Below is the speech presented by Keith Lapointe to a crowd of supporters at the kickoff fundraiser for his campaign at Bella Sarno Restaurant on January 24, 2017
Thank you Mark for that introduction, I am truly humbled by your support. Stacey and Mitch, I have so much respect for what you are doing to support our town and it makes your support for my campaign that much more meaningful.
Thank you to Leo, Shirley and the entire staff at Bella Sarno. And thank you to all of those who came out tonight to make a statement for positive change in our town and thanks to all those who may be watching as we stream on Facebook Live. Finally, I can’t let this opportunity pass without thanking my kids, Reagan and Zach, and my amazing wife Melanie. I hope everyone knows that I do not view this as an individual campaign, but rather a team effort to bring our collective voice to building our future North Attleboro. My family is at the core of my team!
Just a brief introduction, I know many of you know me, but for those that don’t: I grew up in North Attleboro and have spent the vast majority of my life living in town. Before redistricting was a dirty word, it used to happen all the time. Without moving, I went to Martin, Woodcock, and Falls. Then my parents divorced, we moved, and I spent a year at Amvet; before then attending the Jr High School and High School. Melanie and I, we met in High School when we were just 17. We are now married and as I mentioned, we have two kids, Reagan is 10 and Zach is 8; both are at Roosevelt.
Now I want to make sure you understand that just because I am from North Attleboro that does not mean I lack perspective. I have worked for some of the most complex and respected companies in the world, Accenture, Gillette, Procter & Gamble, Covidien which is now part of Medtronic. Through that work, I have had the privilege to live and work all over the United States and the World. I have spent significant time in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Colorado, Minnesota and around the world in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, and China. Those experiences reinforce to me how truly special a place North Attleboro is.
North Attleboro has citizens that are dedicated and hard working. They rally around each other like no place else. We are bound together by something almost spiritual. We have these incredible community assets: WWI Park, WW2 Pool, Mason Field, and the downtown just to name a few. And we have history, real American history. The Little Red School House, the Garrison House and Burial Grounds, Angle Tree Stone among dozens of sites that bring us right back to the founding of our country.
North Attleboro is a spectacular town. Always has been and still is today. People who claim the contrary are not paying attention. We have great schools and every year we send kids to the best colleges, including the Ivy’s and we claim many of our own out there impacting the world. We have strong public defenders, in fact we were just rated the safest town in Massachusetts. Our Fire and Police are second to none.
But in recent years these achievements are not because of our leadership, but rather in spite of it. We are at a cross roads.
I will be a Selectman that represents the best of our community, not the worst. We are positive, we work together, we care about each other, we are fiscally conservative, but love to invest in our community. All of that matters.
Let me take a moment to talk about my priorities:
- First, it goes without saying, economic development and revenue generation is a key priority for us all. But this can’t be done with a narrow focus and must stay true to our vision for our town. The Master Plan is the starting point, not the ending point. I will work to develop detailed tactics, tied to the Master plan that will allow us to deliver results. Also, we must staff a full time position in this endeavor. Determining a way to properly fund it is an immediate priority because ultimately it will pay for itself.
- Second, we need to declare our financial priorities, but we cannot lose sight of how the services in town are interconnected. Schools, Police, and Fire consume 90% of our budget; but they are also the largest drivers of property values. So, everyone in town needs to understand that even if you don’t have kids in the system or don’t plan to need our fire and police heroes; the quality of those services affects your wallet.
- Third, although I think we can agree on the priorities, all the other services matter too. The library, council on aging, veterans, parks and rec, DPW, etc. This entire experience that makes North Attleboro special requires those services too; it is all connected. This highlights why we need to speak with fact and details about our finances and make sure the plan gets us where we want to go.
- Finally, in the process of moving North Attleboro forward, we cannot forget those among us who may be struggling. North Attleboro has a gift of economic diversity. We must figure out how to embrace that without using it as an excuse for why we can’t move forward.
How will we execute against these priorities?
I believe that we are stuck at the moment. And the solution lies with our people. Three behaviors will get us moving again.
- First, I will collaborate. I have built a career working with very complex organizations that require a deliberate and a rational approach to collaboration. I will work without bias with my fellow Board members, other departments, and the voters to develop the relationships need to develop the best ideas. Too often we are asked to choose sides on issues in our town. I believe however that our most important decisions lie on a continuum, not a coin. We need leaders skilled at finding the middle ground that ultimately will allow progress.
- Second, I will communicate. I am open and honest. In my Precinct as an RTM member, I ask residents to provide me their email address. Before and after RTM meetings, I reach out to those that have allowed me sharing the issues and seeking input. On my website, LapointeForNorth.com, you will see an opportunity to sign up for my Newsletter and it is my intention to continue that exact routine as a member of the Board of Selectmen.
- I will innovate, but ensure those ideas are capable of being actuated. Big ideas are not enough, what we really need is a leader capable of developing and executing detailed implementation plans.
Friends, we have a real opportunity here. The Status Quo is not good enough. But sitting in our living rooms complaining about it is not good enough either. And that brings me back to where I started.
North Attleboro is a special place with important advantages.
Our people matter – They are skilled, dedicated and always willing to come together to help each other.
Our infrastructure matters – We sit at the cross roads of New England’s most important highways, we have reliable electricity, low taxes, and all the supporting services required to thrive economically.
Our physical assets matter – our parks, playgrounds, and pool demonstrate the commitment previous generations had to us. We must continue to pay it forward, so that the next generation as the same advantages we enjoy.
We have history, that history matters and we must honor it.
We have a real opportunity for change. I offer a professional style of leadership and am comfortable with ambiguity.
- I will collaborate
- I will communicate
- And I will innovate to actuate
But I need your help. If you leave here tonight and the conversation stops, we have failed. Instead leave here tonight and tell your friends what you heard. Remind them how special all of this is, everything we have in North Attleboro. It matters.
- NORTH ATTLEBORO matters
- Our parks matter
- Our schools matter
- Our safety matters
- Our open space matter
- Our history matters
- Our downtown matters
- Our businesses matter
- Our people matter
Your voice matters and your vote Matters. Please use it to vote for me on February 14th and April 4th.
I will make you proud!