Editor’s note: Under the Framingham Source election policy, each candidate can submit an election announcement. Gwendolyn Holbrow is running for Selectmen. She is one of four women running for two seats on April 4. Below is her statement, as submitted. Holbrow did not submit a photo.
For me, as for many progressives, the recent presidential election has been a wakeup call. We must stand up for our core values of human rights, civil rights, and equal justice for all. If elected to the Framingham Board of Selectmen, I will add a progressive voice at the municipal level.
Our town has made some serious missteps in recent years, including civil rights abuse cases that have resulted in the payment of millions of dollars in settlements and legal expenses. We have a moral and legal duty to respect each other’s rights, and a fiscal duty to see that taxpayer money is spent carefully for the maximum benefit of our community. With more progressive leadership, these abuses and expenses might have been avoided.
Fortunately, there is also a lot of good news! Thanks to the foresight and advocacy of our local government planners, businesses, and nonprofits, and a renewed societal preference for car-free city living, downtown Framingham is poised to fulfill its potential as a vibrant urban center. Exciting new developments are moving forward, rehabilitating blight and expanding our tax base. I applaud all the hard work that is bringing these projects to fruition.
We also face the exciting possibility of changing our form of government from town to city. On April 4, we will vote on a new city charter. Becoming a city could make our government more accountable, and I believe it is in the best interests of Framingham residents. However, the current version of the charter limits citizen input severely and centralizes power in the hands of one individual, the Mayor. I would like to see a stronger City Council as a check on mayoral power.
Furthermore, the Charter Commission has been funded primarily by donations from real estate developers. We must ensure that the coming changes benefit the entire community, not just a few insiders. A vibrant downtown must offer public access to community spaces, and a supply of safe attractive housing that is affordable to middle class and low income households. In order to support the small businesses and creative endeavors so vital to a lively cultural scene, we need affordable commercial space as well.
I am also firmly committed to holding tax rates down, and seeing that our funds are spent prudently and fairly. Watching the asphalt shingles on the Goodnow Pumping Station be replaced with slate and copper has been another motivation to run for Selectman. Cleaning up hazardous environmental conditions and adequately funding our schools are higher priorities for me than having an elegant roof on a pumping station.
If you are ready to take action to build a better world, I ask for your vote. Let’s make Framingham a hometown we can be proud of, and a community that serves all its citizens well.