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Miller/My Turn: I'll be an advocate for Precinct 6, Greenfield

My name is Chris Miller, and I am running for Town Council in Precinct 6. I feel honored to be running in such an important set of town elections this year, all five seats are being contested for the first time since 2008. Greenfield has a real opportunity to change this year and I hope that you as the voter recognize this and choose wisely.

I am running for Town Council because I want to see Greenfield improve as a community; and I strongly feel that I can be an agent for change in Precinct 6. I was born in Greenfield, and attended Greenfield public schools. All told, I have lived here for over 20 of my 32 years. My opponent has not even lived in Massachusetts, let alone Greenfield, for very long.

I want to be a town councilor who focuses on the important issues like economic development and job creation. My opponent focuses on banning plastic bags. She has meetings about plastic bags, she holds hearings on plastic bags, she drafts ordinances on plastic bags and she writes letters to the editor when The Recorder misstates her level of commitment to banning plastic bags. Rather than focusing on plastic bags, I would put that energy into more important issues, like the heroin crisis in Greenfield. In my work as a life insurance agent, I have a unique opportunity to meet with people and discuss many pertinent issues in short time frame, not once has anyone expressed concern about plastic bags. They do tell me about their desire to raise a family, get a better job, and be able to retire in comfort.

Town councilor is a very important position. Town councilors do have the power to enact ordinances, but they also fulfill other very important functions. They confirm mayoral appointments, meet with representatives from high levels of government and establish our budget.

As a town councilor, I intend to be your representative in town government. To me, that means being your advocate in those matters that are most pertinent to your life. This means focusing on finding the money to fund our schools, police force, firefighters, and other municipal services without needing to raise taxes. It means working with fellow councilors to find common ground, not bickering during a meeting.

It also means supporting business growth in Greenfield with policies that attract business, as opposed to scaring it away. Ordinances that are thinly veiled attempts to discourage “big box” development often times end up damaging small businesses more than any hypothetical “threat” that a large retailer poses. I intend to represent this town to the best of my abilities, which means focusing on what’s truly important to the Town of Greenfield, and, by extension, to you the citizen.

There is an old saying that goes something like this “put the big rocks in the bucket first, and the little rocks afterwards.” If you put the big rocks in first when they are obviously more likely to all fit in the container. But it also does not ignore the little rocks, rather they fit into the spaces between the larger rocks and thus ultimately fit in as well. If you take care of the big important issues first then the rest of the smaller issues become easier to solve. Abundant jobs and vibrant businesses, all over downtown Greenfield and the outskirts as well, provide extra tax revenue, which lowers the burden of real estate taxes. Lower unemployment means more residents staying in Greenfield and working there as well, which means fewer people seeking drugs as an answer to their problems. More jobs in Greenfield also means fewer residents having to commute; which enables them to have more time to be active in their religious community, serve on a town commission, or volunteer their time in a local civic organization. Properly funded municipal service ensure good education, safe neighborhoods, and a well-maintained infrastructure. If we focus on these issues first, we will have fewer small issues to deal with, and thus those will have been taken care of as well.

I am asking for your vote on June 10 at the Grange Hall on 401 Chapman St.; if you want to elect a town councilor who has the knowledge and local experience to be an asset to the development of the Town of Greenfield.

Chris Miller is a candidate for Precinct 6 on the Town Council.

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