Biggins, Valanzola Shine at Candidates Forum

April 24, 2013


Tom Banks of the Kiwanis Club is the face of Rockland political forums here in town. For years, he has moderated the discourse of candidates for elected office here in the old Shoetown. Recently, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum in which the seven candidates for School Committee were invited but were not given ample time to make their case to the voters.  Dave at WRPS put together a second night featuring only the candidates for School Committee. The candidates present included Richard Harris, Rick Dunham, Dan Biggins, Jared Valanzola, and Dick Phelps.  Tom Banks stayed true to form with the opening question by interrupting the first candidate, as he was about to make his opening statement, in order to clarify the agenda.  Richard Harris was this year’s victim; and after a deep breath and big smile, he was able to regroup and begin his remarks over again.  All the candidates did an excellent job; but it was obvious to this observer that Dan Biggins and Jared Valanzola were able to shine above the field.  Biggins appeared calm, cool and collected as he turned to the camera, as if by cue on a major news network.  Dan is a natural in front of the camera and delivered his remarks in clear, concise and convincing talking points that left him head and shoulders above the field.   At times,  you would think that he was running for Senator judging by his ability to articulate along with his crisp, clean and polished image.  Jared Valanzola has long had his finger on the pulse of the Rockland Public School system and a firm grasp on the issues that affect it.  Jared came off as confident, informed and ready to get right to work on the School Committee. For many years, Jared has shown a keen understanding of the issues that far exceeds his years.  Jared appears ready to take the reins with little or no break-in period.  Rick Dunham did an excellent job as well. Rick was well-spoken and clearly outlined his vision for the School Committee seat.  Rich Harris also appeared to be a very likeable and serious candidate with a few bright spots during the event. Long-time former School Committee member, Dick Phelps, outlined his vision of the position which he held for years and years in the past, ending in the mid 1990′s.

Rockland voters are faced with a tough choice this time around for School Committee.  In this writer’s honest opinion, the best two candidates for the job are Dan Biggins and Jared Valanzola. They bring youth, energy, and new ideas along with a keen understanding of the issues.

But don’t take my word for it.  Watch the video above for yourself and make up your own mind.

Best of luck to all who are running!