This week, I want to tell you about many great things that have been going on for our seniors in our towns but also in our great state.
I was talking to a dear friend Gerald Moran from Methuen, and telling him about the testimony I gave this week at our State House regarding legislation affecting our seniors. I said to Gerald that it’s a little nerve-wracking the first few times you walk up to testify in front of such an impressive group of senators and representatives.
Each time it does get a little better, and I always tell myself that they are there to listen and help. They understand if we stumble a little with our words here and there.
Gerald responded to me, “Sherry, experience is the best teacher.” Isn’t that the truth? He made me feel much better. Experience does make a difference with so many things.
Monday evening, we were invited to share in a discussion and dinner at Pollyann Winslow’s home. Every four years she welcomes a group of political science students from Principia College to New Hampshire. They are eager to learn more about our New Hampshire primary. Pollyann had a mix of experienced town and state representatives there to share what our New Hampshire Primary and the election process means.
Our Sen. Sharon Carson, who also teaches college classes, spoke from the heart and she is so eloquent and sincere. She spoke of respecting each other and our opinions and getting involved. She explained why New Hampshire has over 400 representative seats and 24 senators. It’s so that a relatively small number of citizens have a representative that they can call on.
I loved that Sen. Carson stressed to the students that New Hampshire’s government is run by and for the people. That is why we have so many “citizens” representing us at our State House.
We have a voice, through all these wonderful people. We just have to use it.
I can promise you they are not in it for the money. They make $100 per year. Imagine that is all we pay for that wealth of knowledge and experience.
I think we all need to thank each of them when we can.
Wayne McDonald, an amazing political activist spoke, too. I loved that Wayne tied in our governmental process to our history through the years.
I remember admiring Wayne’s involvement in New Hampshire when I was at Pinkerton Academy. Wayne also graduated from Pinkerton Academy. He is one of our great New Hampshire minds.
John spoke about our local government and that we are a Dillon Rule State. I think that took the students by surprise. He explained that we are not a home rule state, here in New Hampshire, we “must” do what the legislators enact into law. We can’t just do what we want to at the town level, even if everyone agrees and might really want too.
Andy Mack and I both spoke, but more as representing our great town and area. Andy and I also have lots of experience and a deep love for our hometown and New Hampshire heritage. The students loved hearing about Mack’s apple orchards, the history of how it began, and about all of the politicians that have made Mack’s one of their number one stops in New Hampshire.
Tuesday evening, we had our Senior Resources Committee meeting. What a great meeting it turned out to be. It started with all of us kind of looking at each other a bit down, I would say.
We went from blah to energized and looking forward to our next meeting in minutes. I have to credit Jim Green for lifting our spirits. He brought forth a great project for us to take on. We are going to show appreciation to those businesses in our area that support our seniors.
Residents will be able to get involved by nominating great local businesses. Certificates will be awarded, and thanks will be given. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Jennifer Ganem has brought great ideas forth, too. Jenn has our students holding learning sessions at our senior center to help them with new technology. Cellphones, iPads and the list goes on.
On to the "Londonderry View" election show. Experience really does make a difference when planning elections. It was our Moderator Tom Freda’s idea to do this show.
Kristin Grages, chairperson of the Supervisors of the Checklist, was with us, too. We all did our best to share our experiences with the viewers so that our up-coming elections will run smoothly for everyone. We talked about the absentee ballot process, registering, traffic, and so many helpful things.
Kirby asked everyone, “What’s your favorite part of an election?” I said talking to the seniors who come in and have never missed an opportunity to vote since they were 18 years old.
Kristin said the first-time voters.
Talk about a room full of experience. Kristin and I, along with Kirsten Hildonen and Kristina Jeanty, headed to All American Assisted Living and the Grand Estates to register voters and give them the opportunity to complete their absentee ballots. Talk about grateful hearts. Just take a look at these smiling faces of Charlie Raymond and Lucille Brosor with their “I Voted" stickers. John always says it’s their experience and stories that we need to listen to and write down.
This week my hat goes off to our seniors and very special people like Sandy Johnston and Sammi Roy, of All American Assisted Living, who always go above and beyond to help when we are there.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.