A message from Evan:
In Amherst's first-ever elections for Town Council you will see many familiar names on the ballot. Mine likely will not be one of them. This is my first run for elected office. And since many of you likely don't know me yet, I wanted to take a moment to share with you why I'm running and what I believe.
I've lived in Amherst since 2011, and in that time I've seen what it has to offer: A town center with local stores and restaurants that has retained its historic New England charm; ample outdoor and recreational opportunities; schools with committed faculty and staff and innovative programs; cultural festivals, farmer's markets, and community events; a community that bands together to fundraise for schools and charities; and a politically active citizenry that's willing to speak up for its ideals. It is clear why people would choose Amherst.
But I've also seen its challenges. As a renter, I've grappled with Amherst's tight real estate market, where rental costs are high and rising, and low to moderate-income residents are often pushed out of town. I've talked to long-time residents who have watched owner-occupied homes in their neighborhood converted into rental units, and worry about the loss of community as their neighborhood becomes more transient. I've talked to parents who are concerned about how inadequate school buildings impact their children's learning. I've talked to college students who feel unwlecome in the town. I've watched a number of stores and restaurants in Amherst Center open and then close, and have talked to business owners about the obstacles in starting and operating a small business in Amherst. I've talked to residents who watch new development with mixed emotions, welcoming new investment, but wary of how it may alter the character of the town they fell in love with. Amherst has its challenges.
I'm running to find solutions. I believe that local government can and should do more that just providing basic municipal services. It can work to solve problems, push the town forward, and improve the quality of life for all residents. That is my objective in serving on Town Council. And I believe councilors can accomplish this if they work together, build a government that is open and transparent, are willing to explore innovative proposals, and reach out to the public for their input.
I believe that we should be guided by our ideals, but grounded in our realities. We should hold a vision of the town we want and actively work towards it. But we should understand that big changes don't always happen all at once, and incremental progress is still progress. Amherst's town councilors should have the conviction to stand behind their vision, but be willing to compromise if it moves Amherst forward. We should never let perfect be the enemy of good.
I'm running to represent District 4 on Amherst's inaugural Town Council to move the town forward. I won't have the solution to every problem or the answer to every question. But I am committed to hearing from the experts, the stakeholders, and the public to work together to make Amherst a better place for all its residents. If you want more information about me or my priorities for the Council they can be found on this website. And if you're on board then sign up to volunteer or donate to help me reach the voters of District 4.