Salem is a town on the cusp of a new era of prosperity and growth. In the past census we surpassed 30,000 residents - a number that is sure to continue to grow and expand as our town continues to develop as a pro-Free Market, small government destination for our entire economic region.
We've seen a significant conversation taking place on social media regarding Salem's form of government. While I do not believe it's the time for Salem to evolve into a city, I do believe it's time to review Salem’s form of government and structure, The best way to do so is through the establishment of a Charter Commission. A Charter Commission, if approved by voters during the March Town Election, is elected by Salem voters during a special election within two months of voters approving the question. Registered voters in Salem can run for the Charter Commission, and the top nine candidates from across town are elected to serve on the Charter Commission. The Commission will then work on putting together a recommendation for establishing a municipal charter or recommending no changes - any proposed changes would have to be adopted by the next town meeting, so it would be March of 2023 before any changes are voted on by Salem voters.
It has been over a decade since the last Salem Charter Commission, and I strongly believe Salem deserves to have that conversation again as a town. Beyond our form of government, the Charter Commission can also look at moving when our town elections happen - which I think is an equally important, if not more important component, to increasing voter participation and engagement in local elections. As you know we currently have local elections in March; under state law, we can move the elections to April, May, or even November if the terms of office allows for such a change. There are other areas of concern and interest to a variety of Salem residents that I feel begs the formal conversation from taking place.
In order to start that process we need to collect signatures in order to get the Charter Commission on the Ballot. Please call me at 603-327-7184 or email me at Josephfsweeney@gmail.com to coordinate a time to sign a petition! You can also print, sign, and scan the attached petition and send it back to me if we cannot meet in person before the 15th. We are allowed to compile multiple sheets of petitions to get to 25 signers, but I am looking to surpass that number.
Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have.