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Letter: Open House for Prospective Town Meeting Members

By Alan Foulds.

So - You think you might like to be a town meeting member? 

On Monday, November 7 at 7:30 the town moderator and town clerk will host a short informational meeting on how, for a very small time commitment and little or no campaigning, you can become a local legislator, giving you a direct say in how your tax dollars are spent and what local bylaws are enacted.  In essence, you can perform the same duties as state legislators do in Boston or your senators in Washington, all for your local community.  The informational meeting will be held a the new RCTV Studios on Main Street.

New England has a unique form of local government that puts lawmaking decisions in the hands of everyday citizens.  The Reading Town Meeting has 192 members divided into eight precincts.  These people get to decide the issues that affect your day-to-day life.

They are not career politicians or people with specialized knowledge.  They are your neighbors and friends.

Here’s your chance to find out what’s involved, what you need to know, the time commitment, (six to ten nights a year) and how to get elected.  There’s no pressure involved at the open house.  There will be a short presentation; parts of a DVD presentation created by the Massachusetts Moderators Association will be shown, and officials will be on hand to answer questions.  If you are so inclined, the town clerk will have nomination papers available that evening so you can begin collecting the ten signatures necessary to put your name on the ballot for the spring election and town meeting.

If you’re not ready to commit yet, come anyway and find out what it’s all about. Then, a week later, you can watch or attend the fall meeting and see how easy and important it is to get involved.

If you have ever considered running, this year presents a unique opportunity.  Because of the recent census the town has been redistricted, mandating that all town meeting positions are available.  This coming year, in each precinct the top 24 vote-getters are elected for the annual meeting this spring. 

If you have questions about the town meeting member open house, or questions about town meeting, email the moderator, Alan Foulds at alanfoulds@verizon.net.

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