Online forum focuses on Dedham mayoral candidates

DEDHAM – With the city’s annual municipal elections fast approaching, Women in Democracy Dedham and the Dedham Junior Women’s Club have organized a virtual, non-partisan forum to meet candidates for the Dedham Parks and Recreation Commission, at the library board and board of health.

The forum, which was hosted via Zoom, took place on March 29. It was moderated by Dedham Town moderator Dan Driscoll and over 80 community members joined the Zoom call.

The questions were selected from a pool of questions submitted by residents. Each candidate had two minutes to respond.

Board of health

The forum opened with statements from Health Council candidates Noreen Guilfoyle and George Wons. As Wons was not present at the forum, Driscoll read a statement he had submitted. Wons has been in the restaurant business for 46 years, is a member of the International Food Protection Association, is active with the USDA, has been an EMT for 10 years and believes he is ready to work with the Food Safety Council. health.

Guilfoyle was present at the forum and read her statement to Zoom participants: “I ask for your vote for a seat on the Dedham Board of Health. As a healthcare professional, I am committed to providing quality healthcare for all. I grew up in Dedham. I graduated from Dedham High. I have a bachelor’s degree from the Mass College of Pharmacy and have worked in a variety of pharmaceutical environments throughout my career in retail, hospital, and home infusion. I worked at all three CVSs in Dedham and was Pharmacy Manager at CVS Bussey Street. I worked in the inpatient pharmacy at the VA Hospital in West Roxbury.

Following:How to Vote in Dedham’s Annual Municipal Elections

“I am a member of Town Meeting, I volunteer for the Norfolk County 8 Medical Reserve Corps, and I serve on the Dedham Girls Softball Board of Directors. In addition, my husband, Dennis, has served on the Select Board for six years, j I have therefore experienced first-hand the time and commitment required to serve on such an important board. This current pandemic has greatly motivated me to offer my skills and expertise to the city as we all eagerly move towards the post-pandemic stage.

Library administrators

After hearing from the health board nominees, Zoom participants listened to statements from the nominees to public library trustees. Robert William Desmond and Annette Raphel are running for the only open seat for a three-year term for directors. Desmond was not present at the forum, so Driscoll read his statement: “Now, as we navigate a new normal, the library is more important than ever. My hope is not just to manage day-to-day operations, but to support library management, contribute institutional knowledge, and work alongside the board.

Raphel is currently a trustee and has been a friend of the library, as “a happy admirer and patron”.

“I have spent almost five decades as a teacher and school administrator. As principal and principal of two schools, I was responsible for library spaces, hiring librarians, overseeing the budget, and collecting print and non-print materials. In each case, our library served as a vibrant hub where children and their families were always welcome for advice, recommendations, book selections, and a host of programs,” Raphel said. “I hope the library will continue to expand its programming to meet the needs of every citizen of Dedham and that it remains a welcoming place for ideas and community gathering.

“I have lived in Dedham for nearly 40 years and have been encouraged by increased diversity, inclusion and creativity. Due to my years in education, I am particularly interested in how we best serve our young people citizens so that they can both benefit from thoughtful changes. we do as well as encourage them to think about how they might contribute as they age. I believe that learning, whether in schools, at the library, the historical society and other places should be a priority.

Driscoll asked Raphel about his vision for the library administrator, expanding programming amid the pandemic, ensuring the library is an inclusive space, and programs to increase media literacy.

“What is your vision for the library administrator role in the future,” Driscoll asked Raphel.

“My vision is to open the library once it is safe to do so, to continue many programs, and to make it as open as possible to community members, whatever their needs,” said said Raphael.

“How are you going to make sure, from your position, that our libraries feel inclusive for people of color? What specific ideas do you have for programming, increased access, hours, resources, etc.? asked Driscoll.

Raphel responded by explaining that the library has an IDEA committee – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility – which works internally on increasing diverse programming. “I’ve spent my life and my studies on equity,” Raphel said.

“A 2018 study by Stanford showed that 82% of middle school students could not tell the difference between real news and paid sponsored articles. What types of educational programs would you recommend to help increase media literacy if you were elected,” Driscoll asked.

“I think that’s amazing information,” Raphel replied. “And there’s a book that was very instrumental in my thinking, called ‘Too Big to Know’, which was about how technology has changed the way we define knowledge. And it was written by someone one who is the head of the Harvard Libraries. The central thesis of the book is that critical thinking is more important than it has ever been, that media literacy is more important than it has ever been. ever been. And I think there’s an opportunity for Dedham Public Library to work more hand in hand with school libraries. And I see that as an opportunity for us to be in a more symbiotic relationship.

“I think we can do a lot to provide programming. Although teenagers are not often encouraged to go to the library to learn about media literacy, we are all involved in professional development as trustees. some of the latest information on how to share media literacy with young students. »

Parks and recreation

After hearing from Raphel, Driscoll posed questions to candidates for the two open seats on the Parks and Recreation Commission. The function of the commission is to oversee any program or function that falls within the jurisdiction granted by the Charter of the City, Parks and Recreation Department.

The candidates are Chuck Dello Iacono, Lisa Farnham and Mona Saltalamacchia. Iacono was not present at the forum due to previous commitments.

Lisa Farnham, candidate for the Dedham Parks and Recreation Commission, at the online candidates forum on March 29.

“During my years as a parent and coach, I have developed many strong relationships with Dedham residents from all parts of the city, and I feel I can make sure their feedback and desires are met. heard and taken into account. Dedham is at a critical juncture in its development, with the development of the new Town Hall, the new Public Security Building and the repurposing of the former Police Station. It is imperative that Parks & Rec have a seat at the table as the city looks to improved wellness and programs that will benefit residents of all ages, from toddlers to seniors,” Farnham said when she was asked why she decided to run for Parks and Recreation. Committee.

Farnham was Dedham Youth Soccer coach for five years, Dedham Youth Basketball coach for seven years, Town Meeting representative for Precinct 5 for five years, Dedham Youth Soccer board member for eight years and a member of the board of directors as secretary of the board of directors for seven years. His priorities for Dedham include implementing an advertising, e-newsletter and social media campaign to ensure residents are aware of all available programs, virtual programming (i.e. i.e. exploring virtual classes until COVID is over, like Zoom Zumba or Zoom Gardening), creating a map of all the city’s parks and open spaces, including a list of amenities at each location, and improving walking paths.

Saltalamacchia agreed with Farnham’s ideas for COVID-friendly programming, especially for seniors. Saltalamacchia would like to see activities such as yoga in the park, small gardening groups, outdoor exercise stations and PickleBall.

“The current Parks and Recreation Board recently voted against adopting a code of conduct. Will you support the adoption of a code of conduct including social media posts? Why or why not?” Driscoll asked Farnham and Saltalamacchia.

Both candidates agreed that there should be a code of conduct for posting on social media.

About the election

The municipal election will take place on Saturday, April 10. Polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All municipal offices are elected at large, with the exception of members of the municipal assembly, who are elected by constituency.

For more information on absentee information and early voting (must apply by Tuesday, April 6, by 5 p.m.), visit

The Dedham Junior Women’s Club financially supports schools and local organizations in Dedham, and offers community events such as the Summer Concert Series at the Endicott Estate, engages in hands-on volunteering events.

Women in Democracy Dedham is a “non-partisan effort committed to involving more women in local politics and educating the public about local government”. To learn more about WINDD and to see its upcoming events, visit