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Get to know your candidates for Hingham selectman

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  April 13, 2012 01:05 PM

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Although there are several contested races in the Hingham municipal election on April 28, none is expected to generate as much interest as the selectmen’s race.

This year, three people are running for one seat, with incumbent John Riley facing Irma Lauter and Bernard Manning, who both have run for selectman before.

“It’s usually a selectmen’s race that will have more people come out than anything,” said Eileen McCracken, Hingham’s town clerk.

Although municipal elections typically don’t draw the high voter numbers presidential elections do, it hasn’t stopped the three candidates from petitioning for the seat throughout town in the last several weeks.

The Globe decided to catch up with the candidates to learn more.

For more information about voting locations and other election questions, click here.

Candidates for Selectman (three-year term)

John Riley – the incumbent
Service to the town: Selectmen for six years (currently serving second term), Planning Board member for 21 years, member of Hingham Police Station Search Committee and other committees.
Civic organizations: Not applicable
Occupation: Member of F. Riley Construction Co., a family business operating in Massachusetts for 40 years.
Education: Graduate of Hingham High School

What do you see as the biggest issue in Hingham today? I think the biggest issue facing the town today is its affordability. I think that it’s becoming more and more difficult for people of modest means to be able to meet the taxes to live in the town. [As a result], the selectmen have focused on directing property tax relief by suggesting using the meals tax revenue as a across the board cut for everybody in the town to offset municipal [expenses]

Why should voters re-elect you? I’ve lived here my whole life, I have a intimate knowledge of the town, its citizens, its infrastructure and its needs. I’ve been an elected official for town government for 27 years, and I always hold the best interests of the town of Hingham first hand.

Irma Lauter – ran for Selectman in 2010
Service to the town: Current member of Government Study Committee, Member of Advisory Committee for six years – including one year as chair, Capital Outlay Committee for two years, liaison to Capital Outlay Committee for four years, member of Cable Advisory Committee.
Civic organizations: Secretary Treasurer and founding member of Boy Scout Pack 52, Troop Treasurer and Committee member for Boy Scout Troop 22 in Braintree, Overseer for South Shore Conservatory, Hingham Library volunteer, member of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Education: BS in systems engineering from the University of Florida; an MS in engineering management from Northeastern University; and attended The Executive Program at the University of Virginia, Darden School.
Occupation: Retired from Nynex and from teaching at Northeastern Business School at night. Currently a part-time usher at Bank of America Pavilion.

What do you see as the biggest issue in Hingham today? The Government Study Committee did a survey… the biggest, by far, hands down, was the cost of living in Hingham. The cost to make the town remain affordable I see as the No. 1 issue, and managing this creative tension between maintaining our historic treasures and the smaller houses we have and bringing in commercial, and growing that end of the town’s tax rolls without turning us into [a more commercial town]. Also doing outreach to people…people moving into large houses, we love them because they bring a lot of tax money, and the people who have been here a long time. I’d like to heal that bridge.

I’m also concerned about what’s going on at the harbor. We moved here in 1970. We started coming to Hingham when we found St. John’s and the harbor. We’ve used it since 1970 and we have one chance to get it right, the mix of development, town business, and open space. It isn’t clear to me what’s really going on down there because so much of town government isn’t being done in the public eye.

Why should voters elect you?:I’ve got the experience, I love this town. I may not have been born here but [my husband and I] will both die here…I have the willpower to do it, and I don’t bring any baggage. I have no IOUs, I have no perceived or real conflicts of interest, and I bring the educational credentials…

I will always be available returning emails, phone calls, and I’m so active in the town I’m easy to find. But I will always be available to people who live in Hingham who want to talk to me.


Bernard Manning – ran for selectman in 2010 and 2011
Service to the town: Member of Board of Directors for Friends of Conservation.
Civic organizations: Not applicable
Previous employment:: Retired as deputy chief of the Massachusetts Attorney General Criminal Bureau, where he worked as a career prosecutor for 15 years. Previously taught at Quincy Point and Northeastern University.
Education: Bachelor's, master's, CAGS from Boston University; LLBJD and LLM from Suffolk University.
What do you see as the biggest issue in Hingham today? I’m working on an article entitled Hingam Selectmen Censor Citizens’ Warrant Articles. I have nine warrant articles to be heard at Town Meeting, and the Hingham Board of Selectmen refuse to publish in the town warrant for the Town Meeting the complete text of seven warrant articles, each submitted by a petition signed by 15 registered voters. [It] indicates unlawful censorship…

It’s been an oligarchy, this operation, and it’s in terrible condition. I was brought up in Hingham and it’s not the same place.

They are attempting now to purchase Aquarion Water Co., but I attended the meeting Tuesday night and they say the cost would be over $100 million. Ridiculous. They build a middle school costing $61 million. They’ve just been spending everyone’s money and the silent majority doesn’t seem to object…

Why should voters elect you? There is nobody who has the qualifications I have. I am the only prosecutor to send a state senator to prison, and I investigated the Department of Education, indicted and successfully prosecuted 20 individuals and five non-profit corporations. Then I taught junior high at Quincy Point, taught at Northeastern University for 12 years in their criminal justice program. There’s no one who can match my experience.

Other contested elections:
Moderator – one year term, one seat:
BERNARD MANNING verses MICHAEL J. PUZO

Municipal Light Board - three year term, one seat:
JOHN A. STODDARD (Candidate for Re-election) verses ROGER M. FREEMAN

Housing Authority - five year term, one seat:
KEVIN C. CONNELLY verses ELIZABETH L. JAMES verses PATRICIA L. NEELY

School Committee - three year term, two seats:
DENNIS C. FRIEDMAN verses PAUL J. GANNON verses BERNARD MANNING

For a full list of races, click here.

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