The May election for Westford’s Board of Selectmen has taken shape with the announcement that former School Committee member Don Siriani will be a candidate for office. His entry assures the start of a competitive contest.
“I am proud to be part of a family that has lived in Westford for many generations and I want to make sure that the town remains a great place to live, work, and raise families for generations to come,” said Siriani. “I have been helping people in town for years and now I think I should serve Westford in the most comprehensive way that I can.”
Siriani's decision to engage came after attending a recent Westford League of Women Voters presentation which featured a panel of active citizens prompting potential candidates to run.
“By stepping forward, I can give voters a choice and a voice,” he said.
Siriani was an elected member of the School Committee until 2005, he soon thereafter became President of the Westford Kiwanis. Years on, he continues as the President of the non-profit organization which provides community-service grants and student scholarships, financial support for community-service projects and youth arts programs, to elders in need and to others experiencing financial hardship.
“My grandfather-in-law, Ellsworth Jewett, was a founding member and he was a driving force in renewing the Apple Blossom Festival that originated in 1935. What began as a way of celebrating industry and community has also bloomed into a way of recognizing and honoring outstanding Westford citizens,” said Siriani. “The Kiwanis members are so selfless and giving. My wife Debi and I are happy that our 16 year old twin sons, Joey and David, are the fourth generation in our family to help the Kiwanis make the Apple Blossom come to life every spring.”
Siriani enjoys participating in local Boy Scout activities with his twin sons. “We love what Scouting offers families, there are so many opportunities to learn, grow and be a genuine contributor,” said Siriani. “I am enormously proud of the adult leaders of Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops in Westford because they infuse a spirit of community and responsibility that lasts a lifetime.”
A long-time legislative director and chief of staff in the Massachusetts State Senate, Siriani has developed an extensive history of successful policy development and municipal advocacy. Having worked for Democrat and Republican Senators, he has been involved in the development of 19 state budgets which set funding levels for police, fire, library, school and other municipal accounts. As a member of the School Committee, Siriani helped write three budgets for the Westford public schools. Additional fiscal experience was garnered at Salem State College where Siriani served on the Finance Committee as a member of the college's Board of Trustees.
While earning a bachelor of science in psychology, Siriani was selected to serve under Chairman Paul Tsongas as Vice Chairman of the Student Advisory Council of the state’s Board of Regents of Higher Education.
As a student, Siriani met his wife Debi while organizing a state-wide lobbying effort to generate support for public education. She is the Director of Human Services and Senior Center Director for the town of Chelmsford. “My work led to a State House rally which was also my first date with Debi,” said Siriani. “We shared a commitment to teach others how to come together for the public good, and years later that passion led me to propose to her on the State House lawn.”
After accepting a State House job working for the Chairman of the Education Committee, Siriani began conceiving and authoring several bills that became law including; a state directive that makes it easier for smaller communities to access state grants; legislation which replaced 9,000 defective bulletproof vests worn by state and local police officers; the law that grants free higher education, including room, board, fees and tuition, for children of fallen armed service members since September 2001; the state’s Nursing Mothers Protection Act, and enhancements of the Community Preservation Act. He also helped to pass into law more than 100 local bills for communities in the 3rd Middlesex Senate District.
In 1995, Siriani laid the groundwork for the creation of the Route 495 Technology Corridor Initiative which fosters collaboration between federal, state and municipal governments, local chambers of commerce, and business leaders. He was the chief of staff to the Senate Chairman of the Municipalities Committee. The Senator hosted the State House Local Aid Lobby Day which factored into dropping the Lottery Aid cap and increasing funds to cities and towns.
“I truly believe that the best government is one that is closest to the people, and the most effective elected officials are the ones that are willing to do more listening than talking. You need to really put in the effort, years worth of time, to become infused with the knowledge of what people want and need,” said Siriani. “Good government at every level only comes about when prospective leaders have first taken the time to listen and learn before they attempt to lead. I have.”
Pointing to concerns about the town’s future fiscal and planning challenges, Siriani says his campaign will emphasize teamwork and transparency in governing. “I have been very fortunate to have worked with many outstanding people to make things better for our seniors, our children, our homeowners, our local business, and our environment. Bringing people together is what my campaign is about.”
Siriani will host frequent opportunities to meet with voters throughout the campaign. The Spring town election will be held on Tuesday, May 6.
Submitted by Don Siriani campaign.