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8 tell why they back Helmuth

Clarissa Rowe of Herbert Road, Arlington, a former member of the Select Board, submitted this letter.

Eric Helmuth, 2020Helmuth

The work on the Select Board is often hard, time-consuming and important to keeping Arlington the great community it is.

Eric is a good listener, an in-depth preparer and a person who believes in transparency. As I have watched Eric, the chair of the Community Preservation Act Committee, I have seen that he is a consensus builder, works well with town staff and community organizations and has brought the CPA projects to Town Meeting in an orderly and understandable manner. His love of gardening, music and his husband, Jordan, make him complete.

I really believe that Eric will complement the board and will work cooperatively with the Board, the town manager and the constituents.

I urge you to vote for him on April 10. My son and I will certainly do so.

This letter to the editor was published Monday, March 15, 2021.

Kate Leary of Milton Street, Arlington, submitted this letter.

I’m writing to support Eric Helmuth, who is running for Select Board in the April 10 town election. Eric and I worked together on the communications team for the Build Arlington’s Future campaigns in 2016 and 2019. He was a veteran of the 2011 Yes for Arlington campaign, which secured funding for our town and schools after years of painful cuts. He quickly became a mentor to me. I went to him with questions not only because he was knowledgeable, but also because he was patient, kind and funny. His questions and work helped us stay focused on the right goals and ensured that we were reaching as many community members as possible.

I’m a parent of two children in the Arlington Public Schools, and Eric’s longstanding commitment to education and school funding is important to me. I know we can count on his continued support of our public schools.

I’m also a member of Town Meeting, where Eric’s contributions are legion. He’s the reason we can visit the town website after each meeting and see how our elected representatives voted on the warrant articles that shape our town. Transparency is at the foundation of good government, and no one has done more than Eric to increase government transparency in Arlington. Eric also does a splendid rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the Town Hall’s grand piano — at just the right tempo.

When I worked with members of the school department to apply for Community Preservation Act funds for a playground study at the Hardy school, I saw yet another aspect of Eric’s abilities. He facilitated conversations between Hardy parents, town employees and volunteers, and school administrators to help make the proposal a strong one that would work for our students, our East Arlington neighborhood, and our town. It was a rigorous process, but it was a clear and supportive one, thanks largely to Eric’s oversight and his willingness to invest his time and energy.

One of Eric’s greatest strengths is that if he has questions, he’ll get in touch with people, ask, and listen without judgment — because he genuinely wants to learn. This is a critical trait in a Select Board member, and I’m thrilled that he wants to do the work. I look forward to voting for Eric Helmuth for Select Board on April 10.

This letter to the editor was published Monday, March 15, 2021.

Amy Speare of Ridge Street submitted this letter.

I am thrilled to vote Eric Helmuth to the Select Board on April 10.

I first met Eric 10 years ago, when we were both new to community activism and civic engagement. My immediate impression of Eric was a "get-the-job-done" kind of guy.

As I’ve grown to know Eric over the years, I’ve learned that that is only one of his many qualities. Eric is a good listener. His background in social work and counseling give him the skills to bring differing opinions together and find common solutions from conflict.

Eric strongly believes in good government. In his role as a Select Board member, Eric will be a collaborator who listens to new ideas and ensures that the right people have a voice at the table.

Eric’s vision and leadership were instrumental in implementing the Town Meeting electronic-voting system, which holds Town Meeting members accountable while improving the efficiency of Town Meeting.

Through his leadership of the Community Preservation Act Committee, Eric has demonstrated a commitment to sustaining the fabric of Arlington by supporting historic preservation, affordable housing and open-space projects. These qualities will enable Eric to thrive on the Select Board. Eric is up to the challenge of finding solutions to Arlington’s complex and emotional issues surrounding housing, equality and sustainability. Please join me in enthusiastically voting for Eric Helmuth on April 10.

This letter to the editor was published Thursday, March 11, 2021.

Susan Stamps, a Precinct 3 Town Meeting member submitted this letter.

I am pleased to invite everyone to meet Eric Helmuth, candidate for Arlington Select Board, at my coffee for him on Zoom on Thursday, March 4.

Why am I supporting Eric for Select Board? That's easy! I have been involved with Eric in many contexts for the 10 years that I have lived in Arlington, and I have always been impressed by his intelligence, positive attitude, low-key problem-solving approach to issues, and being reliable, a gentleman, kind, a good team player, a good and respectful listener, and a fierce advocate for our town. These are all attributes that make him perfectly suited for our five-member Select Board, our town's executive branch, and I hope you will join me in voting for him.

I first met Eric when he joined the effort I and others had organized in 2013 to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA), a state law that makes funds available for projects in affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and recreation that might not otherwise be funded in a stretched town budget. He was a valued member of the team, particularly in building and maintaining a great website and doing other digital outreach. He was a really good guy to work with and we joyfully raised a glass together when Arlington citizens voted overwhelmingly for CPA in 2014. This is what makes good teamwork.

Fortunately for the town, Eric went on to serve for many years as chair of the Community Preservation Act committee. The CPA Committee, required by law, reviews project proposals and recommends some for CPA funding. Because of Eric's, leadership, and the diligent work of the Committee, the town has already done many wonderful projects, including repairs to our treasured historic buildings, restoration of parks and natural resources, creation and repairs of affordable housing, and has funded planning for future projects. This is what community service and leadership is all about.

I also have known Eric for several years as a fellow member of Town Meeting, our town's legislative branch. His communication skills are outstanding. Members listen carefully when Eric gets up to speak because his comments are always well thought out, important for the conversation and to the point. As a Member, Eric led perhaps the biggest revolution in Town Meeting ever - electronic voting! When I started in Town Meeting in 2013, votes were taken by raising our hands or voice votes, Town Meeting went on for weeks and weeks, and there was no record of Members' individual votes. Eric decided there had to be a better way. He thought constituents should know how their Town Meeting Members voted on the issues they cared about. He convinced the Members to study the idea of electronic voting and proceeded to guide the process to where we are today -- voting with handheld electronic devices and each member's vote recorded on the Town website. This is how Eric gets things done.

For these and many other reasons, we are lucky to have Eric Helmuth running for Select Board. Please join me in voting for him.

This letter to the editor was published Tuesday, March 1, 2021.

Christine C. Carney of Richfield Road, submitted this letter:

As a kid growing up in Arlington, I never paid any attention to town politics, as is probably the case for most kids. While expecting our first child 26 years ago, I realized if I wanted our town to be as good for our child as it was for us growing up, I would need to become more involved. And that meant getting to know the leaders and elected officials in our town.

Arlington is very fortunate to have caring and forward-thinking people as its leaders. I hope you will join me in adding Eric Helmuth to that list by giving him one of your two votes for a seat on the Select Board on Saturday, April 10.

I first met Eric in 2014 while working on the Community Preservation Act (CPA) ballot question campaign. I’ve gotten to know him better through his work as a Town Meeting member, as the CPA Committee chair and the Information Technology Advisory Committee, lastly, through mutual friends. I have seen up close how much he cares for our community and the people who live and work here. He and I share the same concerns for the issues that need our attention now -- such as climate change, affordable-housing issues, supporting local businesses, ensuring that Arlington is truly a welcoming community, and maintaining a level of excellent public services and public safety.

Eric has a wide-ranging skill set that will make him an excellent addition to the current Select Board. He is a trained mental-health counselor, an avid gardener, a self-described “technology guy,” a musical composer. Each one of these areas requires deep listening and hearing skills, nurturing and the ability to problem-solve creatively.

Eric will bring all this with him to the Select Board, and we will all benefit from his talents. I am grateful Eric has decided to give even more of himself to our community.
Again, I hope you will join me and give Eric one of your two votes for Select Board on Saturday, April 10.

This letter to the editor was published Monday, March 1, 2021.

Sharon Grossman of Peabody Road, Arlington, submitted this letter:

I am writing to endorse Eric Helmuth for one of the two seats on the Arlington Select Board. Eric is a tireless volunteer in Arlington. His experience has ranged from chairing the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee to leading the effort that enabled Town Meeting to use electronic voting to leading the implementation of a Virtual Town Meeting as an active Town Meeting member.

What’s really important, though, about Eric’s leadership in these areas, is the impact he has made on the life of our town. For example, the millions of dollars the CPA has contributed have increased affordable housing, and his efforts have helped ensure that town government is transparent and accountable.

Over the years, I have learned that Eric is a deliberate and active listener who considers multiple perspectives before making careful conclusions and decisions. These are qualities we need in leaders today as we tackle the issues that are important to me, ones that I’ve worked on professionally and in my service on the Human Rights Commission and as a newly elected Town Meeting member -- addressing systemic racism, honoring diversity fairly and equitably, dealing with housing issues, and ensuring that we recover physically and emotionally from the pandemic as individuals and a community. Eric is up to the task, and I hope you will join me in casting one of your two votes for him on April 10 (or before, if there is early voting).

This letter to the editor was published Monday, March 1, 2021.

Brian Rehrig, a Precinct 8 Town Meeting member, submitted this letter to the editor:

Eric Helmuth will be an outstanding leader on the Select Board of Arlington, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting him.

Serving as the chair of our Community Preservation Committee from its inception in 2015, Eric launched and led the competitive process by which Arlington employs CPA funding for affordable housing, open space, recreation and historic preservation.

It was my good fortune, as liaison from the Capital Planning Committee, to work closely with Eric and observe him bringing together disparate advocacy groups, developing transparent procedures and engaging public input. Under Eric’s leadership the program has earned the strong support of Town Meeting for over $13 million in responsibly managed civic-improvement projects.

Eric also spearheaded the implementation of electronic voting in Town Meeting, leading a study to evaluate options for fairness, accuracy and efficiency, and then heading up a seamless implementation that has made Town Meeting votes faster and more secure, and Town Meeting members more accountable.

These accomplishments are the results of Eric’s skills in analysis and problem-solving, his passion for an inclusive community and transparent government, his outstanding ability to listen and to gain consensus, and when necessary to disagree without being disagreeable. His deep experience in multiple facets of local governance gives him the background and perspective needed to be an effective leader on the Select Board.

Please join me in supporting Eric Helmuth with one of your two votes for Select Board on April 10.

This letter to the editor was published Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.

Submitting this letter was Nora Mann, a former Precinct 20 Town Meeting member and for member of the Redevelopment Board.

I am writing to support my friend, Eric Helmuth, who is running for Arlington Select Board. The town election is April 10, but there will likely be early voting, so stay tuned.

Like most communities, we are at a crossroads: Residents and local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic; like many cities and towns, Arlington is engaged in important conversations about racial justice and equity; we need to maintain strong town services, from schools to public safety; local action on the climate crisis is imperative; and we need creative solutions for more housing and economic development on our limited available land.

My experience with Eric is that he is a good listener as well as a real doer.

In his years as a leader in town government, Eric has become known for his ability to build consensus. He spearheaded electronic voting in Town Meeting, which has made our government more accountable and transparent because residents can now see how each of their representatives voted. As chair of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee, Eric led the work to select more than $13 million in affordable housing, open space, recreation and historic-preservation projects across town. The success of these projects is in  no small part because of Eric's commitment to including all stakeholders, responding to opposition without defensiveness and welcoming new ideas.

I support Eric because, like him, I’m a passionate believer in the value of local government and the power of community. I hope you’ll take some time to get to know him. Go to his website; find him on Facebook or send him an email with your questions.  

This letter was published Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021.

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