FM - What is your Franklin story?
Rick Power – I grew up in Norwood and went to Xaverian Brothers High School and UMass, Amherst. I was commissioned as an Infantry Office in the Army National Guard and served 12 years. I have three amazing kids, Alyssa, Nicole and Rick. We raised them in Randolph for about eight years and then moved in Lakeland, FL to care for my father-in-law.
When it was time to return to New England, choosing Franklin as our home was a ‘no brainer’. Renowned for its school systems and secure community, I knew our children would flourish in Franklin. That’s all a dad really wants. Our family roots are also here: my sisters, brother, four nieces and my parents live in town. Although my ex-wife and I are now divorced, the kids still live in the house they know as home. It was an amicable separation and we minimized any disruption for the kids.
Shortly after we moved to Franklin, my daughter started playing softball for the Franklin Girls Softball Association and I got involved in coaching. I eventually joined the Board of Directors and have served as the President for the past three years. I am still involved in the girls’ softball league even though my daughter is not playing anymore. I promised myself I would leave the league in a better situation than when I joined it and there is still work to be done.
I work as an Area Manager for the largest complex rehab company in the US. I manage a budget of over $15M and we provide custom wheel chairs for people with progressive diseases like ALS and MS. It is very rewarding, helping people with some pretty tough diseases.
People ask me how come I want to get involved in politics. My reason is because I love the town of Franklin, and I want to do my part to ensure it grows in a controlled, responsible manner. I want to continue to attract families looking for great schools and a safe community as well as businesses that can offer the town needed products and services.
FM - What do you see as a challenge for the position of Town Council?
Rick Power – They have a few. One would be getting the people a little more engaged. There seems to be a little bit of adversity going on; People vs. the Council. There is also a perception that there are too many realtors and lawyers involved and benefiting from town council development decisions. I feel the council could do a better job addressing those concerns. I won’t engage in negative campaigning when most of what is being said is unfounded.
We have a town of 34,000 people and less than 20% of registered voters actually get to the polls for local elections (closer to 60% during Presidential elections) and not too many attend council meetings. I get it; these meetings can be pretty boring. Maybe they are designed to be but I feel they could be a little lighter and a more open to discussion. Maybe a town hall style meeting is a better forum where there can be more interaction.
I recently attended the Opioid Meetings- I thought they were great. The organizers said their piece, a long piece but it had value, and then they opened it up for others to talk and engage. That is the type of engagement I’m talking about, that’s what is needed in the Town Council.
I am active on Facebook. You have to be very careful. Some people are just looking to be argumentative but most want the interaction. I think that social media is part of the world we live in now. If we aren’t involved there, we’re missing the boat. I do like the immediate feedback that is available about the issues.
The budget is another big issue. We currently have a balanced budget and it took a lot of hard work to get here but soon we are going to have to do address the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) of $70-$80M I think it is. We can’t keep kicking that can down the road.I want to strike a balance with new development and keeping the small town feel that people came here for or grew up here and love. Transparency and openness into how the decisions are being made is crucial.
Another issue seems to be the roads and sidewalks. People appreciate the effort but complain about the timeframe to complete. That is a communication thing. What is the timeline? How long will it take? I’d like to see better communication from the DPW on stuff like that.One of the items that came up on Facebook was trying to build a community/teen center in town. We have a great senior center but need something more. I talked with my son about the opioid issues. He said there is nothing to do in town for teens and above so they sit around bored. The bowling alley just closed. We used to have a cinema. I think we are foolish as a town to not look at that at least. It may cost us some money but we did it for the seniors.
FM - What do you bring to the position that would set you apart from the other candidates?
Rick Power – I think we touched on some of my biggest benefits as we talked. I'm not a politician. I am unbiased and pretty open minded. I am willing to look at both sides of the issue before making a decision on which one makes the best sense for the most amount of people. Sometimes there are people, like in my business, that can't advocate for themselves, yet they are worthy of the benefit. We need to advocate for them too.
I have many years of leadership experience both in the military and in private sector business. I owned or managed several small businesses so I know the challenges they face.
I am pretty technically savvy, on social media and the like. The feedback and information flow can be pretty intense.
I think I can be a liaison for the town. I can be a little bit more in touch. Through my family and community involvement I can reach out to a wide range of residents and keep the lines of communication open.
I’d like to hold some open houses, get some other councilors involved in engaging the community in a conversation about key issues. You got to keep your hands on the pulse of the town.
If you have any follow up questions for Rick, you can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find additional information about Rick’s campaign on this website http://franklintowncouncil.weebly.com/
You can also visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RickPowerFTC
Noteworthy: This information is intended to help the Franklin voters when we all head to the ballot box on November 3rd. The interview candidates have had an opportunity to review the text before publishing to ensure the accuracy of our discussion.