By Katherine Stephens
Gordon College News Service
Oct. 28, 2013
(This story appeared Oct. 29, 2013, in the Salem Your Town site of the Boston Globe.)
SALEM—Despite competing with game five of the World Series, the Salem School Committee Candidate Forum drew close to 100 people Monday night, Oct. 28, at the Nathaniel Bowditch School. It was the last opportunity for voters to hear from all six candidates before the Nov. 5th elections.
Three incumbents— Janet Crane, Lisa Lavoie, and Brendan Walsh—joined three challengers— Rachel Hunt, Rick Johnson, and Patrick Shultz—as each candidate campaigned for a spot among the three available positions on the seven-member board.
The nearly two-hour forum included introductions, statements, and rebuttals from each candidate and ended with a 20-minute question and answer period from residents. Moderator Dave Olson, editor of the Salem New, read questions from note cards that had been passed around at the beginning of the meeting.
Janine Matho, president of The Salem Education Foundation, began the night by thanking the speakers “for stepping up and running for office and caring about our schools.” She then encouraged the audience to, “get out there and vote. Grab your friends and neighbors and get to the polls, or all of their work will be worth nothing.”
During the introductions, the candidates were asked to define what they saw as a priority for the people of Salem in their schools.
Johnson said he was encouraged to see that people are engaged and knowledgeable about Salem’s schools, but he notices a lack of results. “People are ready for results now,” he said.