The Town of Wellesley depends on the active participation of its citizens in governance of the Town. Wellesley has 11 Boards and Committees on the ballot at the Annual Town election each year in March. The 2019 election will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Contested race: Natural Resources Commission (NRC)
It is the mission of the Natural Resources Commission to provide stewardship of, education about, and advocacy for the Town of Wellesley’s parks, conservation, recreation and open space areas so the full value of the Town’s natural assets can be passed onto future generations.
There are five members on the NRC Board. Vice Chair Raina McManus’ term expires in 2019. She is running as an incumbent, and Jim Miller is running against her for the three-year term.
We invited the two to answer a few questions about their qualifications and their priorities for the Town of Wellesley. Today’s post features Jim Miller. Raina McManus was featured in yesterday’s post.
Jim Miller, Candidate for the NRC Board
The Swellesley Report: What is your background and what qualifies you for this position?
Jim Miller: I serve on the Board of Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, where I work with Dr. Jim Hansen, the world’s most respected climate scientist, and Bill McKibben, environmental activist and founder of 350.org, in the fight against global warming. I am the author of the “Clean Energy and Shared Prosperity Act”, which Dr. Hansen presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2014 during his testimony about the dangers of global climate change. I also serve on the Board of Our Children’s Trust which is litigating the climate change crisis as a human rights issue and will be featured on 60 Minutes on Sunday, March 2nd.
Sw: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your three-year tenure on the NRC?
Miller: My top priority is to make NRC a more collaborative partner and build coalitions with other boards in town and the broader community. I view environmentalists, civic and business leaders, schools, and the sports communities as allies and would be a bridge to bring them together. As part of our commitment to make our open spaces safe, beautiful, and accessible to all generations, I would partner with key stakeholders to increase the town’s tree canopy, fix gas leaks, and promote clean energy and energy efficiency in our schools, municipal buildings, businesses and private homes. Wellesley has the highest participation rate of any sports program in Massachusetts.
NRC needs to ensure that there are enough playing fields for the hundreds of teams and thousands of children playing sports. As part of this effort, I would prioritize ensuring that the girls’ playing fields are of equal quality as the boys’ playing fields. Wellesley should aspire to be powered 100% by clean, healthy, renewable energy and NRC should lead by example by installing energy efficient, environmentally friendly LED lights at NRC owned playing fields including WHS Stadium. This strategy would reduce the towns energy consumption and create much needed field time for the 28 WHS sports teams that would like to practice and host games in the Stadium. Lighting the Stadium also creates a safe place for Wellesley residents to walk and run at night, particularly during the fall, winter, and early spring. I would provide Wellesley residents age 60 and over free admission to all town sporting events, making WHS Stadium an intergenerational gathering space for students, parents, and grandparents.
Sw: What is your hot-button issue?
Miller: I think climate change possess the greatest threat to Wellesley’s natural resources but I do not think of it as a hot-button issue. The strategies I would pursue to fight climate change are also things that will make the town more beautiful, our properties more valuable, our families healthier, our air and water cleaner, our open spaces more accessible, and will build a stronger community where we can live healthy and happy lives doing the things we love.
Sw: How much of a role do you think the NRC should play in shaping environmental policy outside of Wellesley?
Miller: My work with Jim Hansen, Bill McKibben, and Our Children’s Trust is focused on shaping environmental policies at the state, national, and international levels. I am interested in serving on Wellesley Natural Resources Commission because I think
Wellesley has the potential to lead by example that other communities can emulate.
Sw: How do you think the North 40 should be utilized?
Miller: The purchase of the North 40 is an exciting, once in a generation opportunity for the town. I support the current strategy of coming together as a community to decide how the North 40 can be best utilized to enhance our lives.
Sw: Is there anything else you would like to say that the above questions did not cover?
Miller: I have been an active resident of Wellesley for 20 years. My wife, Krisann, works as a nurse for the Wellesley Health Department and Wellesley Public School and our three children have attended Wellesley Public Schools. I served on advisory committees for Wellesley Public Schools strategic plan and key hires. I have coached youth soccer in Wellesley for the last 15 years. I am the CEO of RxMapper, a precision drug information platform developed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic. I plan to bring the same collaborative leadership to NRC.
Sw: How should voters reach you if they want more information?
MORE: Wellesley election 2019