FRAMINGHAM – In 2014, I was given the wonderful opportunity to serve on the Community Development Committee by the then Board of Selectmen.
Having served as the Student Representative on the School Committee, I wanted so badly to become more involved in our local government. That is when I discovered that the Community Development Committee had vacancies and the Selectmen were seeking applicants.
This Committee provides our great community’s non-profits a stream of funds that allow them to do life-changing work in this community, and I was captivated by the work of these organizations and the Committee. I vividly remember researching if it was legal for me to serve on such a committee, as I was only 15 at the time of my appointment.
From that day on, I have served proudly and have had the amazing opportunity to hear from so many awe-inspiring organizations that make this community what it is. Each year, I look forward to receiving the many incredible, creative, and impactful proposals we receive from local organizations seeking to provide critical support to our city.
Unfortunately, I was not reappointed to serve another term. Having served on this Committee for over 6 years, being appointed and reappointed by the Board of Selectmen and Mayor Spicer, this news came as a surprise.
I believe it is important for these local governing Committee’s to reflect who we are as a community, and that is why I am proud to be a young, gay, student voice on a Committee where I have long been the youngest member.
In recent days, I have seen speculation online that my non-reappointment was made as a result of my politics. However, I believe this is the wrong conclusion.
Mayor Spicer has appointed me to this Committee before, as well as to her 2030 Youth Advisory Council. While political disagreements surely exist, I have been grateful for the Mayor’s appointment to both of these bodies in the past, and continue to work collaboratively
with her through the 2030 Council.
In 2018, I received a letter from the Mayor congratulating me on my appointment to the Community Development Committee, adding “My confidence in your appointment reflects your ability, skill, and judgment.”
Over the two years since receiving that letter, I have gained more experience, improved my relevant skills, and have continued to bring an important perspective to the Committee.
Since first being appointed, I have served on multiple granting-giving boards allocating over $5 million, and received a Bachelor’s in Political Science as well as a Master’s of Public Policy.
During the last application cycle for the Community Development Block Grant, the Mayor’s office submitted a request to our Committee for $15,000.
This request was denied this past cycle as it was the lowest-scoring application on our allocation rubric, and we felt the creation and funding of new positions within the Mayor’s office should be left for the city’s budgeting process.
Instead, we chose to fund non-profit programs like Adult ESL+, Literacy Unlimited, Hoops & Homework, and many other local organizations who rely on this funding to continue and expand their services and programs throughout the community.
My vocal opposition to this proposal, not my political beliefs, is what I believe the root cause of my non-reappointment is, and something that I hope the City Council considers when reviewing the Mayor’s appointment decisions.
I stand by my decisions, but am disappointed that this is a result.
I wish the rest of the Committee and the organizations we serve all the best as they go forward and I will continue to seek out opportunities to support our community and remain involved.