beyond not passing out) was too ensure that things ran smoothly, ensure the candidates were all treated fairly, got their say, and that the information got out.

It was a welcome opportunity to “step out of my comfort zone” and be in front of the camera instead of my usual filming behind the camera. That we have Foxboro Cable Access to provide this great studio and outstanding team is a blessing for the town.

For me, I hadn’t expected the amount of research and prep involved, but I learned a lot, and got to meet some candidates I didn’t know, and the experience, for me at least, was completely positive. I would happily do it again.

As a contributor to the Foxboro Reporter (a privilege I cherish) this space is neither a “Jaycee” column nor is an op/ed column the place for an endorsement (that must be done as a letter to the editor). Given that I moderated candidate’s night, even a letter to the editor this year endorsing a specific candidate would be inappropriate.

Of course, private citizen Bob has his own choices, but I found a way to make an endorsement/offer of support here without violating any rules.

My friends, I encourage you to support all the candidates. In this context, “support” doesn’t mean endorse/cast your vote for that person; it means “support” them because they each have the guts to stand up and run for office in this town. By all means laud and praise YOUR candidate but don’t bash the other folks. You can speak of the strengths of your candidate — and encourage others to vote for your candidate — without bashing. Let’s keep it civil this year.

This isn’t Obama/Romney — what I found the other night is a lot of different personalities but a group of decent people, each who want what’s best for the town. It takes courage; it takes true dedication, a love for the town, and no small amount of sacrifice. Not everyone will agree, and personality conflicts are inevitable, but each candidate is stepping up, making the sacrifice, and trying to make a difference.

School board, Selectman candidates, all the others — I don’t know how you do it. You deal with so much. From the experienced to the new folks, you have my great respect. In my view, all of you are winners.

Now, let’s address all the registered voters in Foxboro: Do your part and get out on Election Day and VOTE. There are so many stories of people in other countries, holding up that finger with the purple ink, showing how proud they are that they VOTED — what an honor! What a privilege! Here in America, so many don’t even bother to vote. That is so very sad.

In our town, historically, unless there are REALLY hot-button issues like the dog park or casino/resort, voter turnout is typically low. Let’s change that.

Without getting too preachy, I submit the following:

  • Your vote counts. Especially in a small town like this, some elections have been won by a small number of votes.
  • You ability to vote in this country is sacred. So many people across the world cannot vote. Do not take this privilege for granted. People have died and fought so that Americans — all Americans — can vote.
  • Make the time to vote on April 30.No excuses.
  • For the unopposed candidates, cast the vote for them anyway — don’t leave it blank because no one else is running — it’s a nice way of supporting the unopposed candidates.
  • If you are able, come to town meetings. Decisions are made by those who show up.

Most citizens cannot make the sacrifice of running for, and serving in, town office.

But each of us CAN make a difference by supporting our candidates, not bashing the others, and voting.

My friends, end of speech. The rest, as always, is up to you. This is your town. Be involved, be informed, think about what is important to you and the town, make your choices, and VOTE.

See you at the polls on April 30! And to all candidates, God bless, and good luck!

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