The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with one of three candidates for Select Board, attorney Jomarie Buckley. See other profiles as well as letters from and about candidates here.
All candidates running in Tewksbury were invited to respond, and we appreciate those who took the time to help the Carnation inform voters.
Name: Jomarie Buckley Seat sought: Select Board
1. Why do you want to serve on the Select Board?
I have always felt that if you are capable of being more active in your community, then you should seek out ways to help; I feel that my skill set lends itself to the Select Board. Helping to shepherd our town towards the most beneficial and productive future is exactly what I want to be doing for Tewksbury.
My experience with municipal budgetary and policy items, as well as extensive knowledge pertaining to other issues that often arise within a community and end up before the Board, give me the ability to modulate and balance with a high level of responsibility and professionalism.
2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.
I was born in Lawrence and grew up in Burlington (class of 1994). I raised my four beautiful children in Wilmington for 18 years before moving to Tewksbury. When I am not working or attending my childrens’ various activities, you can usually find me walking our three dogs or planning some home renovation project or another.
3. What is your education?
I have a BS in Business Communications from Bentley University and a JD from Suffolk University Law School.
4. What is your “day job,” and how do your past or current professional experiences prepare you for service on the Select Board?
For the past 6 years, I have been an attorney for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Prior to that, I had a private law practice, focusing primarily on child welfare law. I have also owned a small real estate brokerage company, assisting both buyers and sellers as their agent.
My career has honed my natural abilities at conflict management and resolution. I spend every day in highly emotionally, highly volatile situations where I am expected to maintain professionalism and a level head, all while accomplishing a solution in the midst of conflict.
5. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in the next three years as a Select Board member? What is your platform? (feel free to include a link to your website or Facebook page)
Two words could answer both questions: Responsible growth. In the next three years, I would expect our town to realize the completion of repairs on the Rt. 38 corridor, as well as repairs to the other roadways currently creating issues for our commuters. With the improvement to the roads, I would contend we could then actively recruit new businesses into the town in a responsible, thoughtful way; given our close proximity to both Rt. 93 and Rt. 495 we sit at a significant advantage.
With that done, we would have an increase in our commercial tax base that could afford our town the ability to continue improving and strengthening our infrastructure.
Learn more at my Facebook page, Jomarie Buckley for Select Board, or you can email me at Jfab0830@gmail.com.
6. How do you define your budget priorities if tough decisions have to be made?
If tough decisions were to be made, we would need to look closely at our current expenditures. Like running your own household, the basics of a budget are spending for necessities versus luxuries and making sure your income exceeds your expenditures. I would evaluate the budget with my colleagues and the community to determine what sacrifices would be required.
7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team?
Since moving to Tewksbury my greatest joy has been working as a volunteer at the Tewksbury Community Pantry, where my husband is a long-time Director and former President. The mission statement is simple, and the atmosphere is one of true giving. What I get to see is not only the incredible teamwork of the volunteers, but it’s the sense of togetherness shared by a much larger group of people than only those whom the pantry serves.
Tewksbury is a generous and caring town, and nowhere else is that sense of generosity more on display than at the TCP. Seeing the donations that help keep the pantry alive and our most vulnerable families fed is a constant reminder as to why I am so proud to call Tewksbury my home.
8. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Tewksbury, and how will you address it?
The biggest challenge facing Tewksbury is maintaining the small-town atmosphere while keeping up with the present day growth that is expected in our community. We have had lots of residential growth, and we continue to need more affordable housing to attract young families to our town as well as work to keep our senior population here when they choose to downsize.
We need to support the businesses in town that have had to endure the last few years in a pandemic and promote new businesses that would positively impact the town and taxpayers. We also need to deal with post-pandemic social-emotional issues. Over the last few years, there have been many movements affecting our community, commonwealth and nation as a whole. We are dealing with the unmasking of our citizens and adapting to whatever the new “normal” looks like. These adjustments will take time and consideration, and we need to find the balance between the inclusivity we are striving for with the traditions we respect and want to continue to honor.
9. Do you support the new DPW facility? Why or why not?
Yes, I support the construction of a new DPW facility. My work at the Tewksbury Community Pantry has me spending a good amount of time within the DPW compound, so I see, firsthand, the conditions of the buildings. What I appreciate the most was the ability of the town to get this project funded without having to engage in a debt-exclusion. If that did not remain to be the case, I would want to review the proposed financing to ensure we had fulfilled some other debt obligations prior to taking on any new ones so that the taxpayers would not need to face any increases.
10. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?
I am an experienced candidate. I was a Selectwoman in Wilmington before moving to Tewksbury, and I know the difficulties and needs of a town of our size and with our budget. I know the structure of town government and I know the voice of the citizens. My day job is one of conflict resolution, and I am not hesitant about working-out difficult solutions within a stressful environment.
Tewksbury is in transition, and I want to help my town continue to find its future without forgetting the importance of its past.