WESTFORD — WestfordCAT reached out to the two candidates running for two open Select Board seats in the May 3 Westford municipal elections. Candidates were asked the same outline of questions, and were free to share their replies during an interview with WestfordCAT.
Incumbent Scott Hazelton spoke with WestfordCAT, outlining his background, experience and aspirations if reelected to the board.
Experience and Education
Hazelton is an economist, where he forecasts global construction markets for clients. He received his Bachelor’s of Economics from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
Past/Present Municipal Experience
Hazelton began his municipal career in 2005 on Westford’s Housing Authority, where he still serves. He also served as Housing Commissioner for eight years with the Housing Authority.
He also serves on Westford’s Pedestrian Safety Committee, Town and School Safety Task Force and Commission on Disabilities.
Volunteer participation, community involvement
He’s involved with Westford’s Community Garden, where he holds a plot for the upcoming growing season.
What should voters know about you?
“I’m a practical problem solver. I don’t have a particular issue or agenda, it’s ‘what does the town need,'” he said.
He continued, “When I first joined the board, we built the fire station. We’re now looking at what to do with Town Hall space. It’s a lot of work and great staff. We’ve been very creative with keeping ourselves within the budget limit.”
Why do you believe voters should choose you?
“I hope they’ll take a look at my term in office in two ways,” he said. “In respect to the taxpayer, we must have an operational balanced budget. Secondly and my commitment to the town. I’m very available and easy to call and email. I made this my home 30 years ago, it’s the best town in the state.”
He continued, “when I won my first election, I called a Select Board member and asked ‘what’s your advice?’ Their advice was ‘take good care of the town’ and that’s been my mantra for the last nine years.”
If elected, what impact do you hope to make?
Hazelton spoke on converting the property at 35 Town Farm Road, where it will be used as affordable housing units for seniors and house the food pantry.
“We have 35 Town Farm Road, before we had welfare it was where you were housed and fed people back in the 1800s,” he said. “Most towns have lost those buildings over time, so the intent is to turn that into affordable housing.”
He continued, “the structure will become the food pantry of the town, and add on to the back of it roughly 30 units of senior affordable housing. That’s one of my passions for providing affordable housing and historic preservations.”
Hazelton also spoke on his commitment to mental health and wellness among students and residents.
“We are looking at having a townwide mental health counselor, and I think that would help us to better serve our public,” he said.
He continued, “this person’s job has to be someone you can call. You can call somebody, you won’t just sit there and suffer.”
Hazelton also spoke on climate change, and the town’s efforts to reach its net-zero emissions goals by 2050.
“We have a very active sustainability committee, and we need to work with them to make that plan a reality by 2050,” he said. “That means looking at recruiting a town Sustainability Coordinator.”
He spoke on recreation within the town, and his hopes to make the town more accessible to pedestrians.
“We have a grand plan to run a sidewalk from one part of town to the other, from north to south,” he said. “We have the money earmarked to build Nutting Road to Grassley Pond.”
Lastly, he spoke on his hopes to keep the town’s budget balanced while upgrading existing services.
“There’s always the budget, it’s our job to keep the town thriving within the living limit,” he said. “We’ve been very efficient with the public money and keeping it balanced.”
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