Elizabeth Dray

Greg will restore trust, fairness and bring transparency to Town Meeting.

While I have only been a Town Meeting member (TMM) for 2 years, my experience has made it crystal clear that a change of Town Meeting leadership is desperately needed for Arlington to truly be a vibrant democracy and welcoming community.  I know that I am not alone, as many TMMs reached out to me with similar thoughts after last year’s Town Meeting. 

The Town Moderator’s job may not be well understood but it is crucial to making Arlington a welcoming and functional democracy. They set the tone for Town Meeting and control who is heard, who is not heard, how welcome they feel in that space, who is respected and who is not. Last Spring’s Town Meeting was very uncomfortable for a number of us as we viewed that, in general, women were treated worse than men and that there was a group of favored members who were treated deferentially and dominated speaking time.

The current lack of transparency regarding the speaker order erodes trust in leadership and allows the Moderator to call on people out of order, favor those whose thoughts he wants to hear or, when he’s heard enough, to call someone who is known to make a motion to close debate. Members have no way of knowing whether that’s happening, because we can’t see the speakers’ queue. Greg is committed to developing a fair and transparent speaking order process, making space for new voices, and treating ALL town meeting members with respect.

Another important role that the Town Moderator plays is appointing people to committees. Arlington needs more diverse representation on our committees. We need someone who will appoint people with that specific goal in mind. Greg promises to make appointments in a timely manner and with a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion.  

Greg and I have had many nuanced conversations on challenging topics. While they don’t always end with us agreeing, the conversations are thoughtful, respectful and honest. I leave them feeling heard and respected. Arlington needs brave leaders who can have those difficult conversations in a respectful manner. This builds trust.

I encourage you to support Greg with your vote, your money and by spreading the word about his campaign in your networks. It is time for change. It is time to create a Town Meeting environment that is welcoming, transparent and respectful to ALL of us. Arlington deserves better leadership.