Two Compete for Selectman’s Seat in Freedom

[Alliance Editor’s Note: The following Q&As with the candidates for Freedom’s Board of Selectmen are reprinted from the Carroll County Independent’s “Meet the Candidates” column. Freedom residents will vote on Tuesday, March 9. Voting and Town Meeting will both take place at Freedom Elementary School this year, not at Town Hall].

Scott M. Cunningham, Challenger
Freedom Board of Selectmen

Why are you running for this office?
I have deep roots in Freedom dating back to 1917. I made my first visit here when I was 3 months old and have viewed Freedom as my home ever since. I have been a full time resident since 1996. Five generations have lived in our house on Watson Hill. It is time for me to “give back” to the town that has given me so much. I know the town well and love Freedom’s values, traditions and quality of life. With my long history in town I know many long-term residents and their interests and concerns well. I also know people who have arrived more recently. Thus I am one candidate who can truly represent everyone’s interests.

Even if we grow slowly, Freedom will face the challenge of protecting our rural character as we see new development. There are no easy answers, but I know that I want Freedom to be just as good for my grandchildren and future great grandchildren as it has been for me. My candidacy is about service and making a contribution to meeting the challengs to Freedom in the future.

What qualifications, qualities or experience would you bring to this position?
I have been a management consultant and business manager for over 40 years. I have worked with companies, of all sizes, in solving management, strategy and financial problems. I have line management experience as president of a number of companies. I am currently president of a management consulting firm I started 38 years ago. Early in my career I taught at Harvard Business School. I bring these skills and experience to the Select Board. I have served on a number of boards for corporations, colleges and non-profits.

I am an independent and will vote for what I think is right for Freedom. However, I am also a team player and have helped many companies to develop their team decision making skills. I would strive to bring consensus to board decision whenever possible. Unity rather than partisanship would be my objective.

What do you consider the three major challenges your town or district is facing?
1) We need to keep taxes low. We need to balance what we want with what we need – and can truly afford. 2) Freedom is a very special place. We must protect its character, values and traditions. 3) Town government should be open, transparent and courteous with maximum input by residents from all parts of town. 4) We need to be proactive in addressing town-wide concerns; considering all the facts and looking at alternatives.

What would you do to address these challenges if you are elected?
1) As a fiscal conservative, I would emphasize our long-term financial planning. The town needs to be realistic about what we need and how to manage our debt carefully. I would maximize the quality of our analysis. We must consider all the facts and develop  alternatives. 2) I would move gradually not abruptly; evaluating each decision in terms of its impact on quality of life, town traditions, and finances. I would seek to retain and enhance the best of Freedom’s values.

3) I will make my and the board’s communications to the residents complete, timely and accessible. I will reach out to encourage more citizen input. As a Selectman I will always be available via phone or email. 4) I will propose another town-wide survey to ensure that we have complete citizen input. I will encourage meeting participation by residents. I will seek to routinely use the time, skills, and expertise of Freedom’s many qualified residents from all parts of town.

Have you held political office before? Please list positions, date and towns where served.
I am currently Vice President of the Freedom Historic Society. In the past, I was appointed to the finance committee for three years for a town of 20,000. We were responsible for analyzing, monitoring and approving town budgets including the school budget. I have had many leadership positions in business and other organizations.

Please provide any  additional information you wish to share with voters.
I served for three years as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army. I am married to Anne and have three children and eight grandchildren.

James “Jim” Brown, Incumbent
Freedom Board of Selectmen

Why are you running for this office?
To be elected and keep on with the job ahead.

What qualifications, qualities or experience would you bring to this position?
I’ve been in management for 40 years. Companies managed include Holiday Inn, Burger King, New England Inn, and two lumber companies.

What do you consider the three major challenges your town or district is facing?
Keeping taxes as level as possible; to see that new buildings are built with a low tax impact; and to keep Freedom a small rural town.

What would you do to address these challenges if you are elected?
I’ve had challengers for the last three years and need three more to continue the work that needs to be done.

Have you held political office before? Please list positions, date and towns where served.
I’m currently a board of selectmen. I have served the town for many years as school treasurer, planning board member, selectman in the 1980s.

Please provide any additional information you wish to share with voters (i.e.: business/occupation, affiliations, educational background, volunteer or community service, spouse and children).
Freedom has been my home for 60 years. I attended Freedom Elementary School when it was up on the hill, Fryeburg Academy, and in college I was a management major. I worked for the Freedom Police Department for 20 years. This experience  has allowed me to know the needs of this town. I have no agenda for any group with special interest, or any personal gains from this job. I have three children, Jennifer, Desiree and Ryan. I am also a Vietnam Veteran with a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, 16 air medals and more. I also belong to the Mason’s Carroll Lodge 357 right here in Freedom.

Two Compete for Selectman’s Seat in Freedom