February 24, 2020
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Public Participation Is Essential

Published Sep. 18, 2019

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With another local municipal election coming up this year, we must remember to be civil to our neighbors and respect all our residents, regardless of their political affiliation. People need to understand for our small-town government to function we must have representation from Democrats and Republicans on local boards. The state sets mandates for minority representation. Minority representation is required for boards and commissions to hold meetings and conduct business.

I’m disappointed by the public reaction on social media by both sides concerning the events that took place at the Chester Fair [regarding the removal of a vendor selling gun-themed merchandise]. I’ll admit mistakes were probably made on both sides, but our town is better than this. We need to learn from our mistakes, put this behind us, move on, and work together as a town. The focus this year should be looking at local issues that affect our town and using best practices to ensure that we have good schools, maintain our infrastructure, ensure an excellent quality of life for all residents, and do so while maintaining a fiscally responsible budget.

As a reminder, all town board and commission meetings are open to the public. Minutes and agendas are also posted on the town’s website. I encourage your readers to take the time to read them and be informed about what is going on in their town. After all, public participation is essential to the function of small-town government.

Robert J. Blair III

Robert Blair is a Republican candidate for Zoning Board of Appeals.