The Town of Natick depends on the active participation of its citizens in governance of the Town. Natick voters will on March 30, 2021 cast their ballots for candidates running for Select Board, a contested race.
There are two candidates running for one open 3-year seat on the Select Board, which serves as the chief executive board of the Town and, as such, is vested with all the municipal authority not specifically retained by the Town’s legislative body, Town Meeting.
The Select Board candidates are Guimel DeCarvalho and Paul Joseph.
Natick Report invited the candidates to answer a few questions about their qualifications and priorities for the Town of Natick.
Below is Guimel DeCarvalho’s Q & A. Here is a link to Paul Joseph’s Q & A.
Guimel DeCarvalho, candidate for Select Board
Natick Report: What is your background and what qualifies you for a position on the Select Board?
Guimel DeCarvalho: My proven leadership and service on Finance Committee, Natick Is United, and the Natick Equity Task Force, as well as my professional experience as the Vice President of Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer at Wayside Youth & Family Services, will help me move our town forward in a direction that is best for all of our residents. With over 4 years of leadership experience reducing overdue investigative cases, increasing connections to community-based ongoing services, and managing multi-million dollar budgets I’ve seen how services can be a lifeline for families. Additionally, with close to 5 years of executive leadership at Wayside I’ve implemented wholesale organizational culture change; reduced turnover of staff of color 10%; increased recruitment & retention of staff of color by 6%; and doubled the number of managers of color. I’ve shown that through investment in communication strategies and collaboration, you can engage communities around a unified vision. I’m running to bring an equity focus to the work of the Select Board.
NR: How can Natick further support existing businesses and encourage new ones to come into Natick?
DeCarvalho: The best way to support existing businesses and encourage new ones to come to Natick is by focusing on the issues that matter to our residents, including those who have not been part of the political process before by:
Attracting a diverse range of businesses and jobs to Natick to ensure our economic and cultural vibrancy.
Promoting affordable housing policies that take into account the needs of seniors, families, those with disabilities, and veterans.
Supporting our schools, students, and educators to make sure we are providing children with what they need today and in the future.
Working to further make Natick a town that is truly welcoming to all people, regardless of their race, age, gender, sexual orientation or economic situation.
These issues are not always easy and oftentimes there are conflicting interests and priorities, but I believe that if we focus on people first, ALL people, we can continue to see Natick move forward sustainably and responsibly for decades to come.
NR: How should Natick manage the financial implications of the pandemic going forward?
DeCarvalho: Collaboration and communication from the start. In order for town departments to work together, they have to have a shared vision. That vision should encompass our values as a community and has to include compromise and a deep understanding of the needs of all of our residents. Important services can’t go by the wayside. We need to prioritize and think creatively about solutions to extend our dollars, and also look at things we’ve invested in the past that may no longer work. These important conversations can only happen when all departments come together, which I believe the Select Board should facilitate.
NR: How can Natick best continue to act on the concerns of its residents of diverse backgrounds?
DeCarvalho: The Select Board can help set the tone of municipal discourse and has the ability to prioritize certain issues, including issues relating to equity and social justice. The best way to address the concerns of its residents of diverse backgrounds is to act. By applying both a social justice and equity lens to the broad range of issues before them, the Select Board can demonstrate that the diverse experiences and interests of Natick residents have a place at the table and a voice in town decisions.
We have seen that broader engagement of those voices can happen through tools like Zoom, social media, informational websites, and translation software. It’s important to make clear that participation in local government and community events is possible for those navigating childcare, work, language barriers, and new-ness to these systems. It’s up to the Select Board to go to these communities, not the other way around.
NR: How should voters reach you if they want more information?
DeCarvalho: Residents can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on my Facebook page @guimelfornatick. Make sure to also go to www.guimelfornatick.com to see more about the campaign and information on how to get your mail in ballot or vote in person on March 30th.
NR: Is there anything else you would like to say that the above questions did not cover?
DeCarvalho: Natick is at a pivotal moment, much like the whole of the United States. The Select Board must ensure that Natick works for all residents, by setting the critical tone and priorities for the town. I will continue to work hard to help shape the direction and future of Natick by bringing:
my experience in town government and executive leadership from my profession
my perspective as a parent of a young child in the Natick Public Schools and an individual from a diverse background
my vision of ensuring a focus on equity for all of our residents to strategic decision-making
My vision for Natick is:
Strong budget to support excellent schools, infrastructure, and services that meet our town’s needs
Supporting Natick’s business community to add to the vitality of the town
Reimagining partnerships with community organizations to strengthen Natick
Affordable housing to support Natick residents and families
Inviting diverse perspectives and experiences of our residents to inform decisions that impact the town
An equity focus to all of our town’s strategic decision-making
Thoughtful consideration for the selection of the new Town Administrator