DRACUT: The End of an Error: Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

By: Philippe Thibault – 4/24

The Dracut municipal election is scheduled for May 4th. I hope the citizens remember to vote. Most often the days following the election I hear people remark, “don’t we vote on Tuesday,” “the elections are in November aren’t they?” and “there was an election!”

Whether intentional or not, and I believe it to be apathy, most people will not know or not care about the upcoming election. A Republic is getting the government the populace deserves. Although, I do not find it difficult to be overly interested with Selectman like Alison Genest, Jennifer Kopcinski, or soon to be retired Joe DiRocco.

Joe DiRocco is finally keeping his word and not seeking re-election for a sixth term. He has made that claim for several of the past elections and unless he is running a clandestine write in campaign, May 4th will be his last day as Dracut Selectman.

To the dismay of some, including Brian Genest who is probably roasting me as “the professional loser” finally getting the message from the voters of Dracut, I decided to watch this election from the sidelines. Mr. Genest will most likely mention my name with the over under set at three. Nobody wanted to see another DiRocco Thibault battle, I, more than anyone else. I recall one Candidate’s Debate night when Joe DiRocco questioned my ability to make a judgment on a housing project he had advocated.

Mention Louisburg Square to anyone in Town and watch them roll their eyes. DiRocco had insisted that “experts” had given an okay on the project and its viability to produce housing. “I don’t think an architect is an expert when it comes to those (housing).”

The double take of the moderator was priceless. But that was typical DiRocco. If it was his responsibility, it was someone else’s fault. I will wish him the same farewell he gave to Tami Dristiliaris at her last meeting as a Selectman.

“I’m glad to see you going!”

So, three gentlemen are now looking to fill small shoes with their big feet. A trial by fire for their first term: Dave Martin, Josh Taylor, and Don Plummer. I know the first two more than the latter.

All have had some involvement on various boards in town, and all with equal success. Each has a skillset that makes them qualified for the position. Both Dave and Josh are local contractors, in fact they have worked together until recently. Don is from the high-tech industry with a background in administration.

There was a fourth candidate who “pulled” nomination papers and quickly withdrew from the race. It is speculated that Brian Genest was not confident in the ability of the backed candidate to win, so he coerced a “political newcomer,” tell me if you have seen this movie before, to enter the race. Apparently, this person was not the dupe they previously thought. They will jettison friend and ally to achieve their ends.

I have worked professionally with both Dave and Josh for many years in Dracut. I have been accused many times of a conflict of interest by the very Selectmen who are now supporting Dave, and hypocritically they see no conflict of interests in their candidate.

I am not suggesting that there is a conflict of interest nor am I insinuating that any of the candidates would act unethically. I am illustrating the lengths the existing established political structure will go to maintain power. These are people who act without moral compass or boundary. Don Plummer remarked on a radio interview about this very topic. The problem with the Board of Selectmen votes always appearing to be a three to two vote is not the divide itself. It is more the vote made by the majority is often to the detriment of Dracut, so as not to allow a potential innovative idea from the minority to thrive.

The citizens of Dracut are at a convergence in time and event that will have far reaching ramifications on the future. There is the status quo or as to quote Selectmen Chair Alison Genest “keep the momentum going.” I caution the physics of momentum most occurs when you are going downhill. Or there is change, not for change’s sake but a reasoned choice to transform. When my sons came to voting age, I asked them to register without demanding they vote.

I never thought it was my duty to demand voting from my children. I believe not voting is also a choice, although the worst choice to make, the greater of the evils.

I challenged my sons to educate themselves on the choices they would make, and I wanted their vote to be their choice.

I see compelling reasons to look at all three candidates; however there needs to be a final decision. My decision may rely more on communal perceptions rather than political aspirations for these elections. Of all the candidates, who would I like to have as a neighbor. Someone who may not necessarily fall into the friend category, but someone I know is there in the neighborhood involved with the community. I believe that gentleman is Josh Taylor.

Josh makes himself available to many people in town who have no one to turn to. I find this admirable above all political traits. It is this quality in a person that should make us want to be better and do more for our fellow citizens and community.

Although not necessarily in the friend category, I see Josh Taylor as that “3:00 am. call”. The person you can telephone at 3:00 am. when you need help and there is no question that they will respond to your plight. It is 2:58 am and Dracut needs to make a call. ◊