By Anne O’Connor
TOWNSEND — “Townsend, right now, is in a very good place,” said Edwin Howard. But, he added, “it could be better.”
The 32-year-old attorney at Bonville and Howard of Fitchburg is a candidate for the Board of Selectmen. If he is elected, this would be his first time on a municipal board.
He, his wife Stephanie, and their dog, Samson, moved to Townsend in spring 2015. Their daughter Avery is two months old.
His recent arrival in town is a good thing, he said. He has no connections with other boards.
“My only interest in running for selectman is to make the town a better place,” he said.
Before attending law school at the Massachusetts School of Law, Howard worked in information technology and financial services. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Bentley College in business management and also works in real estate.
High on his list of priorities is setting up a municipal utility company. His electricity bill in Stow was half of his bill in Townsend and he never lost power.
As a recent student, he understands well that the high cost “can have a real crippling effect on someone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck,” he said
The proposed natural gas pipeline is a major concern, too.
“Obviously, there are environmental issues like fracking as well as running a pipeline through the community,” he said.
If the property values of houses on the route fall, so will the values of neighboring homes, he said.
“Having a background in law would be a benefit,” he said, in dealing with this matter.
Howard would like to see more money going to road repairs. “The roads are in sub-par condition … because of the rough winter. No one’s to blame for that,” he said.
But, “the budget is not sufficient,” he said. Poor roads can cost the town money, he noted, from damages to cars and claims against the town.
The future of the town, with a new high schoo, looks good, he said. The school should draw more residents.
There is room for improvement, though, he said. Townsend recently tanked as the 72nd safest town in the state, he said. “Which isn’t bad, but why aren’t we in the top ten?” he said.
If not elected, he plans to serve Townsend in any capacity the town needs. “I’ll certainly be looking into any other means to serve,” he said.