So, what does this tell us? Well, a couple of things, one, is that the candidates that responded are willing to share their thoughts on a benign question, and "shoot from the hip" so to speak. No prepared statements regarding this issue, or that one. Just a response to a question that we as voters can read, and get a lot more out of than just their answer.
What do we look for in the answers beside just the answer? Well, for one look for the amount of generality, or "over speak" the candidate writes. Generalities are usually thrown into the mix when specifics about an issue are not fully known, and the person writing, or speaking adds other subjects to the original one and attempt to connect them. Just makes for a lot more words, and no real information is obtained. This is a good indicator of how that person performs in similar situations. "Over speak" is similar to generalities. It is often the bluster a politician emits when asked to answer a simple question, and they attempt to with limited knowledge, and fill in the gaps with words completely unrelated to the original question, and go off on tangents. Eventually, they bring it all back around to try to answer the question, but in only a few words. Essentially, 5 minutes of bluster, for a 30 second answer. Politicians are famous for this. Gives a sense of knowledge, and adds a bit of drama to the character. We see this all the time at White House Press conferences.
Now, remember, all I was asking for was one or two paragraphs in answer to the question, and I am not saying that either of the two responses have any "over speak", or generalities in them, that is more of a subjective observation. They are well written, however.
Read each of them once, and then go back and read them again. Keep the original question in mind. How well did each candidate address it knowing that it was already a done deal? Did they stay on target? Did they relate the issue in the question to other improvements they are supportive of? Did they touch on subjects unrelated?
Read into the answers. Remember, the person may be elected to office, and the manner in which they respond to this question is a good indicator on how they will respond to other issues once in office.
Not exactly "rocket surgery", but it can be very telling.
Thank you to both candidates for taking the time to respond. If anything, it shows a commitment to reach out to Sturbridge residents, no matter the venue.
This is a very good thing.
In the interest of public safety, where do you stand on the building of sidewalks on Route 131 from Route 20, to the Southbridge town line? Is this something that can be done with the reconstruction of the road? Considering the number of pedestrians in town, and others that may become pedestrians if there were sidewalks, why would you consider this a good idea, or a bad idea?
James Ehrhard responds:
"I have been very vocal about the importance of sidewalks for quite some time. In fact, my campaign was the first to advocate sidewalks as one of the leading quality of life upgrades Sturbridge should implement when economic conditions allow. One reason that Sturbridge is sought after as a place to live and visit is because of the opportunities to walk through its open spaces. Wells State Park, Westville and the Hines Farm property are the jewels of such recreational opportunities.
As always, do not hesitate to call with any questions, comments or concerns.
--James P. Ehrhard"
Ted Goodwin responds:
"Regarding the question you posted for candidates' response:
I am very much in favor of having sidewalks all along Route 131. This is a great idea for many reasons. Foremost is the issue of safety. Without proper sidewalks, pedestrians are at risk on such a busy street. Sidewalks allow residents and tourists alike to safely take advantage of our beautiful historic common and the businesses and sites up and down Main Street. A major benefit is the visual continuity and ease of movement created by a continuous sidewalk for such a long stretch. It is an important step in creating a walkable downtown, increasing foot traffic to storefronts and providing a place for people to enjoy a walk through town.
The good news is that the project to reconstruct Rt. 131 is approved and set to begin in 2010. This includes sidewalks all the way from Rt. 20 to the Big Bunny Market. I am pleased that as a Board member I was able to provide input on the project. One aspect I felt was a valued extra was to include brick sidewalks throughout our town common. This is a feature that will further unify that district and set us apart from other town commons. In order to go forward with the project, the town staff did an excellent job clearing the legal hurdles and getting all of the easements necessary to widen the road, clean up the curb cuts, and place the sidewalks. I can't wait to see the project begin and look forward to walking there with my family when it is completed.