My name is Virginia Malouin and I am a candidate for the Board of Health seat in the upcoming election. I am writing to ask for your support.

The Board of Health is a very powerful board in town. The decisions of the board can greatly affect your individual lives. If a decision is made that you do not agree with, there is no other town board to whom you can go to seek a reversal. The Board of Selectmen cannot reverse the BOH decision. Your recourse is the courts. It is also important to note that the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health, of which Pepperell is a member, acts as an agent for the performance of many duties under the supervision of our local board. To put it simply, the buck stops at the three-member BOH, not Nashoba.

Therefore, I caution you to scrutinize the credentials of each candidate and to think very carefully before you cast your vote.

I have previously served on the Board of Health as a member and chairperson. Because of my professional background, I am in the position to add diversity to the current board.

I am a registered nurse in the commonwealth. I have a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from New England College. I have had years of public health and school nursing experience, which included negotiating contracts. I am now retired and have the time and energy necessary to devote to the needs of the BOH and to you, the residents.

If elected, I will carefully review the services we are receiving from Nashoba. The present board succeeded in securing a reduced yearly assessment. This is a very good thing provided that the reduced assessment does not lead to reduced services. I want to know if the community nursing coverage is adequate to meet the needs of the community. How is Title Five being handled? Are response times adequate?

It is my understanding that in order for schoolchildren to receive dental hygiene services provided under the Nashoba contract that parents have to dismiss their children and bring them to the Peter Fitzpatrick School. Although the BOH does not have full authority in this matter, I will work with the Board of Health and school administration to see if a more convenient way can be achieved so that students can remain at school and parents are not in the position to have to miss work.

Recreational camps for children are regulated by Chapter IV of the State Sanitary Code. All local Boards of Health are required to fill out a reporting form each year that lists all licenses issued to recreational camps in their town and send the form to the MDPH. The purpose of the regulation is to protect the well being of our children who are in the care of recreational camps in Pepperell. In reviewing the minutes of Sept. 25, 2012, I noted that the minutes reflect that Nashoba had only received one application and that usually there are three camps that operate in town. I quote from the minutes: "It's too late now, but we can keep them on the radar for next year." I ask, what happened this year? This is an area from my experience that the chairperson needs to be proactive and aware of what is being offered to the children in town.

I am ServSafe certified. I have inspected several food establishments in the past when the board didn't have a food inspector. Although I expect Nashoba personnel to perform food inspections, I am in the position to work closely with all establishments in town. It is important for the board members to recognize that local eateries have the same goals of providing safe food and a safe environment for the public. By cooperating and working together, we achieve those goals.

One area that is particularly challenging to the board is when an individual or family is living in substandard housing and seems unable to move forward. You have heard the expression that sometimes it takes a village to raise a child. While sometimes it takes the effort of several agencies and volunteer folks in town to make one's living conditions safe, including those of seniors and veterans. I want to tighten those connections so that we can achieve positive change before the affected individuals or families and the Board of Health lose their options. I pledge to you that I will work tirelessly toward that end. Condemnation of one's home must be a last resort measure and the affected person or persons must have a safe haven to go to before the process is completed.

I believe that one should take the commitment of being on the board most seriously. If you check the approved 2012 meeting minutes on the Web, you will find that out of the 20 local BOH meetings held, my opponent, Al Buckley, was absent seven times. For the months of January and February 2013 combined, he missed two out of the five meetings. With only two members present, either they both vote in the affirmative or the measure fails or has to be tabled. Is this what we voters want?

In order to be fully engaged as a member of the BOH, I believe it is important to take continuing-education courses. Since Jan. 1 of this year, I completed four online courses through the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts: "Public Law and Legal Issues in MA," "Hoarding," "Nuisance Control and Abatement," and "Recreational Camps."

If elected I will fully commit myself as a member of the BOH and seek to have the meetings televised by Charter. Thank you for your consideration. Don't forget to vote on April 30. Your vote counts!

VIRGINIA I. MALOUIN

Pepperell