By Hiroko Sato
GROTON -- After serving six years on the Board of Selectmen and 21 years on the Planning Board before that, Anna Eliot said public service is her way of life.
Fellow Incumbent Selectman Peter Cunningham also hopes to continue to share his experience and knowledge with residents by serving on the board for his seventh term.
In the meantime, Shane Grant, a construction-sales professional, believes being a political newcomer would help him represent the voice of residents. And Barry Pease, director of sales and marketing at a local musical-instrument company, hopes to use his business experience to help lead the town.
The four candidates for the Board of Selectmen come from different walks of life and motivations in seeking elected office. They all said last Thursday night, however, that working closely with the School Committee to help manage educational spending would be their top priority as a selectman.
"We've got to work together," Pease said, representing the sentiment of all the board candidates.
Candidates for the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, the Groton Water Commission, the Groton Electric Light Commission and the Board of Library Trustees touted their views and skills on Thursday night as Groton Republican Town Committee and Groton Democratic Town Committee co-hosted the Candidates Night.
This year's town election features five contested races involving 14 candidates. Three of the four library-trustee candidates did not show up at the debate, however, with only Barbara Lamont of Peabody Street attending. Seeking one open seat on the Water Commission are incumbent Commissioner James Gmeiner and Selectman Joshua Degen of Martins Pond Road.
Gmeiner, of Longley Road, and other commissioners have rejected the proposal for chemical pond treatment to deal with weed infestation. Degen has claimed, however, that the commission has based the decision on faulty data and wants a study on the treatment conducted.
Olin Lathrop of Sunset Road and Bruce Easom of Martins Pond Road are seeking spots on the Light Commission.
Seeking one open seat on the School Committee are political newcomers Jeffrey Kubick of Boston Road and Brian LeBlanc of Integrity Way. Kubick, a company executive, said he hopes to apply his business knowledge to help the School District operate efficiently and set priorities for educational programs.
LeBlanc, a software engineer, said he feels passionate about education and local politics and said having the new superintendent coming aboard will be a great opportunity to review the operation and set goals.
Grant, of Main Street, said increasing Town Meeting attendance is his other priority while Cunningham of Smith Street said reviewing the town charter is also important.
Eliot of Longley Road stressed the importance of developing plans for unused municipal properties, such as the former Tarbell School building, while Pease of Island Pond Road said partnership among different boards and committees also need to be improved.