Amherst Town Meeting Best Form of Democracy
By JACQUELINE MAIDANA
Friday, January 26, 2018, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Letter to the Editor
In 1981, I met Ken Mosakowski who told me about the significance of Amherst Town Meeting.
He encouraged me to run, saying that as a single mother and University of Massachusetts student I would have a lot to contribute. I was surprised and delighted when I won. Surprised because I didn’t think someone like me could be elected and delighted because I would be able to help other low-income families.
After serving on Town Meeting for six years, I moved to Northampton. To my dismay, I found I had no voice there in the decisions that affected me. It was clear that the Northampton City Council did not listen to the general population. It was financially impossible for me to run for a seat on the council so I helped others by volunteering for their campaigns.
For over 20 years I had no voice, so as soon as I moved back to Amherst, I ran again for Town Meeting and have served for the past four years. Once again, I have a voice in helping shape the future of the town I love.
Having experienced both forms of government, I can honestly say Amherst Town Meeting is the best form of democracy. It gives citizens a voice in how our town is governed — a voice that may not be considered when powerful developers overlook how the underrepresented will be impacted.
As a proud, hardworking member of Amherst Town Meeting, I urge Amherst voters to vote “no” on the new charter.