As a lifelong resident of the town of Southwick, I have seen many changes, but none compared to the lack of civility we are seeing now. It’s unfortunate that the political discourse we see on the national level has come to Southwick. The individuals who are currently seeking my recall have promoted innuendos, conjectures and exaggerations in the hopes of achieving their agenda.
Over the years, I have dedicated myself to doing the best job possible for the citizens of Southwick. We may not always agree on some issues, but I have always based my decisions on what I felt would be in the best interest of our community.
I am very proud of my many years of volunteer service to town government, having served on the Finance Committee, Economic Development Committee, Board of Assessors, Open Space Committee, Southwick 250th Committee, and Select Board.
I am proud of the part I have played with other town officials and volunteers over those years. The one I am most proud of is preserving over 1,200 acres of land that will be protected in perpetuity for future generations. This includes my own family’s farm that will be farmed forever. I applied and was successful for a grant to establish our town beach on South Pond. Also, the protection of Congamond Lakes by bringing sewers to the area, funding for alum treatments and improvements to drainage.
Bringing full-time paramedic service to our citizens that provide better medical emergency services.
Computerization and professional developments to town departments and staff. The regionalization that improves the education and opportunities for our children.
Most important, though, it has been my steadfast commitment to the taxpayers of Southwick. I have worked day and night to help achieve a fair tax rate so that the people who live here will not be forced to move because of that financial burden. This is even more important as Southwick has become a graying community with many people on fixed incomes.
In addition to my government service, I also volunteer my time at the Southwick Recreation Center, the Southwick Grange, the Southwick Rotary Club, and my family’s church. As a member of the Sons of the American Legion, I support all our veterans and their families. I am also a former member of the Western Hampden Board of Governors for Veterans Services and a former board member of the Greater Westfield Red Cross.
I am one member of a three-member board with equal statutory powers. It appears obvious that I am being singled out for political reasons. If not, why aren’t all three members being recalled? Instead of dividing our town, why not bring it together?
Respecting different points of view in a civil manner would accomplish much more.
We enjoy the purest form of government, the open Town Meeting, where every voter has the right to attend, ask questions and vote. The recall petition act that was approved by Southwick voters in 1991 was not meant to settle political differences. Those differences should be resolved at our annual elections, rather than spending precious tax dollars on special elections.
I would like to thank all the numerous Southwick citizens who have called, written, and those who have come to see me personally with their offers of support. This gives me hope that civility and community spirit still make Southwick the greatest place to live.
Russell S. Fox