I am writing to support Stu Sklar's candidacy for selectman. I served on the School Committee with Stu for almost three years and gained enormous respect for his passionate advocacy of Harvard's schools, as well as his contributions to the community as a whole. Stu brings an admirable tenacity to his public service; when he takes on an issue, he is exhaustive in researching options, gathering data, collecting perspectives inside and outside Harvard, and broadly communicating his approach. When engaged in vigorous debate on contentious issues, Stu maintains his sense of humor and is open to reasonable compromise.
Stu understands that there are many stakeholders in town with diverse priorities, including excellent schools, quality of life, safety, robust cultural and athletic organizations, senior programs, housing diversity and affordability. He is experienced in both town government and suburban advocacy groups (Stu served as an officer of the Suburban Coalition to voice legislative priorities and funding formulas to benefit suburban towns like Harvard) and is realistic about the town's financial sources and uses.
Within Harvard, the political landscape often gets reduced to a series of misleading binary choices (e.g. a vote for asset preservation will take money from the schools). Instead of pitting one priority against another, Stu always looks outside of the box for ways to fund more programs and services without burdening taxpayers. Whether negotiating skillfully with MassDevelopment for the Devens education contract or building relationships with state government officials, Stu's vision has always been to explore all options for supplemental revenue or alternative approaches before sacrificing Harvard's priorities.
Local government processes can often be a byzantine maze of bylaws, applications and approvals. In addition, boards need to work transparently towards consensus. "Getting things done" isn't always as simple as it sounds. I trust that, as a selectman, Stu will bring the experience, energy and commitment needed to work within those constraints to advocate for the kind of town that many Harvard residents desire -- one that balances prudent investment in a vibrant community with financial restraint. I hope you'll join me in voting for Stu Sklar on April 30.