Even a snowstorm couldn’t stop two candidates from signing up on Thursday for what looks to be a hotly contested race for Town Moderator this fall.
Incumbent Richard DeFreitas and former Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee chairman Jon Kurland both signed up shortly after town hall opened on the first day of nominations ensuring voters will have a choice of candidates on Apr. 1
While Kurland does disagree with some issues surrounding the operation of town meeting and appointment of Finance Committee members, Kurland offering that choice to voters was the main reason to run for the position.
“I don’t think any election should be uncontested,” said Kurland. “I’ve got a track record from my time as chairman of the FinCom and Selectmen, and I wanted to give people a choice.”
For DeFreitas, the decision to pursue another three-year term came down to largely to implementation of recommendations from the new Moderator’s Advisory Rules Committee, also known as the MARCOM.
While the past few weeks have marked the first re-emergence of the MARCOM in decades, DeFreitas wants to make it a regular standing committee, meeting two weeks after every Spring Town Meeting moving forward.
“I want to hear all recommendations whether I agree with them or not, I didn’t do this to get re-elected,” said DeFreitas. “The success of this committee is more important to me than re-election.”
DeFreitas also points to other accomplishments during his term, such as electronic voting modules and the appointment of Patrice Garvin to the Finance Committee, who recently became town administrator for the Town of Shirley.
If re-elected, DeFreitas hopes to also combine the debate period and the “question and answer” period, with Chelmsford being the only town in the state separating the two according to DeFreitas.
At times last fall, DeFreitas got irritated at speakers at Town Meeting asking questions he claimed they and other Town Meeting representatives already knew the answers for what he saw as political posturing, calling himself “insensitive” at times.
While DeFrietas says he will try to be clearer with his perspectives regarding implementation of Town Meeting rules, he still thinks people shouldn’t ask questions where they already know the answer. There, Kurland disagrees, saying that even if Town Meeting representatives know the answer, voters watching the meeting may be educated by the discussion.
“I think it depends on how the question is asked, but it’s important or people watching at home to know. Even if Town Meeting reps know the answer, the general public may be served,” he said.
Town Meeting will occur in late April, after voters head to the polls to choose who will be moderator.