Candidates for the 2012 election each give a four minute introduction, then answer anonymous questions from residents submitted to students. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
February 29, 2012New candidates and incumbents alike gathered at Gilford High School for Candidates Night Tuesday, Feb. 21, sponsored by the Student Council, to introduce themselves to voters and field questions on the issues.
Incumbent Budget Committee members David "Skip" Murphy and Phyllis Corrigan each reminded voters of their long histories on the committee.
Murphy, a 27-year resident of Gilford, said he wanted to seek his third term on the committee, which would make for a nine-year stretch. He told voters that he would stick to his agenda of keeping government spending from raising faster than private income.
"We can do better at a lower cost to taxpayers," said Murphy.
Corrigan, who recalled moving to town in time for the infamous ice storm of 1997, said when she decided to run for the budget committee, it was too late to get her name on the ballot. Corrigan ran a write-in campaign, and won with about 50 votes.
Over her nine years on the committee, Corrigan said she has seen many positive changes to the budget process contributed by Dick Hickok, such as the sub-committee process.
Corrigan stood by her vow to maintain civility in meetings and work together for positive results.
Newcomers to the budget committee race this year include Barbara Aichinger, a resident since 2008 and Governor's Island property owner since 2002, who said she planned to make the local government more efficient by doing more with less money; and Stuart Savage, who is seeking his first public office seat, and said he was no stranger to public service through his volunteer work in the community and his church, and promised to spend tax dollars wisely, as if it were his own money.
Three candidates were not present but sent letters to help introduce themselves to voters. Allen Voivod, who was attending his son's performance at the elementary school, said he moved to Gilford with his family in 2004 from California, and can't believe now that they ever lived anywhere else. Voivod said his background as a banking auditor and financial analyst would be of use on the budget committee and he hoped to support the needs of the people while creating an environment that would encourage businesses and entrepreneurs to locate in Gilford.
J. Scott Davis, a long standing member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and call EMT and Driver for the fire department, promised to serve the town in an objective manner.
Richard "Rags" Grenier, a long-time Lakes Region resident and resident of Gilford since 1970, said he is not a "Yes or No" man, and was not seeking election to serve anyone's cause, but would use good judgment and common sense in his decisions.
Joseph "Joe" Hoffman and JoEllen Space were not present.
Candidates for School Board included incumbent Chair Kurt Webber, Incumbent Sue Allen, appointed member Karin Thurston and Doug Lambert.
Allen, a 32-year resident, hopes to bring her 19-years of experience on school boards at the local, state and national level back for another term. Allen said she is committed to the community and cares deeply for students.
Lambert, who served on the 1997 SAU study and withdrawal committee, the Holy Trinity school board and the Gilford Budget Committee, said he would bring more public accessibility to the school board by changing the public input portion of the meeting.
Lambert is also involved in a legal case against the school board over the hotly disputed Superintendent's position, and said he planned to implement the management structure that many claim was originally agreed upon for the district, which would not include the Superintendent position.
Thurston, a 38-year resident, was appointed mid-term to fill the vacant seat on the board, and stood by her promise to help build a better relationship between the residents and the school board. She thanked Superintendent Kent Hemingway for his support in helping Thurston through the "learning curve" to be an active and participating school board member.
Webber, a resident since 2001 and 23-year Army veteran, said his is a committed Army officer and educator. According to Webber, for the past 11 years, he been a teacher at Lakes Region Community College, and understands the importance of a well-educated population.
Webber said he would continue to work at making cuts in a responsible manner, as school board members have reduced the budget for three of the past four years in the face of increased insurance and fuel costs and decreased state support.
Most questions were aimed at Aichinger and Lambert.
A question on Lambert's legal action against the school board left him unsure, if elected, whether he would be a plaintiff or defendant, but he did say he would rather see the case settled.
A resident posed the question of Aichinger's residency, and how much time she actually spends in Gilford. Aichinger said she is registered as a resident in Gilford, but her husband and daughter are residents of Bedford. Though she did not specify as to how much time she spends in the town, she said she planned to retire in Gilford.