Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm not exactly in 7th heaven here.

Rats! I just checked with the town clerk. I'm number 7 out of 9 in the list of names.

Oy! If I was in the first 6, I could count on some default votes because some people just check off the first 6 names.

Phooey! If I was last, I could make my sole sign say "Last but not least". But what do you do with 7th? How does one make 7th place a good spot? I'm open to suggestions. (Okay, not just open to them, pleading for them really.)

Maybe I should find out who is number 8 is and we can run a joint campaign. A lousy place on the ballot candidates.

Of course he or she could do an “Eight is Great” campaign. Phffft! The only things that rhyme with “Seven” are “Kevin” or “Leven”.

My 249 word essay as submitted

Hi All,

Please find below what I submitted for publication. Whether it gets published and how it looks in the end are now in the hands of the Newspaper Spirits.


I am running for Town Meeting Representative in Precinct 5. Even though I pay attention to the newspapers, watch meetings on the cable access station, read the town’s website and have been known to go to meetings and ask a question or two at the microphone, I still don’t always feel I understand enough about what is happening in our town. I have the impression that a lot of other people feel the same way.

Some folks might think of me as just another “soccer mom” to four children. Yes, depending on the season, you could also call me a “scout mom” or a “swim mom” or “wrestling mom.” I do think one of Chelmsford’s great strengths is how personally involved parents are with their children.

I am also a person that believes in transparent and participative government. I think that our community at large needs to know more and to have more input into the process. I will continue to pay attention to what people are thinking about, to keep asking questions until I get answers, and to keep people informed about what I learn.

My promise is to form opinions on issues only after I have done the necessary research on the issue. I am keeping a blog about running and hopefully participating as a town meeting representative (

I hope I can have one of your votes for town meeting representative in Precinct 5 on Election Day.

Thank you,

Elaine MacDonald
15 Reid Road

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Election on a shoestring

Hi All,

How does it feel running for Town Meeting Representative in Precinct 5? A little scary I must admit. There are nine people running for six spots. Six of the people running are incumbents and some of these people I either know or know by reputation to be good folks.

I'll be thrilled to come in 6th since my campaigning will be limited to a home-made sign made by a couple of my artistic children being held by me outside of the Byam the day of the election. (I think my wonderful mum will stop by so I can run to the loo in the middle of the day.)

I can't really justify the expense of a lawn sign or other professional sign with the economy being what it is.

I'm currently working on trying to write Chelmsford Independent’s "Why vote for me?" in 250 words or less. A good friend and really detail-oriented person wants me to down play the "soccer mom" aspect of the essay and play up my former career as technical writer who tenaciously tracked down information. Quite frankly, my skills of extracting information from unwilling subjects has not exactly atrophied during my sojourn as a stay-at-home mom, in fact it has improved. My four children will testify to that.

However, as a former technical writer, I can tell you it is much, much harder to write something short and to the point than something longer.

With 250 words or less you have to stick to the dullest of facts. While it is okay to state "I served on the Solid Waste Trash and Recycling Committee", you don't get the room to say "While on the Solid Waste Trash and Recycling Committee, I learned that trash disposal is way more flippin’ complicated than anyone would think and huge political hot button in Chelmsford. I was surprised by that.”

On Monday, I'll be going down to the town clerk’s office to see where I land in the ballot listing. I am hoping either to be first or to be last. Last would be cool! Think of the possible tag lines!

"Vote for EMM! Last but not least!

"Save the best for last!"

Well this was fun! Sigh, Back to a very dull essay, which will probably get a strange edit or two in it. Nearly everything I’ve written to newspapers has had crucial words mysteriously disappear from the final edit therefore changing the meaning completely.

(In case you are curious the post above was 408 words.)