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Bauchner seeks re-election to Warren Select Board

02/14/2008

{mosimage}Burton Bauchner is seeking election to a second three-year term on the Warren Board of Selectmen. A Yale graduate, Bauchner had a career in business before retiring to pursue additional studies at Yale and NYU; in 2000 he moved to Warren. His wife joined him here in June 2003 after retiring from her career as a professional fund raiser in Philadelphia. They have two children and five grandchildren. 

These past three years on the select board have been interesting. I think I have been able to make a positive contribution to the board and the town. This last year was one of negotiations, serving as lead negotiator for the town in the new Rootswork lease and the new Teamsters Contract. Rootswork has worked its way through some contentious issues and is now moving forward as a stronger organization to the benefit of the town and townspeople.
 
We have been negotiating the town's first contract with the Teamsters Union Local 597; the Union was certified as the exclusive bargaining representative for the Town of Warren Highway Department employees in April 2007.

The right of labor to organize is a fundamental human right. I do not believe it is helpful to question the motivation of the members of the road crew in voting to organize. As a negotiator for the town, I wish to represent the town's best interests, while achieving an agreement that is fair to all parties. I am happy to report that after more than 25 negotiating sessions, we are near a successful conclusion. I am hopeful that the contract, as negotiated, will be beneficial to our employees and to the town.

Many problems can be solved by listening carefully to what people have to say. In my role as a member of the select board I have made it a point to listen to people express their thoughts and opinions. However, the select board is the legislative body for the town and each member must exercise his/her best judgment in voting on the issues that come before us.
 
Some issues have a very long and substantial effect on the nature of life in town. These I believe should be referred to the voters for democratic direction.  That is why I have pushed for an article at Town Meeting concerning the future of our gravel roads. It is unlikely that we would ever wish to pave all the public roads, but there is a reasonable question about a program to reconstruct and pave the main arteries.  Some will argue that this will be a major change in the nature of the town, and they will be correct. The question to be determined at Town Meeting is whether it is a desirable and cost-effective change.

Warren faces a number of challenges in the coming years. Among these will be the pressure for growth in the town and the challenge of managing it wisely. We need to continue to provide the best possible education for our children while realizing that the townsfolk do not have an unlimited capacity to pay taxes. We need to investigate all possibilities for economic efficiencies while maintaining quality education. Our system of American democracy is under serious stress; it will certainly fail if we do not educate the next generations. The globalized economy is a fact; quality education is a necessity.

We need to pay serious attention to the creation of a diversity of housing, business and employment opportunities in the town and The Valley. We need to balance the rights and needs of property owners with the larger needs of the community and our environment. In the larger scale of things, each of us is here for only a short time. We should not poison the air, water and earth as we pass through. We need to encourage environmentally and economically sustainable development so that current residents and future generations can live good lives here.
     
The select board must continue to address the basics of maintenance of town roads, buildings and other facilities, within the scope of the Town Plan. Many of the issues facing the town also confront The Valley as a whole. We will need increasing cooperation between the Valley towns. As a small example, we need to purchase a significant piece of equipment that is used only irregularly: a wood chipper capable of handling a fair size tree. We are seeking a joint venture with other Valley towns.

On a national scale, I think it a national disgrace that we do not have a viable system of medical care accessible by all Americans. I am opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to the insidious pressure to expand them into Iran and Pakistan. I object to many of the provisions of the U.S. Patriot Acts, to presidential signing statements and to blatantly political manipulation of our judicial system. I do not believe we can save our country by destroying our traditions of individual freedom and democracy or by honoring our Constitution only when it suits our political purpose. I would never have believed that the use of torture would ever be under public discussion in the United States.

I am in favor of public funding of elections to avoid the notion of "the best Congress money can buy" and the undue influence of special interests. I am in favor of a fair system of taxation that encourages the growth of the middle class and the small businesses that have been the strength of our country and our economy. I am opposed to tax policies that promote the concentration of wealth in the hands of very few. I do favor revisions in Social Security but not its privatization. I know most of these issues have little to do with the select board, but people whom I am asking to vote for me have a right to know how I think and what I believe.

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