Candidate Statement: Jane Wellman Miller, Candidate For Board of Selectmen
Mar 11, 2019 03:36PM
● By Bill Gilman
Jane Wellman Miller
I'm Jayne Wellman Miller and I am running for a seat on the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen.
About my experience: As Town Moderator, I strive to treat every voter with fairness and respect and encourage participation in the pure form of democracy that is our open town meeting. In my work on the School Committee, where I served during the recession, I advocated for all children, made the most of every tax dollar entrusted to our schools, and took strategic steps to maximize long-term state aid.
I am passionate about smart growth and protecting our natural resources. My efforts as the Founder of Tewksbury Trail Trails and on the Open Space and Recreation Plan Committee are labors of love, and I am proud that we created trails that connect people of all ages and abilities from one side of town to the other.
I currently work as the Business Administrator for the Town of Reading, a position that yields valuable insights into best practices around administration, data analysis, and contract management as well as innovative ideas to make local government work smarter and harder for residents. I have been president of the Rotary Club, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Cable Advisory Committee, and an active volunteer here in town.
If elected, I will immediately advocate for the creation of a Rental and Redevelopment Board to take a hard look at pending and ongoing projects. I will look for win/win, self-funding public/private partnerships to improve our schools and town without increasing taxes, including partnering with landlords of empty storefronts to launch business incubators and making smart use of our gems of public spaces, like the historic Ella Fleming School.
Ø Meaningful tax relief for seniors. The current property tax work-off program doesn't help enough of our seniors, many of whom are in desperate need of relief. I propose we adopt a policy used successfully in neighboring towns that offers savings to seniors who qualify for the state circuit breaker, have lived in their homes for 10 years, and have no disqualifying assets. Additionally, we can offer an exemption from the CPA surcharge for seniors and veterans in need. Those who have worked so hard for our community should not be left out in the cold.
Ø Housing for veterans. We can provide for those who served our country while bringing Tewksbury closer to the 10 percent affordable housing watermark that will enable Tewksbury to say NO to developments that are a poor fit for our town.
Ø Sustainable growth. With your help, we can make sidewalks a priority by creating a revolving fund and designating to it a percentage of new growth. We can pass common-sense bylaw reforms to rein in projects that clog our roads and schools. We can do more to care for our aging buildings as we work to upgrade and replace.
We also need to bring back our Recreation Department. A generation of Tewksbury kids have missed out, and a well-run, self-funded Rec Department can actually return money to the general fund.
I have a many more ideas; you can find my full platform at www.jaynefortewksbury.com. There you can also find out where I will be around town. I welcome the opportunity to speak with you at a coffee, candidates’ night, neighborhood gathering, or just whenever you see me around town.
On a personal note, I made Tewksbury my home 18 years ago and raised my children here. I have a degree in economics from Tufts with a concentration in state and local public finance. For a decade I was editor and reporter for the Town Crier, working to tell the stories of everyday people going through extraordinary things, explain the intricacies of budgets, and give a voice to our readers by asking the hard questions.
In closing, I am running because I believe in professional management. I believe in leveraging best practices from other communities. I believe we can move our town forward, make strategic financial moves, and reduce the burden on taxpayers — without trading away our town character and resources. I believe in giving residents a voice — a strong voice — in their community. I believe we need to do more to exercise restraint in the growth of our budget. Our citizens rely on us to be responsible stewards of our resources and propose fiscally responsible solutions. I have a track record of standing up for people and fostering collaboration to drive smart, sustainable decisions.
Innovative leadership. Community engagement. Sustainable growth. This is how we work together to form a stronger Tewksbury, one that affords more people the opportunity to love their lives here and force fewer to leave.
None of this is possible without your help. We must work together, raise our voices, lend a hand.
I am Jayne Wellman Miller, and I respectfully ask for your vote on April 6.