To the editor: As a Select Board member, I watch Great Barrington elections and look at the candidates very carefully.
This year, there are three candidates running for two seats on the Select Board. Please vote on May 11.
Eric Gabriel and Kate Burke both have my support for very different reasons. Both of them grew up here and have committed to stay here, both have created careers here and both will bring a younger voice to the board. But beyond that, they bring very different skills and energy to our town.
Eric Gabriel grew up and still lives in Housatonic. That fact is almost enough of a reason to vote for him; there are no Select Board members who live in Housatonic and that needs to change. With his leadership role on the Housatonic Improvement Committee, he may actually solve the problem of what to do with the Housatonic school building.
Eric’s clear reasoning and his ability to work with people on both sides of an issue will really be of value on the board. As a successful electrician he knows what it takes, and what the obstacles are, to run a successful business in town.
Perhaps most impressive, Eric actually creates affordable housing. He has renovated homes, kept rents reasonable, and has long-term tenants. Others talk about affordable housing; Eric delivers.
Kate Burke has been on the board for three years. In that time, her decisions have always reflected her concern for others facing the challenges of raising a family and forging a career here. As a mother of young children, her insights into how town policies can help and hurt young families are necessary on the board. But her concern is for all town residents, not just young families. She has pushed for policies to help seniors and others struggling with the high cost of living in the Berkshires and she is an advocate for those whose voices are not always heard in town government.
Sometimes she has been the lone voice on an issue, yet she has the respect of all of the other Select Board members.
I urge you to vote for Eric Gabriel and Kate Burke in the Great Barrington town election May 11.
Ed Abrahams, Great Barrington
The writer is vice chair of the Great Barrington Select Board.