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Letter: Learning on the job

As the newest selectboard member in Conway, in office for seven months now, I am learning some valuable lessons of late. I am learning that my well-intentioned actions to gather information on a long debated issue in Conway — where to put a new highway garage — can generate a lot of newspaper articles. I’ve learned that those articles can generate a lot more discussion when the reporter chooses to quote people calling me too energetic for our town, untrustworthy, and immoral. I’ve learned that I can answer a question from a reporter and then read in an article the next day that I ignored her question. I’ve learned that you need to develop a thick skin if you want to serve your town as a selectboard member, and, yes, I’ve learned that slowing down and spending more time at home and less time in the town office is a great idea. The best lesson, of course, is learning that newspaper articles can inform the public, generate debate, and stimulate discussion; that a free press and engaged citizens are crucial to the governance of a town; that generating newspaper articles, especially if they are viewed by some as “bad press” for your town, can earn you a lot of thank you calls from the next town over.

RICK BEAN

Conway Selectboard member

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