TOWNSEND -- Since Ron Dionne moved to Townsend three years ago, he's attended many Board of Selectmen's meetings. The ones he hasn't been to, he says he has watched on television.
Now that there is a vacancy on that board, Dionne said he believes the time is right for him to offer his services.
Dionne pulled nomination papers Jan. 9 to fill the spot left by Robert Plamondon, who resigned in November after selling his house and moving out of state.
"I would like to assist your current selectmen in many issues that will be coming up in the near future and to attempt to regain the trust of the 6,000 registered voters and ask that the voters return to the Town Meetings to voice your concerns," Dionne said.
Dionne has served on the Board of Water Commissioners and the Housing Authority in Townsend, and before that worked in a number of industries, from retail to truck driving.
Before moving to Townsend, Dionne lived in Fitchburg, where he ran for Mayor and City Council. He did not win either election.
Dionne said he tried to involve himself in local politics last year, when an override vote to increase the North Middlesex school system budget was before town voters.
Although it passed in Ashby and Pepperell, and therefore passed overall, the override was shot down in the Townsend election, which Dionne attributes partly to his activism.
"People didn't know me at all, so I made it a point to go out there and let them know what I knew and make them aware of how things should be run," Dionne said.
Overall, Dionne said he hopes to address a lack of transparency, which he thinks keeps voters from fully understanding the issues before them.
"I hate people being misled by people in official positions who are supposed to be telling people what they should know," he said.
His goal is always to help the average Townsend voter understand what they are voting on, he said.
"I try to help the taxpayers as much as I can," he said.
Dionne's other goal is to increase attendance and participation at town meetings and elections.
"My main objective is to get people back to the Board of Selectmen meetings and back to town votes. When only 100 people show up at the Town Meeting to make a major decision, that bothers me. We need to get people back to the voting booth," Dionne said.
He said he would do this primarily through word of mouth to start.
Dionne also said he would like to form a committee to help the highway department decide which roads need to be passed.
With officials concerned over a lack of state funding for road repair and deteriorating roads, Dionne said that simply patching small sections of road that are in the worst condition, rather than entire stretches of road, would be more cost effective and help fix the worst of the problem.
"I think it's within their budget to do it on their own," Dionne said.
His biggest asset, he said, is his common sense.
In reference to the proposed new fire station headquarters, Dionne said that he thought other solutions could be found to modify the town's existing fire stations.
"It just takes a little bit of thinking," he said.
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