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Don't be 'shy' to run for office

With papers now available, candidates wanted on local ballot

Voters are seen checking in at a polling place during the Jan. 19 special senatorial election. Southbridge residents are urged to place their name on the ballot in the June 29 town election. Nomination papers became available this week. File photo/Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
January 25, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — With a surprisingly contentious Senate election just over, local politics is switching gears to focus on the June 29 annual election.

Papers for town offices became available this week featuring three seats on the Town Council, two on School Committee, and one each on the Board of Assessors, Housing Authority, Redevelopment Authority and Bay Path Voke School Committee. Aspiring candidates need to return their petitions with 50 signatures by May 11.

"You definitely need thick skin to run for office," said Town Clerk Madaline Daoust, who has seen both an easy, unopposed race (in 2006) and a heated one (last year). "To be a good candidate, your heart and soul is for Southbridge. We definitely need that at this economic time."

Southbridge High School History teacher John McHugh agreed. Despite some of the assertions that sometimes fly around town, he said he feels local government "is responsive."

"For what it's worth, Southbridge is pretty good," he said. "You've got well-meaning people here [in office] with few if any hidden agendas. It's all out in the open."

To him, there's one key quality anyone considering running must have — "Honesty."

"You have to be honest about what you know and don't know, and [have] a good work ethic to find out about the stuff you don't know that affects the community," McHugh said. "… [People have the] impression that what happens locally doesn't affect them, but the reverse couldn't be more true. The president could be anyone, but all the money is spent at the local level."

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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