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|Ross says one term is enough||Saturday, December 18, 2004|
|David McLaughlin 508-626-4338||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Selectmen Chairman Chris Ross says he will step down from the
board next year at the end of his first term instead of seeking re-election
so he has more time for family and work.
One of two incumbents up for re-election, Ross is dropping out of a crowded field of candidates who have announced their intention to run for the board. He said serving for another three years would not be fair to himself, his family "or even the community."
"I had to commit and really focus on my job and my family right now...It's just a tough time for me to make the kind of commitment that being a selectman for another three years would mean," he said.
Ross, who has a son in the eighth grade and another in the 11th, read a statement to the rest of the board late Thursday night. He encouraged progressives to get involved in not only the election but also throughout town government instead of those with "negative agendas."
"My sincere hope is that those with positive plans for Framingham will seek election to this board. Unfortunately, there are those who would turn back the clock in Framingham or who have negative agendas that often seem to dominate our discourse here or over our electronic media," he said to the board.
When asked yesterday if he was referring to Jim Rizoli, a vocal opponent of illegal immigration who is running for a seat on the board, Ross said he was not. But he did call Rizoli's group, Concerned Citizens and Friends of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement, "a negative force" in town.
Rizoli argued that Ross was referring to him in the statement.
"We feel we're a positive force for truth and honesty and people wanting to know what's right," he said.
Besides Rizoli, incumbent Esther Hopkins, Harold Wolfe, Ellen LaRose, Dennis Giombetti and David Norton have taken out nomination papers to run for the board next year. As of yesterday, only Rizoli had returned his papers with the required 50 signatures of registered voters, according to the clerk's office. Nomination papers are due Jan. 18.
Hopkins, who is also facing re-election next year, called Ross "a good selectman." She said she thought he wanted to stay on the board and continue working on affordable housing issues. Ross is a part-time director of Housing for All in addition to his consulting work.
"I thought he wanted to stay and stick it out and make that happen. In that sense, I was a bit surprised (about his announcement)," Hopkins said.
After reading his statement to the board Thursday night, Selectman Charlie Sisitsky said he was "very disappointed." Vice Chairwoman Katie Murphy told Ross that he "brought a great deal to this board, a great deal, and you've been a very good chair."
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