North Reading Selectman Candidate Profile: Maureen Harty-Vacca

Maureen served on the Finance Committee for five years and the School Committee for 15 years.

This is the last in a series of articles profiling the  for North Reading .

Maureen Harty-Vacca is a registered lobbyist and works with state legislators daily.

"I do research and educate legislators and committees who can't possibly do all the in-depth research on every piece of legislation filed. I have many contacts at the State House and enjoy the opportunity to help develop public policy and set budgetary priorities," Harty-Vacca said.

She was on the North Reading School Committee for 15 years and on the Finance Committee for five, three of which she served as chairman. While on the School Committee, she was on several subcommittees, including contract negotiations, finance planning committee and the athletic subcommittee. She was also chairman of the Elementary School Building Committee during the Project, which was completed on-time and on-budget, she stated.

"Recently, I was awarded a Lifetime membership with the Massachusetts School Committee Association. I continue to work with the association lobbying on school issues both on the state and national levels," Harty-Vacca said. 

During her spare time for the last two years she worked with former Superintendent Dr. Troughton and Town Moderator John Murphy to form a nonprofit organization, the North Reading Education Foundation. 

She decided to run for the Board of Selectmen because she truly enjoys serving her town, she said.

"The biggest challenge in the foreseeable future is to find ways to preserve services for all residents, without raising taxes. The voters approved a new high school/middle school project which is admirable, but many families will experience financial hardship in order to pay the additional taxes," she said.

"The financing is spread out over 25 years, and we must minimize the tax burden to residents during those years. This will not be easy, but it can be done with strong leadership."

If elected, she plans to work with board and committee members on the town's budget priorities, invest time in the water capital plan and stimulate economic growth in town.

She believes she would be a good fit for the board because she is an effective team player, can make tough decisions under pressure, possesses leadership skills and extensive knowledge of town finances, and has successfully bargained union contracts, she said.

"If elected, I will serve in an open and constructive way. I will respect everyone's opinion whether I agree or not," Harty-Vacca said.

She hopes that residents will remember her years of service and the positive role she played as a leader in the community when it is time to vote, she told Patch.

Janine Largent May 14, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Janine Largent May 14, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Barry, when people don't have anything substantive to add to an argument they look for a sarcastic comment or call people bigots. It is easy not to make typo's if you have nothing to say.
Mr White May 14, 2012 at 01:15 PM
@ Joe Veno, Just curious, what proof can you offer on this blog that you are actually the/a Joe Veno as your screen name implies? You huff & puff every day about "full names", "last names", "Patch rules" etc. I think you do this just to get to see your "name" online. You really need to get over yourself, whoever you may really be. For all we know you may even be a woman.
Dave Miskinis May 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Joe, with all due respect, you referred to them as cowards. I call that disrespectful. "To all you cowards that hide behind a first name or or a word." Get a grip.
Joe Veno May 14, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Mr. White ( Who ever you are) I would expect a question like that from someone who is afraid to be held acountable for what they say on these pages.
Joe Veno May 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Dave, I understad how you feel about my comment. But that is how i feel about the issue. Sorry if it offends you but i am not sorry if it offends them. Look at the most recent post from so called Mr White.
Ed Canney May 14, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Joe, I think we're dealing w/an immature bunch here. Remember when we thought were the smartest people in the room?
Ed Canney May 14, 2012 at 03:55 PM
To "Hello"..I'm glad we could come to an agreement on the issue." I don't think we did. Your position is that we should have Selectman that are tolerant w/respect to LGBT rights. But that question was not asked of any candidate in the recent election. You don't know what the elected Selectman...specifically Mr. Foti or Mr. O'Leary's position on LGBT rights are? Only Ms Vacca was publically questioned about this issue in this blog. That's where the fairness... that Mr. Veno, Ms. Largent and I are debating. To make a possible link, that a particular candidate is " homophobic", when the issue is not proposed to the entire field of candidates for that position is quite unfair.
Janine Largent May 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Well said Ed.
Barry May 14, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Ed, that's only because Ms. Vacca stated above how her experience as a lobbyist and the opportunity she had to "help develop public policy and set budgetary priorities" made her qualified to be a selectman. It was therefore appropriate to examine the public policy that she was trying to help develop. In fact, the hateful views of the ONE organization for which she lobbied disqualified her. And she lost. And it's time to move onto other things now.
Ed Canney May 14, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Ms. Vacca was not "disqualified" from anything. She lost an election. Again your interpretation fails the argument.
Janine Largent May 14, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Barry, calling people bigots, hateful and homophobic has apparently worked so well for you that you haven't bothered to develop an argument or, for that matter, a subject. Because of that your single minded agenda has lead you to believe the election was soley about the one and only subject that apparently matters to you and even with that subject you haven't been able to offer one shred of evidence toward your accusations. A difference of opinion does not make one a bigot. Mrs. Vacca explained her stance on the subjects you seem to bloviate about. I am quite comfortable with her stance. Apparently 783 other people were to.
Joe Veno May 14, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Well said Janine.
Joe Veno May 14, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Good point Ed.
Hello May 14, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I'm in total agreement that we don't have the other candidates' opinions on the issue, it's a fact I don't argue with. By bringing up her involvement in the lobbying for limited transgender rights, though, Ms. Vacca opened the door for debate on her stance on the issue. For the validity of the accusation of her being homophobic, the other candidates have no relevance. They could just as well be homophobic, they could just as well not be, but by lobbying for a law that would disallow transgender individuals to become teachers Ms. Vacca is homophobic regardless of the opinions of the other candidates. Obviously it’s just my opinion that lobbying for something like that makes her homophobic – an opinion I do hold strongly. Honestly, I wish there were selectman debates of some kind. It's difficult to make an informed decision about who you're going to support for selectmen based on articles written and campaigning done by the candidates and their supporters. Then again, if there were debates, the likelihood of national issues being brought up would be very little, which I think is unfortunate. In order for things like debating a candidate's political stance without questioning the others about the issue to not happen again, I think it's a great idea for debates of some kind to start happening in the next...
Hello May 14, 2012 at 09:55 PM
A difference of opinion does not make one a bigot, until someone loses their rights. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye, Ms. Largent.
Hello May 14, 2012 at 09:58 PM
One last thing Ed, by coming to an agreement I just meant you agreeing that transgendered individuals shouldn't lose the right to teach. '"Hello", I agree w/your arguments. In Massachusetts we have addressed these issues you cite. I have friends,relatives and acquaintances that are gay and lesbian. What positions they hold in the schools is no one's business. I would hope there is no sex-orientation litmus test to teach! It would certainly be a violation of their rights and violate the Massachusetts Constitution as well as The U.S. Constitution." Genuinely sorry if I misunderstood and you don't agree with that point.
Hello May 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM
...elections. Obviously topics like LGBT rights wouldn't have to be brought up, but it would still be great to understand the local things candidates agree/disagree on and the ideas they have for the town.
Barry May 14, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Janine, their actions and words speak for themselves. On the MFI website, they admit that they oppose "any efforts ... to normalize homosexual behavior" . They "encourage the healing of individuals who wish to change their choice of lifestyle through the work of Exodus International, Love Won Out and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays". In other words, they want to impose their narrow-minded, bigoted view of what is "normal" on others. That is hateful. If you can't see that, then you are to be pitied.
Barry May 14, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Joe, did you ever think that perhaps there's a reason that you came in dead last in the elections for Selectman in 2011 and 2010?
Joe Veno May 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Barry (Who ever you are) Yes I know the reason I was not elected. Let me help you out with this. I got the least number of votes DAHHHHH, You understand now? A person like you could not run for office because you could not hide who you are and would have to answer for your foolish comments. Also I do not intend to debate with a no name on these pages.
Joe Veno May 14, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Barry (who ever you are) Do you realize that one of the elections there was only two people running? That makes your comment that I came in "dead last" sound real stupid now doesent it? You may not think so but it does.
Janine Largent May 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Barry, It would seem to me that I could respect your constitutional rights without thinking your behavior is "normal". Or even liking you for that matter.
Janine Largent May 14, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Hello, I would like to give you the opportunity to explain your comment "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye". It sounds like a threat to me. P.S. Neither you not Barry have even once offerered one substantive point to support your tirade. Neither have you answered a single question I posed. Cat got your tongue?
Hello May 14, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I was in no way making a threat, Ms. Largent. In all seriousness I apologize if it sounded that way. I'm on this site to debate and contribute with as much civility as possible; I would never intentionally make a threat. I was responding to a sentence in your reply to Barry, "A difference of opinion does not make one a bigot.” I disagree with that when you’re talking about equality. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye” is a saying. In the comment, I said, “A difference of opinion does not make one a bigot, until someone loses their rights” and compared that sentence to the saying I just spoke of. I was using it as a metaphor – “fun and games” being debate and difference in opinion about equal rights, and “someone loses an eye” being people losing rights, in this case, potentially losing the right to pursue the profession of your choice. Again, it wasn’t a threat. I am truly sorry if I offended you. I would appreciate a response to the comment now that you know it’s not a threat, though. In response to the PS. This is absolutely not a tirade. I'd appreciate it if we treated it more like a friendly debate, which is what I'd really like it to be. Even though I know I'll get grief for sounding like a kid when I say this, can we attempt to keep this about an issue we disagree on and not jab each other with insults?
Janine Largent May 15, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Barry and Hello, Should bathrooms be coed? In order to accomodate the minority of transgenders we would have to make ALL locker rooms and bathrooms coed. Wouldn't we? Seriously, how do we regulate such a thing? Or, do you think we shouldn't regulate it? Help us out here. I do support your civil rights but, does anyone else have any?
Ed Canney May 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Interesting point Janine. The regulatory body for that issue is the State Plumbing Board. Restrooms must be designated...men's & women's each w/handicap provisions. There is a "co-ed" provision(uni-sex handicap), and designed for disabled who need assistance. The Plumbing Board is very strict, as any one who has dealt w/them may know. It would be interesting how they would deal w/this issue. When it comes to Building or Plumbing codes, even the Legislature has limited authority to the regulatory mandates of these boards.
JIM May 15, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Oh, Sorry Joe, Do You respect cowards?
JIM May 15, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Yes, But do You respect Mr White?
Mr White May 15, 2012 at 05:39 PM
@Joe Veno, I'm just demonstrating the absurdity of your constant attempt to police the Patch sites. No one really knows who is who on these types of sites and if you think otherwise, you're a fool.


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