Campaign kickoff set for Sunday, Feb. 16, from 3 to 5 p.m. at 135 Jason St.
UPDATED, Jan. 29: Juliana H. Brazile, among potential candidates for town clerk, is straightforward. Asked why she is running, she responded: “I want to build a more responsive clerk’s office.”
And she offers examples: “I have talked to residents who would like dog licensing to be online. Other residents want to easily contact Town Meeting members, and I’d love to work on improvements like that. The clerk should always be listening to what people are looking for and finding ways to meet those needs.”
As of Jan. 19, three aim to be candidates for the three-year seat held since 2011 by Stephanie Lucarelli, who has been on leave since August. The other two are Janice A. Weber, 29 Crescent Hill Ave., a longtime employee in the clerk's office, and Patti J. Sawtelle, 115 College Ave., who has been profiled here >>
Here are Brazile's responses to basic questions sent to all potential candidates. They are edited:
Q: What specific qualifications do you have that support your candidacy?
I have been leading community organizations in Arlington since I moved here in 1991. I have worked with members of the Select Board, School Committee, Finance Committee and our state representatives on many committees and projects to develop ideas and execute them.
I cochaired the Recycling Committee from 2009 to 2016, and in 2014, I was elected leader of Envision Arlington [then called Vision 2020], which is a great example of what I would bring to this job.
For Envision Arlington to succeed in its mission to identify problems and solutions, I must engage with town leaders, collaborate with the leadership teams of multiple committees and support residents who want to tackle new problems. I know how to work with town staff and volunteers to bring about change.
We run the annual town survey, which is a powerful tool for public engagement. To improve it, I recruited volunteers with professional survey-writing experience and held many hours of discussion with volunteer committees and town departments to understand the information they needed. This work has given me a knowledge of what Arlingtonians want and the experience within town government to make it happen.
Professionally, I’ve worked as a paralegal, managed National Association of Securities Dealers requirements and licensing for insurance agencies, worked in public relations and managed the office in a local church. I understand how to efficiently and effectively move paperwork through a process, design processes to handle it and the importance of keeping the personal touch with everyone an office serves.
Q: What are the key issues you see facing the town clerk?
The clerk’s office needs to provide reliable and timely communication both with residents and with the state. Arlington can do better than it has. When residents visit the clerk’s office or website, the information they are looking for should be accurate and easy to find. In an Information Age, citizens should be able to manage their requests online.
The clerk’s office needs to work with others in Town Hall to make sure information about elections and candidates is widely known. In addition, Arlington’s records need to be digitized and preserved before the oldest records begin to deteriorate.
Q: How would you address them?
I want to modernize the office. We need to continue to upgrade and integrate existing technology. Town Hall in general is moving away from paper, and I fully support those efforts. The clerk’s office must improve the accuracy of forms and links that are posted on its website.
As clerk, I would work with other departments to provide residents with information about candidates and finally address some issues that have been brought up in surveys and forums in recent years. The clerk’s office can be at the forefront of the effort to keep Arlington’s citizens informed and involved.
I commit to working with the Election Modernization Committee as it develops recommendations. State and federal laws control many details around elections that Arlington’s town clerk can’t change, but providing accurate information and taking the time to understand the complaints when residents express their frustrations is critical to building confidence in the clerk’s office. I would be sure that office staff and election officials get the training they need to address questions from voters. No eligible voter should be turned away from the polls.
Q: What personal background can you provide?
My husband and I moved to Arlington 29 years ago. Our son and daughter attended public school here and graduated from Arlington High School.
I’ve been a Town Meeting member representing Precinct 12 since 2014.
For a list of major offices on the ballot, expiring Town Meeting member seats, the 2020 annual town election calendar and other election information, visit arlingtonma.gov/elections.
This news summary was published Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, and updated Jan. 29, to add the kickoff. All potential candidates in the April election have been asked a similar set of questions. All edited responses will be published.
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