By Max Bowenemail@example.com
It was a rather ordinary meeting, where measures were approved, matters referred to boards, and updates provided for ongoing projects.
But for three of the Town Councilors, June 21 marked their final time at the table in the lower level of Town Hall. The terms of Keith Lapointe, Michael Lennox, and Julie Boyce will come to an end on June 30, and with it, a shift will occur in the this inaugural form of town government.
Both Lapointe and Lennox opted not to run for re-election, and Boyce lost a re-election bid. Newcomers Andrea Slobogan, Patrick Reynolds, and Mark Gould, Jr. will be sworn in, their terms beginning on July 1. Justin Pare, Kathleen Prescott, Andy Shanahan, Joann Cathcart, Darius Gregory, and John Simmons earned second terms in the Town Election.
Lapointe, the Town Council President, talked about the experience of moving back to North Attleborough after getting married. When someone returns to their hometown, one finds that their friends are the same people they went to school with, and the question “Why?” is often asked. Lapointe expressed that North Attleborough is the “greatest place.”
“The town draws people back to it and brings new people in,” he said.
But upon his return, Lapointe said the town had lost something—its pride. Others felt the same way and began working to restore North Attleborough to what it once was. He said that the Town Council—which came about following the passage of the new Town Charter—showed the diversity of North Attleborough, with three women, an openly gay man, and a black man among its members, and it was a testament to the town.
“Everybody that is a part of it knows who they are,” he said. “I’m excited for where we’re headed. I feel uber-confident about where we’re headed.”
Boyce’s comments were brief, but she said the council members may encounter her down the road. Along with her service on the Town Council, Boyce has been an active participant in programs that serve those in need, such as making meals at First Baptist Church. Many on the council spoke to Boyce’s generosity of spirit and credited her with bringing a voice to those that had none. Simmons said that none can question her love for the town and that she always provided insight to ensure the tax dollars were spent wisely.
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure serving with you guys,” said Boyce.
Lennox, who previously served on the Board of Selectmen, gave an impassioned speech, at times sounding on the verge of tears. He said that seeing the change that has come about in North Attleborough has been a rewarding experience and the town has become a wonderful place to live in and raise a family.
“This was a team effort from a lot of really good people,” said Lennox. “I was part of the Board of Selectmen that poured out every bit and we even dismantled our own positions so we could make something better.”
Lennox spoke to the many supporters he had while on the council. His father taught him the value of failure, and his wife Beth took on much so he could fully immerse himself in his work. Betty and Kevin Poirier, who have given decades of service to the town, gave him a tremendous example of community service to follow.
Lennox thanked Lapointe, whom he described as a “gem of an individual.” He said the council president was always there with input and handled the role of president remarkably.
“To be sitting here with all of you tonight means something special has happened,” said Lennox.
At the close of the meeting, Lapointe spoke of the gavel, a gift to the town from Joseph P. Martin, a former Speaker of the House. Martin was born in North Attleborough and served the district as a member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. He served as the 44th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1947 to 1949 and 1953 to 1955. Lapointe said that legacy lives on today, and he wished the council good luck as he adjourned the meeting for the final time.
“You can complain on TV, write letters to the editor all you want, that won’t change it,” said Lapointe. “The only way to change is to get off the couch.”