Jennifer Susse of 45 Teel St., a retiring member of the School Committee, submitted this letter:

Bill Hayner, School Commitee candidate, 2020Hayner

Lenard Diggins, Select Board candidate, 2020Diggins

Liz Exton, School Committee candidate, 2020 photoExton

When I first heard that Lenard Diggins was running for Select Board, I knew only a few things about him. I knew that he is smart and enthusiastic, that he is well versed in Arlington’s town governance and that people who know him think the world of him. As I’ve come to learn more about Len, my respect for him has deepened.

I’ve learned about the passion and enthusiasm he has brought to many of his ventures — from his high school debate experience, to his early career in biological research, to his volunteer work for ACMi. I’ve also learned that he is spending his spare time reading through the town bylaws … and enjoying doing so! But, most important, I’ve watched him connect with a wide variety of people in town — always in ways that is respectful of their lived experience, even in cases where he disagrees.

Paul Schlichtman, School Commitee candidate, 2020Schlichtman

In many ways, Lenard isn’t a natural politician — he doesn’t like polished stump speeches, occasionally gets tired of “working the room” and fearlessly discusses “sensitive topics.” In other ways, he is naturally political (in the best sense) in that his entire attention is focused on connecting with people, hearing their concerns and looking for solutions. For all these reasons, and many more, I wholeheartedly support Lenard Diggins for Select Board and ask that you give him one of your two votes on Saturday, April 4.

For School Committee, I enthusiastically support Liz Exton and the two members I’ve worked closely with over the past six years, Bill Hayner and Paul Schlichtman. Good ideas are important, but so is temperament. Effective School Committee members listen carefully, work collaboratively, and approach others with an assumption of good will. Liz, Bill and Paul have those qualities in spades. The stakes could not be higher. The School Committee is about to engage in one of its most important missions, choosing a new superintendent. Having a functional School Committee will ensure that Arlington is well positioned to hire the best candidate available.


This letter was published Friday, March 13.