A young man stepped to the microphone. He was a recent Longmeadow High School graduate and former athlete for the School. He wanted to know why the proposal for a field renovation project did not include the same fields as currently exist. Someone from the Parks & Recreation Department tried to address the question. Others rose in concern; citizens amended and then approved the now-changed proposal. This is an example of local citizens exerting their authority as members of the local legislative body.
As Longmeadow High School students followed the national elections with great interest, as several participated in campaigning, and as many 18-year-olds registered to vote and voted in the November election, you did so because you care about the future of our nation. When you come to Town Meeting to deliberate, you demonstrate that same care, but about the future of our town. Our local legislative body deliberates and decides what proposals are approved; like the LHS grad above, you can make changes to proposals, or you can advocate for them. Ultimately, we vote on the big questions: is it wise to spend money this way? How should we use the land we have? What kinds of rules and laws should we have? We learn about the issues before and during deliberation, and we bring our values to guide our decisions. We may even bring our own proposals for the town to consider. Some residents, like some students from the High School, serve the town at Town Meeting.
I invite you to turn your attention to the Annual Town Meeting that we have every spring. This year, Town Meeting will be Sunday, May 16, at 1:00 PM, at the Longmeadow High School Practice Field. If you have questions about how that works or how to be otherwise more involved via volunteering, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. High school students do need not be voters to volunteer. I am happy to talk with you about any questions you have about the process or getting more involved.