WAKEFIELD — Douglas S. Butler, John F. Carney and Allyson Gael Houghton are running for two seats available on the Town Council in the April 23 Town Election. The Daily Item asked the candidates to answer three questions to help our readers as they decide how they are going to vote.

Answers to the first question appear in today’s issue. Answers to the other questions will appear tomorrow.

Please explain why you are seeking election to the Town Council.

DOUGLAS BUTLER: Wakefield today by almost every objective measure is a more desirable place to live than ever. Compared to 20 or 40 years ago, our schools are performing better, our town’s finances are stronger, our townspeople are more prosperous, and our homes are even more valuable. That said, there are issues facing our town that threaten this trajectory. I feel that I have the analytical background, the fiscal understanding of the town, and the independent mindset to question everything, yet be able to work with everyone. The Council needs someone who thinks differently but can work collaboratively with the other members to propel our town forward.  We do not need to look backward with rose colored glasses yearning for a past Wakefield that we cannot recreate.

I have been happy to serve in my appointed position on the Town’s Finance Committee for the past 13 years. I would continue that services but strongly believe the Town Council will be facing issues that have not been faced by our town in more than a decade. These issues include maintaining fiscal discipline in the face of rampant cost inflation, likely slower housing price appreciation, and most importantly the need to find suitable replacements for town leadership positions that are nearing retirement.

JOHN CARNEY: In 2019, I spoke up at Wakefield’s Town Meeting and endorsed changing the town’s elected executive board from Selectman to Councilor at the request of women on the board. After serving my country during the Vietnam era and the town a total 15 years as a Selectman I felt confident that people who lived or moved to our wonderful town felt the same way as I did and would do their share to continue governing our town in the future. 

I contributed to the campaigns of all the women currently serving on the Council and I only made one major mistake! Never once did it ever occur to me to ask candidates running for any office what their feelings were toward the American Flag! The majority of the current Town Council has shown little respect for our flag! Of course, I never asked them if things were reversed would they ever vote for me and as my campaign winds down I know the answer to that.

While I share the sentiment expressed towards the Gay Pride flag and the Juneteenth flag no flag other than the state flag and POW- MIA flag should be in the Panorama view of the flag while we are pledging our allegiance with three exceptions. I filed an article for the town meeting, our legislative body, to create a bylaw stating the above and allowing for the Four-Star General Flag to be flown at the General John Galvin Middle School and the Marine Corps flag to be flown at Colonel James Landrigan athletic field. The Current Council voted to have the Americal flag on the second pole at the Americal Civic Center and I will amend my motion to include their near unanimous sentiment, however only town meeting could add additional flags thereafter if the bylaw is voted in favor of at the upcoming town meeting.

We all have to live with the decisions made by our legislative branch, Town Meeting, but in this case the other two candidates running have succumbed to the Democratic Town Committee’s progressive platform and are supporting the current Town Council policy that allows for the flying of the Pride or Progress flag and the Juneteenth flag in the month of June adjacent to the American flag. The current Council has been quietly doing this for a number of years during Covid. I will encourage a discussion about flying those flags on the Bandstand down on the Lower Common where tens of thousands of visitors will see them as a welcoming gesture from our town. Another possibility would be the Cultural Center on Albion Street. Either would have more visibility than at the Americal Civic Center.

ALLYSON HOUGHTON: I love Wakefield and want to continue to give back. Being a volunteer in many different capacities over the years for different organizations in Wakefield has shown me how important it is to show up and do the work to build our community day by day. Wakefield has many important issues on the table now and coming up in the next few years and I feel that my knowledge and experience could be beneficial in tackling those issues, which is the main reason why I am seeking election to the Town Council. 

Wakefield has so much to be proud of and I want to keep highlighting those aspects while bringing solutions to the areas we need to fix. 

A few of the issues we are facing such as economic development and growth are not necessarily easy to fix and will take a little time. However, I believe out-of-the-box thinking will help us move forward. I would like to be able to bring new ideas to the table. 

We are also looking at other topics that will span the next few years. One being a search for a new town administrator in the upcoming years. This is something that should involve thought, planning, and an idea of what we want to see as the future of Wakefield. 

We will continue to face the topic of development. While it can help grow the community, it needs to be done strategically in ways that will help develop the overall community and add to economic growth.

I am so grateful to have met so many new people during this campaign and look forward to meeting more. If elected, I want to make sure all our community members are represented, from our new families to our seniors. Each resident will have different concerns and challenges at each stage of their life and Wakefield should be assessable and accommodating to all residents. I want to keep Wakefield moving forward with thoughtful and strategic planning and development. 

I would be honored to serve Wakefield as a Town Councilor and think I could bring a new voice and perspective to the Council. 

Tomorrow the candidates respond to questions about the town’s financial situation and the MBTA Communities multi-family housing district plan.