Oct. 28, 2009: I would be honored to serve public


To The Editor:
Win or lose, running for a seat on the Middletown Town Board has been gratifying. As I’ve canvassed the district, voters have been welcoming, sharing their charm, sharing their wit, and sharing their wisdom.
The great thing about a local political race is the fact that, by and large, candidates don’t run against anyone. Local races are devoid of the personal attacks and mud slinging that is all too common at state and national levels. I know in the race for the town board that’s the case with me, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same with Mike and Jake. Each of us believes we can contribute to the work of the town board. With that in mind what is the skill set I would bring to the board if elected?
First is experience. I have lived my entire life in small, rural communities. For over three decades, I have worked as a public school educator in these settings. I understand the people and the issues of small towns. For nearly 20 years, I have regularly attended school board meetings, and for over a decade I shouldered the responsibility of preparing board agendas and facilitating board meetings.
Those experiences should be very helpful should I be elected as a town councilman. In addition, my work required developing and monitoring multi-million dollar budgets, writing grants, and supporting personnel so they could do their best work.
Second are communication skills. How well a town board member speaks, how well they write, and how well they listen is important to their success as a councilman. Effective board members need to listen and evaluate issues, conduct the necessary research that surrounds an issue, and clearly communicate what they learn. My years as an educator have provided extensive opportunities to hone these skills.
Finally, modern leadership of any kind, especially during an era of diminishing resources, demands creative and flexible thinking. Working exclusively in small public schools, resource challenged settings, has made it necessary to explore nonconventional solutions to many issues. That, too, should be helpful.
On November 3, should you elect me as councilman, I will be honored to work for you on the town board.

John Bernhardt,
Democratic Candidate
Middletown Town Board