Hilltown Voices: Two candidates run for seat on Plainfield Select Board

For the Gazette
Friday, January 12, 2018

PLAINFIELD — Two candidates have thrown their hats in the ring to fill the remaining term of Select Board member Leslie Rule, whose resignation from that board will be effective Jan. 30.

David Kramer, 69, of Union Street, and Hillary Weeks, 39, of Grant Street, will be on the ballot for the special election, which is scheduled for Feb. 10. The new Select Board member will fill the remaining three months of Rule’s term.

Kramer, a Plainfield resident since 2003, is a self-employed translator and editor. He has served on the town’s cultural council, broadband committee and finance committee.

Kramer said that he agreed to run after he was asked to do so by several residents.

“In a small town of 200 something families, it is an obligation to serve when the call comes,” he said.

Kramer says that he believes the biggest issue facing Plainfield is small-town viability.

“We don’t have the population density that the larger towns and cities have, yet we still have to pay for a lot of things that we need and that are required,” he said, referring to the cost of emergency response vehicles, education and support for operating businesses.

According to Kramer, the survival of small towns like Plainfield is dependant upon changing the “paradigm of how we raise money, how we spend money, and getting the bigger parts of the state to value our more rural communities.”

He lives with his wife, Lina Bernstein, and says that he borrows his philosophy of governance from Abraham Lincoln’s: “With malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Weeks, whose family has been in Plainfield for the last 15 years, said that Rule approached her suggesting that she run for her seat on the Select Board.

“I have not served on any boards, but I had been thinking that I should become more involved in town stuff for a while,” Weeks said. “When she asked, I thought it would be a great way to get my feet wet, and help my community.”

Together with her husband, Ronald Weeks, the couple owns and operates R & H Weeks Trucking in Plainfield. They are also currently raising two young sons, ages 11 and 13.

Weeks said that her priorities are the participation of younger residents in public service and listening to the thoughts and concerns of all Plainfield residents.

“We have a lot of people that have been serving on boards and committees for years,” she said. “While they are doing a great job, they won’t be there forever, so I hope to encourage other younger residents to get involved also.”

While serving on the Select Board would be new ground for her, she said she would be honored to serve the town and is “always willing to learn.”

The last day to register to vote in the special town election is Jan. 21.

The polls will be open at the Town Hall from noon to 6 p.m. on Feb. 10.

Polito visits Hilltowns

WORTHINGTON — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will visit Worthington and Plainfield on Tuesday, Jan. 16, to sign Community Compact agreements with each town.

The Community Compact is a voluntary, mutual agreement between the state and individual cities and towns, in which a community agrees to implement one or more best practices selected from a variety of approved topics.

Once a community’s plan is approved, the Commonwealth agrees to make a supportive commitment to the city or town to help them accomplish their stated goals.

Polito will be at the Worthington Town Hall at 11:30 a.m. to sign a compact that will provide the town with $20,000 for an up to date records management system.

“We have boxes and boxes of records and we just need a better way to store and locate them when we need them,” Select Board Administrator Peg O’Neal said.

The lieutenant governor will then go to Plainfield Town Hall at 12:45 p.m. where a compact will be signed that will secure $20,000 for a wage and salary study in preparation an overhaul of the town’s human resources documents regarding accurate job descriptions, and up to date wages and salaries.

“This will tell us where we fall in terms of what we pay people, where may be behind and where we may be ahead,” Select Board Howard Bronstein said.

New Year potluck

CHESTERFIELD — The Chesterfield Council on Aging will host a festive international food potluck to celebrate the new year on Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Chesterfield Community Center, 400 Main Road.

The event will feature a mixture of musical entertainment by a variety of performers including James Kitchen and Friends as well as soprano Claudia Waite, an active soloist at the Metropolitan Opera.

The bash is free and open to Hilltown residents of all ages.

Participants are asked to bring their favorite international cuisine and the council asks that foods include the labels with ingredients listed.

The potluck will begin at 12:30 p.m. with musical entertainment starting at 2 p.m.

Donations will be accepted to benefit the Hilltown Food Pantry.

Ideas for this column on life in the Hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at fryan.gazette@gmail.com.