LEXINGTON, MA–Indian Americans Getting Involved Group, known as iGIG, along with IAL Indian Americans of Lexington East Lexington Community Association, kicked off the Lexington election season by hosting the first candidate forum for town wide candidates on Feb 6, 2021. The event was attended by about 80 people through Zoom webinar and was also live streamed on Facebook.
Lexington town elections will be held on March 1. There are 8 town wide positions( 1 Select Board, 1 Moderator, 2 Planning Board, 2 School Committee, 1 Lexington Housing Authority) and 67 TMM positions across 9 Precincts. Sixteen Indian American candidates are running this year. One for School Committee and 15 for Town Member Meeting.
iGIG President Vineeta Kumar opened the session by welcoming the panelists and attendees.
“As the first candidate forum of this election season, there’s excitement about hearing from the candidates. We planned this early in the cycle because with early and mail-in voting options, we anticipate ballots being sent in earlier than the election day of March 1st, therefore the sooner the candidates and the community get to interact, the better.” she said.
State Representative Michelle Ciccolo was the keynote speaker. She spoke about the importance of these forums and said “these are a way for us to come together and learn about the key issues that are happening right here in town and make important connections to one another. It’s even more vital today, with a global pandemic going on to host such events for an opportunity to talk to one-another.”
The panel consisted of the following townwide candidates: Deborah Brown (Moderator), Leonard Morse-Fortier, Melanie Thompson and Michael Schanbacher (Planning Board), Deepika Sawhney, Kathleen Lenihan (School Committee) and Jill Hai (Select Board)
In addition to their introductions and talking about why they are running for their respective positions, each candidate was asked four questions in the main panel. This was followed by audience questions collected during the event as well as those submitted by community members prior to the event. Community questions covered topics like sustainability, diversity, climate, school, economic development, police station, zoning, Hartwell, COVID, communication, Conservation, Board appointments and many others.
iGIG member, Vinita Verma moderated the panel, followed by a Q&A session which was moderated by Cristina Burwell from ELCA. A team of iGIG members worked behind the scenes to plan and orchestrate the event.