On Tuesday, May 17, Auburn voters will choose a selectman candidate to replace Steve Simonian who has chosen not to seek reelection. Auburn Mass Daily provided each candidate with the same five questions and requested an interview to get their responses and provide Auburn voters with some insight into each of the candidates.  All statements are those of the candidate, and do not necessarily represent the views of Auburn Mass Daily, nor have we verified the accuracy of any statements.

Lionel Berthiaume – Candidate for Selectman

Lionel Berthiaume

Lionel Berthiaume (Submitted photo)

Q. What do you feel qualifies you to be an Auburn Selectman?
A. I have been a resident of Auburn for 53 years. I have 30+ years of business and accounting experience helping all types of businesses and understanding quickly how they operate. I have been involved with many committees and understand how meetings and conferences are handled. I have led many groups and organizations with operations and fundraising. I have an incredible resource of professional people that utilize me for my knowledge and who I can utilize for their knowledge. I take a very common sense approach to everything I do.

Q. What would you improve in local government?
A. I’m not looking to go in and change local government. What I do want to do is go in and use my expertise to see how I can help the Town Manager help the residents and businesses of this town to minimize costs and maximize benefits. Especially the people on fixed incomes we need to always be looking to help them out as much as possible. We don’t ever want to lose any homeowners or businesses to another town because they can’t afford Auburn!

Q. What do you feel are the top two or three issues facing the Board of Selectmen?
A. Continued rise of health care and other insurances. Giving the workers of this town the benefits that they work so hard for but keeping it affordable. Also continuing to help businesses come to Auburn and promoting every commercial and residential property to be occupied. Finding the line where budgets are met and residents and businesses are content with their costs. These issues are pretty much the same for all towns.

Q.  What will you personally bring to the Board?
A. Besides my expertise and experience which I noted above, I will listen and then be proactive with the items and issues. I will utilize my knowledge and my resources to promote good sound decisions.

Q. Do you have any suggestions to keep Auburn on its solid financial track?
A. Seems that we are already doing some of it but I believe we need to continue to apply for grants. We also have many resources in town so I would like to look into tapping those resources as much as possible as a means for subsidizing their own costs.

Tristan LaLiberte – Candidate for Selectman

Tristan LaLiberte (Photo Jeff LaBonte)

Tristan LaLiberte (Photo Jeff LaBonte)

Tristan LaLiberte is a lifelong Auburn resident, living on Rock Rd. He attended St. Peter’s in Worcester and Holy Name High School. He is currently a first year student at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst studying pre-law and political science.

Growing up, LaLiberte played town soccer and worked at Shaw’s before entering college. In high school, he participated in Mock Trial, and was on the cross country team, serving as captain his senior year.

Q. What do you feel qualifies you to be an Auburn Selectman?

A. I bring a lot of different backgrounds. There’s a stigma that young people don’t care about town government and don’t get involved. I want to get involved and encourage other people my age to do the same.

At UMass, I work with the Student Government Association which oversees a $3 million budget. I am the Governor of the Orchard Hill Residential Area, as well as the fiscal representative, so all expenditures have to be approved by me. I have also gained parliamentary [parliamentary procedure] experience. I was involved with interviewing and recommending the new UMass-Amherst police chief, Tyrone Parham. I have also worked with the Chief to improve safety in the Orchard Hill area.

What I do have is the passion to be a selectman. I was the first one to file papers and the first one out there knocking on doors.  I’ve visited two full precincts already [as of May 2]. I have the dedication to see this through.

Q. What would you improve in local government?

A. Involvement of more people. I would like to see more people get involved whether it’s committees or elected positions. I would also like the Town to reach more people. For example, some people did not realize an election was coming up until I knocked on their door and spoke to them.

Q. What do you feel are the top two or three issues facing the Board of Selectmen?

A. The feedback I get consistently from residents I’m speaking to is roads and taxes. The roads are improved, but there is still work to do. I would look to try and find additional sources of funding to get more roads redone. I also hear taxes a lot from the senior residents, but it’s not just them struggling. So we need to maintain services and keep tax increases to a minimum which requires good fiscal policy.

Q. What will you personally bring to the Board?

A. An unbiased opinion. I’ve lived my whole life here [Auburn], but I have no political connections. People like to say “new blood.” I’m really just looking to address issues for the residents. I also bring a commitment to the job. People see my dedication to campaigning as I am out knocking on doors. I will be just as dedicated on the Board.

Q. Do you have any suggestions to keep Auburn on its solid financial track?

A. The Finance Committee, Town Manager and CFO have done a great job. We have a great bond rating and a balanced budget and good town services. I would look to save money for struggling residents by keeping taxes as low as possible.

Michael Robidoux – Candidate for Selectman

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Michael Robidoux (File photo by John Anderson)

Editor’s Note: Mr. Robidoux declined to be interviewed for our Candidate Profiles.