To the editor:
There are approximately 17,000 of us who call Tiverton our home. To maintain that home, we have a Town Charter which ensures we know who is taking care of what, and how that’s being done. Like any good document, it lives and breathes with the will of the people.
Every six years, we invite residents to spearhead its review, ensuring its continued relevance for our town. I’m thrilled to be a candidate for this Charter Review. There’s no higher honor in a democracy, than to serve, whether it is on the soccer field, at the food pantry, in the military, as a first responder, in the PTO, or elected office or commission.
I’ve based my campaign on simple assertions – that we can work together, despite sometimes drastically different ideological positions, that we can be respectful of one another while considering Charter adjustments, and that we can actively listen to one another during this review process.
I’ve read remarks in other candidates’ letters to the editor regarding these assertions, and understand how some may view this as being vague. Despite any candidate’s personal opinions prior to the election, it’s the work the Commission will do together, gathering information and sharing ideas, that shape the recommendations it sends to the Council, then ultimately to you, the voters of Tiverton, in the form of referendum questions in the November 2018 election, which matters.
As such, this Commission has no power to change any policies in the Town Charter. Tiverton voters have that power in the voting booth. Those who assert that taxes will remain under control solely with their election to this non-partisan Commission are misleading voters as to what power this Commission will have, and forgetting that every candidate pays taxes in this town, and desires smart government spending.
Naïve? Perhaps. I’m a rookie in this election, as evidenced by my do-it-yourself yard signs! However, in my humble opinion, you as a voter should be more concerned with my ability to play nice with others, do my homework, and be open to new ideas from all stakeholders, than you are regarding my thoughts about homestead exemptions (sounds good, but let’s research it) or what I think of the FTR (I think it’s better than its predecessor, and if it’s the will of the voters to keep it, let’s add some petitioner accountability).
What I can promise, is that I’m going to ask a lot of questions – of you, of fellow Commission members, and of town employees and elected officials who are bound by the Charter’s contents. I’m going to actively listen. I’ll take notes. I’ll research. I’ll do these things because this is a resident Commission, and I am a resident. I have no political background or expert knowledge; just a desire to learn and serve our town. That’s what you should expect from every candidate. Please feel free to visit my campaign site at www.facebook.com/ksutherlandtiverton, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kimberly (Kim) Sutherland, Tiverton
Candidate for Tiverton Charter Review Commission