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24-year-old takes out papers for School Committee

Gregory Brogan, Arlington School Committee

Gregory D. BroganBroganWho's thinking about the town election next April? Gregory D. Brogan of 59 Melrose St. is.

The 24-year-old intern in the State House office of state Rep. Sean Garballey has become the first potential candidate, as he has taken out papers to run for School Committee.

Two seats are to be contested, those of Cindy Starks, the current committee chair, and Jeffrey Thielman. Both say they plan to seek reelection.

Brogan, who has also taken out papers to run for Town Meeting in Precinct 4, got his School Committee nominating papers on Oct. 17. That's early in the game, but not as early as Stephen Gilligan, who took out papers to be town treasurer in last spring's election the previous August.

Asked why he wants to run, Brogan wrote in an email Friday, Nov. 11: "I feel I will bring a unique and authentic point of view to the committee."

A recent Arlington High School graduate, he completed this year his bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

He wrote that at first, like many fellow in his major, he wanted to work in Washington, D.C., or perhaps volunteer for a national campaign.

"But the world, the economy and our even our own community have all become a vastly different place in the past few years," he wrote, "and recent events have forced me, like so many others, to refocus my energy and reprioritize my goals. And I feel we have no greater asset than the neighborhoods we live in and the schools that will serve the youth of Arlington -- the future of our town and our world."

He wrote that has a desire to use his education to work in service to the public, and he hopes to bring the energy and fresh thinking of a recent college graduate to local government.

Asked what specific educational issue has drawn him, he wrote Saturday, Nov. 12:

"Something that I am interested in is the soundness of the School Committee's spending in this time of economic hardship. When revenues fall, as they have since our national and global recession began a few years ago, difficult decisions must be made to ensure our schools' long-term viability.

"The budget shortfall in fiscal year 2010 made apparent some faults with the School Committee's spending practices, such as a dependence on funds from outside the Town of Arlington appropriation and the lack of a robust revenue reserve to guard against the emergence of unforeseen costs."

Garballey, an Arlington Democrat, was elected to the School Committee in 2005 and was elected state representative in 2008.

Thielman was elected to the committee in 2003, and Starks was elected in 2009.

Those who take out nominating papers must get the signatures of 50 registered voters. Once the signatures are certified, in February, the person officially becomes a candidate. Once potential candidates take out papers, the unofficial campaign has begins, but most don't become active until after Jan. 1.

Those on the Board of Selectmen whose seats are contested are Clarissa Rowe, the current chair, and Annie LaCourt, who is serving a one-year term and has previously said she would not run.

This story was first published Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011.

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