WESTFORD — WestfordCAT reached out to each candidate running in the Annual Town Election. Candidates were given the same exact questions and were encouraged to answer them how they saw fit.
Chris Barrett is the chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee. He is running for one of two seats on the Select Board.
Experience and Education
Barrett is currently employed as a technical engineer at Walmart. He has a master’s degree in Resource Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Past/Present Municipal Experience
Barrett previously served as a member of the Unpaved Roads Subcommittee. He then joined the Parks and Recreation Commission and later the Pedestrian Safety Committee, the Capital Planning Committee, and the Community Preservation Committee.
He currently serves as the chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Pedestrian Safety Committee.
Volunteer Participation/Community Involvement
Barrett serves on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Inc (FBFRT).
Barrett is also a volunteer coach for Westford Youth Soccer.
What should voters know about you?
Barrett recalls his work on the Pedestrian Safety Committee where he worked to secure funding to complete a sidewalk between Concord Road and Robinson Road.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from working on projects that benefit our community. One of the early wins for the Pedestrian Safety Committee was to see the completion of a sidewalk on Concord Rd to Robinson Rd,” he said.
He continued, “for some reason, lost in the annals of time, roughly a ¼ mile of sidewalk was missing between Robinson Road and an existing sidewalk on Concord Rd. It took nearly five years to build that sidewalk, but it started a great trend upon which now the town is completing at least one pedestrian or bicycle infrastructure project per year.”
The town has been awarded over $500,000 in grants for pedestrian safety improvements through the committee’s work.
“I remember my wife and I were driving my kids to Robinson one day after the Concord Rd sidewalk was built and I saw a dad and his daughter walking to school. I was so excited. On the way home after dropping off my kids, I saw the dad walking back to his house,” he said.
He continued, “I pulled over and ran across the street to talk with the resident. He was so appreciative of being able to use the sidewalk to walk his daughter to school and told me how it was a great opportunity for him to spend time with his daughter. It is feedback like that which makes working on municipal projects so worthwhile.”
Why do you believe voters should choose you?
“Through my years of involvement with town government, I built a strong background in town operations and project management, and I believe that I can leverage that experience to be an effective decision-maker on the Select Board,” he said.
If (re)elected, what impact do you hope to make?
Barrett believes the town will face “very difficult” budget choices in the next fiscal year.
“I think our educators deserve appropriate compensation and that our students deserve the best facilities and programming we can afford,” he said.
He continued, “however, we need to balance those needs with the costs of running a community which includes funding for safe roads and bridges, police and fire protection, and valuable community resources such as our town library and our parks and playgrounds. To add to that list, we need to continue to make strides toward reducing our impact on the environment which is also going to come at a premium.”
Barrett hopes his past experiences will translate to an effective term on the Select Board.
“I don’t think any one person can solve this problem, but I do believe that we have the rights folks in town and school administration who, along with volunteers from the School Committee, Select Board and Finance Committee, can come up with solutions that focus on what’s best for Westford,” he said.
He continued, “if elected to the Select Board, I hope to use my past experiences in town government to help solve these issues.”
Candidates were offered the opportunity to record a two to five minute Candidate’s Minute with WestfordCAT. Barrett was unable to record a Candidate’s Minute.