Well the people of Egremont made a very important decision on November 4th. We said that we are going to take back control of our town. We are not going to leave our town’s affairs to be decided by a small group of people with their own agenda. Town government works best when more people participate. This can only happen when a majority of the town’s people get together and decide what is best for the town as a whole. They do this at regular elections and when they meet together as fellow legislators at a town meeting to discuss the issues that affect the town and vote on those issues. Then the town officials are directed to implement these mandates.
There are many who say the CPA was a very divisive issue and it was; but then every issue is divisive or it’s not an issue. However, we can’t use divisiveness as a reason to not talk about controversial issues. Rather we must discuss these issues with mutual respect, understanding that we are divided on the issue. Personally I think this brought more people together than it divided; otherwise this high of a turnout would have been impossible. People discussed the issue amongst one another and decided not to adopt the CPA.
To the surprise of many 632 of the 934 registered voters came out to cast their vote in regard to the CPA and other state issues. That’s almost 70 % of all registered voters. 52% of these voters rejected the CPA while passing many of the state initiatives and overwhelmingly electing a democratic ticket. So don’t think the CPA failed because of a few outspoken opponents. It failed because a majority of voters felt it wasn’t for this town. The pro CPA people didn’t expect this issue would bring out as many as it did and no one expected nearly 70% of the registered voters to show up at the polls; but they did. In fact one of our oldest and most respected citizens said that in his entire lifetime he had never seen such a turnout.
We have a lot of people to thank for such a large turnout and the defeat of the CPA tax. I would like to thank the people who came out to vote, those who allowed signs to be posted in their yard, many who called and asked people to spread the word and last but not least those who financially supported this cause. I didn’t even have to ask people to volunteer; several people came to me and asked if they could call people to get out the vote. Others asked me for signs to pass out to their neighbors, friends and family. Most people simply discussed the CPA issue with everyone they knew and common sense told them to come out against it. We have everyone to thank and I thank you all.
This turnout was no accident either, it was a town wide effort of many people from every area of our town getting together and taking their rightful place in our town’s governance. I’m not one to say I told you so but I told you so. I said that we the people have the power to stop the CPA and we did. My only hope is that this is the beginning of a new era where the people start taking an interest in how their town is run. I hope this is a foresight of a well attended town meeting whereby the people give a clear dictate to our elected officials. Town officials will do what they were elected to do or what they are allowed to get away with; we have to remind them that they were put in office to exercise the will of the people as expressed at the town meeting. They each have their voice as a citizen but their job as selectmen is to follow the directive of the people.