Transparency in Government
Government is most effective when is operates in strong partnership with residents. Ann-Mara’s early experience, witnessing the annual town meetings in Lincoln, MA, instilled in her a strong belief in the power of New England’s unique form of government, which relies directly on the informed voices of citizens. Ann-Mara has been a Town Meeting Member in Wellesley, representing Precinct D, for the past 7 years, where she has used her voice to support issues, such as security in the public schools, increased town mental health services, and the recent climate resolution. Additionally, through her work with the League of Women Voters of Wellesley (Vice President for past 9 years), Ann-Mara has worked to open up access to government.
In 2012, she took the LWVW annual election guide on-line, making Wellesley the first town in Massachusetts to use Vote411.org for local elections. In 2017, she created the “Wellesley Meet-Up,” an annual opportunity for residents to engage in informal conversations with elected officials.
Good financial decisions are based on well thought out plans. For over 13 years, Ann-Mara has used her financial training (M.B.A., The Wharton School) to create strategic plans and responsible budgets for the Wellesley Free Library. She served on the Town’s Unified Plan Steering Committee and worked with the Town’s Finance Department to analyze the impact of potential union settlements.
There is nothing more important for our future than an educated society. Public schools and free libraries are partners in this endeavor. As a product of public schools, Ann-Mara understands the value that they provide. Teachers are their heart, but children also need adequate facilities. It was the threat to Wellesley’s schools and library that brought Ann-Mara to town politics. In 2006, when services of both were put on the chopping block, Ann-Mara fought for the school override, believing that the library was safe. It wasn’t. So, Ann-Mara took on the battle to save the library. She co-chaired the successful campaign to Reopen the Branch Libraries, and was then elected as a Library Trustee. Today, the branch libraries have been reimagined as a
children’s learning space and a cozy reading room - their futures secure. Ann-Mara was recognized for this effort by being selected for Wellesley’s 2009 Townsman 10. Ann-Mara has been a Trustee of the Wellesley Free Library for 13 years, supporting the creation of budgets, leading the strategic planning efforts, helping with the transition to a new library director, and securing town funding for the upcoming interior renovation of the main library, ensuring patrons will be effectively served for the next 25 years. Reengaging with the public schools, Ann-Mara served as the liaison to the School Building Committee and engaged in HHU discussions. In her private life, Ann-Mara chaired the religious school committee at Temple Beth Elohim.
Housing and Sustainability
A vibrant town includes many housing options, enabling people of diverse economic, social, and cultural backgrounds to be part of the fabric of the community. Last year, Ann-Mara founded the group Building a Better Wellesley with likeminded residents, to be the positive voice for thoughtful housing development. This group is working with Wellesley’s town government to address the housing challenges of living in our wonderful community – challenges created by skyrocketing housing prices and the disappearance of Wellesley’s small house inventory. Building a Better Wellesley strives to address the housing needs of Wellesley’s seniors, town employees, and future young families. The group advocates for attainable, sustainable housing options, such
as housing on transportation routes. Ann-Mara has also joined the Town’s Housing Task Force, working with members of the Select Board’s office, Planning Department, Wellesley Housing Authority, and Community Preservation Committee to implement initiatives outlined in the Town’s Housing Production Plan. Ann-Mara’s commitment to protecting the environment dates from her childhood, hiking in the White Mountains, attending Massachusetts Audubon overnight camp, and recycling with her family. She co-chaired the Environmental Program at Schofield Elementary School. Her husband proudly drives his 2012 Signature Series Tesla. Most recently, Ann-Mara spearheaded an effort to create a children’s learning garden of native plants at the Fells Branch Library. This garden will be an important link in Wellesley’s butterfly corridor.
Equality and Justice
Every person brings a unique voice and value to our community. Ann-Mara’s dedication to strengthening Wellesley through the inclusion of different perspectives in the conversation extends beyond her work in housing. She believes that collaboration – giving all stakeholders a seat at the table – results in better outcomes. In a nation divided on many issues, Ann-Mara likes to bring people together to discuss, sometimes difficult, topics. In 2018, Ann-Mara led a community wide conversation on transgender equality, co-sponsored by eight organizations. In 2020, she organized a panel discussion of Wellesley’s housing challenges, co-sponsored by ten organizations. At Temple Beth Elohim, she is on the social action leadership team and an active member of the Racial Justice Initiative.