TAMWORTH — Three people are vying for two open selectmen's seats.

The race for the seats will be decided March 12 at the Tamworth Town House. Voting will take place at the polls from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Chairman Steve Gray has chosen not to run for re-election.

Incumbent Rebecca Mason is running, along with former selectman Jim Hidden and Melanie Streeter who has been a member of the Friends of the Tamworth Town House.

Each candidate was asked to write a brief essay explaining why they should be considered for a seat. — Daymond Steer

Jim Hidden

My name is Jim Hidden, and I am running for a three-year seat as selectman this year after having previously served two consecutive terms on the board.

My reasons for running in 2019 remain the same as they have since I first ran seven years ago; Tamworth is my home, I have deep roots here, and I truly enjoy being involved in our town government.

For those who may not know me, I am 47 years old, a proud father, lifelong resident, and I have worked at my family's auto repair shop here in Tamworth for over 25 years.

I know the struggles of making ends meet and appreciate the value of a dollar. Though there are many positive signs that the economy is improving, there is still more that can be done. I am a big believer in economic development and promoting business development here, which can produce jobs and much-needed tax relief. We are at a crossroads as our population is aging and, like many North Country communities, we are having difficulty retaining and attracting young people to help our town grow.

With new people come new ideas, new businesses and new job opportunities. Our town has the highest tax rate in the area; we need to find new ways to manage costs.

I am not a believer in creating new taxes, nor do I wish to see budgets slashed. My preference would be to continue to explore ways of encouraging businesses to come to Tamworth, such as tax incentives. We already offer a benefit to anybody looking to come here in that we do not have zoning or the hassles and redtape associated with most local zoning ordinances that can often stifle business development and entrepreneurial endeavors.

There is always a lot going on here in Tamworth, and I feel my prior experience as a selectman can be a valuable asset to the board as it continues to find its footing after expanding to five members last year, especially with issues like the ambulance service, a new Central Station and the village septic system all on the horizon

Tamworth needs a steady hand to help guide it. I am someone who can, and will, work to find solutions, bridge the gaps during disagreements and find workable solutions that are in the town's best interest.

Becky Mason

After serving as a selectmen for the town of Tamworth for a year, I decided to run again to continue with the work I have started.

This past year has made me aware that the job of selectmen requires time, energy and commitment. I do have the time, energy and commitment to serve another three years.

I continue to believe that Tamworth residents want to be heard. As a selectmen, I have listened to the residents, and I have tried to follow up on what residents have brought forth as concerns. I feel that it is an important role of the being a selectman.

I feel that Tamworth is facing a great number of challenges in the future, and to address those challenges we have to find ways to fund the needs of the town without placing more burden on our residents.

Each year, it is more important than ever to look at what is wanted versus what is needed. Tamworth's tax rate is one of the highest in Carroll County; the burden to the taxpayers has to be addressed.

The town needs new growth and revenue sources to help offset the tax rate. The town needs to attract businesses that complement the area, as Tamworth is a rich environment for small businesses and tourism.

Additionally, the town needs to have school funding addressed. The residents cannot continue to face the substantial yearly increase in the school portion of the tax rate. This is no longer an issue that can be offset by trying to reduce the municipal portion of the taxes. It has to be addressed at the state level, which I am willing to do.

State funding formulas need to be addressed. If not, I believe that the town will continue to see the young people leave and the older people wondering how they will keep their property.

As we move towards the future of Tamworth, I would love to see the flavor of the town to remain, but the future of the town to improve. I believe the best way to do this is to listen to the individuals that live in this town, as to what they want and how they think we can pay for it.

I would love to see more townwide committees to look into major issues that are affecting the town. Previous committees have worked well in bringing alternative ideas to the Selectmen.

I believe that by serving as a selectmen, we are there to serve the needs of the people of Tamworth.

Melanie Streeter

My name is Melanie Streeter. I am a lifelong resident of Tamworth and have filed for a three-year seat on the board of selectmen.

I have served on many town boards, including the Tamworth Caregivers, the 250th Committee, the Police Advisory Committee, two years on the Advisory Budget Committee, and I am one of the members of the Friends of the Tamworth Town House.

I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in getting things done efficiently, within acceptable time constraints and at a reasonable cost. I have spent most of my adult life advocating for my severely handicapped son, who has since passed away, in his journey through “the system,” and those hard lessons have stuck and would make me the kind of selectman who would get things done.

I have engaged in many difficult negotiations with a variety of personalities and found solutions. Creative problem-solving is my specialty, as well as finding a workable compromise for all my constituents. I am approachable and fair.

I will voice my opinion even if it isn’t popular. I will always be clear in my meaning and intentions, and resolve to put the betterment of Tamworth as my highest aim.

I am anxious to play a role in making Tamworth the best it can be. Please take the time to vote Tuesday, March 12, at the Tamworth Town House.

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(1) comment

Dave Oedel

Being over the line in Madison, my interests are affected by things like the race track and Pine Tree Power. Let me just say that I am not amused by Tamworth trying to make money at Madison's expense through exposing Madison to the economic externalities of Tamworth's dirty businesses. I will work against any candidate who would do so, and will support any candidate who has the integrity to keep Tamworth's problem in Tamworth rather than exporting Tamworth's noise and air pollution to Madison. Thanks for nothing.

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