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Morrison runs for re-election
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Name: Faye L. Morrison

Age: 46

Profession: Cisco Systems Inc.

Relevant experience: Personnel Board, Fourth of July Committee, Community Preservation Act Committee, Joint Boards of Selectmen, Massachusetts Municipal Association Executive Board, Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association Executive Board, Governor’s Commission on Local Government, 16 years experience negotiating contracts and handling arbitrations, Fruitland’s Museum Board.

Education: Graduate Ayer High School, A. Philip Randolph School of Labor Relations.

Ayer resident since: 1972

1. Why are you running for re-election to the Board of Selectmen?

I am asking the citizens of Ayer to return me to the selectman’s table so I can continue to serve their best interest and needs. Three years ago I ran for office to serve my town and assist in its stability both on the financial front and the social one.

As the chairman this past year I have learned that you never know what the challenges of the job will be and what will be on your plate each morning. When some major issues have been thrown at me during this last year, I handled them professionally, juggling the needs of our town and the needs of a relentless press.

With the experience I have accumulated I want to return to the board and help the citizens of Ayer meet their future challenges as well.

I will continue to serve the town by working hard, being prepared and working cooperatively with the other members to get the people’s business done.

2. What are the three most important issues facing Ayer and why?

Transportation and parking:

In April 2003, one of the first issues the new board faced was having the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) yearly report eliminate the rail stop in Ayer. The report suggested it was financially more viable that it be closed in favor of a regional station somewhere else along the Fitchburg Rail Line. The lack of upgrades and parking were cited as reasons.

I, along with another member of the board, went to the next MBTA regional meeting and lobbied against that change, the result being that Ayer was returned to the yearly report as a stop along the Fitchburg line.

Education:

Our school system is not an island that exists outside of town government, it is a vital part of our town like all other services. It needs to be supported and successful so that the children in our school system can flourish and fulfill their hopes and dreams.

The School Committee and the superintendent have taken great strides in getting the budget to be more transparent and understandable to the citizens of Ayer, and I thank them for those continued efforts. We have a lot of new homes being built in Ayer, the school system and tax rates are two of the key indicators potential buyers look at. Let’s make sure they want to choose Ayer!

I graduated from Ayer High School, my brother and sister graduated from Ayer High School and so did my children. They provided us all with the needed tools to go out and become productive members of society. For me to come full circle and now serve the town that has served me is an honor.

Nashoba/Deaconess Hospital:

Building our new hospital will be one of the largest construction undertakings probably since the school complex on Washington Street. Changing zoning to accommodate the build, the hospital’s extensive plans to mitigate impact to its neighbors and handling potential traffic concerns present the town and the board with issues to deal with. My experience in dealing with this type of problem can help this project move forward successfully and with as little disruption as possible.

I do hope the citizens feel the challenges are worth it to expand on services, providing top quality medical treatment to not only the town, but the entire region. Building this state-of-the-art facility will allow our largest employer here in town to remain here and attract highly accredited medical personnel to practices at Nashoba/Deaconess.

3. What decisions would you have liked the board to have made differently over the last year?

Five individuals sit at the selectmen’s table, and we are on the air every other Tuesday, that is where the business of administering to the towns’ interest should take place.

Leadership is more than just being elected. It is about your behavior and interaction with your fellow selectmen. We may not be friends, but that is not required. It is our common interest in doing the right thing for the town that should bind us together.

I don’t wish to second guess decisions we have made together or criticize anyone’s ideas. I hope at the time I made my support or concerns clear as was appropriate. I will not second guess my colleagues’ decisions now to garner favor or vote. I hope the voters of Ayer demand no less.

4. Why do you feel that you are the best candidate for the job?

I will continue to inform citizens about the difficult choices facing us while giving them firm, informed facts.

There are also plenty of things we should be proud of, for example, on concerns about Ayers’ debt. We carry no more debt than is needed to get expensive projects done, our debt is not overwhelming for a town of our size and means, and our bond rating has continued to go up since 1999.

As for our tax base, we set it properly to support our budget as the state requires, and this year it rose just 3%. I have checked the Department of Revenue database, updated on March 20, and ours is in line for a town of our size and income base. If you wish to check the site you can e-mail me at morrisononyourballot@hotmail.com. I will be happy to guide you to the proper page.

We are in very good shape. We have nothing to fear and everything to be proud of. There is nothing wrong with civic pride, and I strive to instill those feelings with facts, not personal speculation. I know we will find ways of making lives easier for those on a fixed or low income, and the boards continued commitment to the SHAVE program is one way of doing that every budget cycle.

So let me close by asking that you head to the polls on Monday, April 24, and cast one of your two selectmen’s votes for Faye L. Morrison, return me to the table so I can continue to serve you.

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