Laura Draucker: Wants to email Town Meeting representatives

Friday, January 05, 2018
Wants to email representatives

Columnist John O. Fox (“Responds to column opposing Town Meeting,” Nov. 17) makes the assertion that Amherst’s town website allows voters, by a simple click, to email their concerns to every Town Meeting member.

While the website appears to offer a one-click solution, Town Meeting members are not required to participate and many don’t.

According to the Amherst town clerk, as of Nov. 21 only 14 of 24 Town Meeting members in my precinct have signed up to receive emails from constituents. Townwide, only 68 percent (164 out of 240) Town Meeting members have opted into Amherst’s online communication platform.

In fact, the email platform was only made available in January of this year, mere days before Town Meeting was scheduled to revisit its decision to turn away $34 million in state grants to fund new elementary schools. Before the system launched last January, I had to hand deliver letters to my Town Meeting representatives with a 3-week old child in tow, because I felt that strongly about the future of our town. I also sent an email when it was made available.

In both cases, I have no idea how many of my representatives read my words. Being represented by Town Meeting members that are able to opt out of communication with me is not acceptable.

I believe voting yes on March 27 will give us all the ability to hold our elected representatives accountable. At a minimum, we will have their email addresses and two district meetings a year for actual two-way communication. I may even push for a GroupMe.

Laura Draucker