LETTER: Paul Baker is the real deal

Our town has been roiled recently by controversies, mostly played out in the new town square of social media, that reflect larger societal conversations regarding education, personal freedoms and transparency in government. This new ‘platform’ for civil society has brought positive change: we can easily access information and engage in civic life without leaving our homes. It has also brought with it some new dangers: the ability of anyone with a keyboard to engage in what is known as political “astroturfing,” where anonymous posters, or “fake” account holders, manufacture outrage or approval in the hopes of appearing as spontaneous and authentic representatives of public opinion, when they are anything but.  

Paul Baker is a candidate of merit by any measure given his distinguished career in education and service, and our town would be lucky to have him as a School Committee member. He has stewarded an exceptional school: Devereux since 2019 and been a dedicated board member for our local charter school for seven years. 

However, Paul’s robust resume isn’t the top reason I am voting for him for School Committee in Tuesday’s election, but rather this:  I have never seen him hide behind anything or anyone when the time came to ask necessary, if, uncomfortable questions. I have never seen him waffle or obfuscate when asked his opinion on topics that today are deemed “controversial,” like providing a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students – including those who hold marginalized identities. His evident authenticity is the quality in Paul that is lauded by all those who have worked with him. Further, his unflappable manner (maybe this newly minted American’s British upbringing) serves him, and would serve us, well during a tense time. 

In a world where “fake” proliferates, Paul Baker is the real deal. 

 A lot of conjecture and assumptions have been made during this election cycle about whether school committee members are “too cooperative,” or “too combative,” with the school officials that they oversee. An exciting yet dubious “October Surprise” left us none the wiser as to what is the path forward for our schools. 

Paul will bring neither rumor nor rancor to the post of School Committee member, and for that he has earned my trust. I will also be voting for Sarah Gold, who has brought a compassionate, even-keeled, student-centered perspective to the Committee during a very difficult tenure. Finally I will vote Yes on 1 so that our schools can be adequately funded to turn to the work they need to do, sail purposefully and calmly through the Scylla and Charybdis of today’s divided world. 

Mimi Lemay

Wallingford Road

Letter to the editor
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