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Candidates Upstaged by 10-Year Old

The annual Candidates' Forum sponsored by the Citizens for Milford offers those running for public office a chance to pitch themselves to voters and answer their questions. At this year's March 16 event, however, the candidates were upstaged by 10-year old Anthony Persico, a student at Woodland Elementary School, who asked questions based on his perspectives.

Persico asked trenchant questions of the candidates for Parks Commission, School Committee and Board of Selectmen. The boy's first question went to Parks Commission candidates Cesare Comolli and Paul Pellegrini regarding planned improvements at the Town Park on Congress St. "Can you add, like, some more 10-year old stuff?" he queried. Next, Persico took on the four School Committee candidates by asking them "to get rid of" the Common Core/PARCC tests, saying he didn't like them. His final question went to the two Board of Selectmen candidates: "So, why did you guys run for Selectman. I'm just curious. What special qualities do you have?"

The Parks Commission candidates promised to consider Persico's request. He received a mixed bag of answers from the School Committee candidates. "I think you should be up here, running for office," said Scott Vecchiolla. Joseph Morais explained the need to measure students' progress, but added the stress students feel taking the tests needs to be reduced. James Ligor agreed. "You are going to be tested one way or another for the rest of your life," Michael Visconti said. "Get used to it."

Selectman candidate Patrick Holland said he was running because "I love this town. It's important to me, so that I give back to the town."

"It's important to do things for the community," said Selectman Brian Murray. "If you believe in what you do and try to do the right thing for everybody, there's nothing more rewarding in the world."

The School Committee candidates fielded questions on topics such as why students leaving the Milford school system for elsewhere, what skills they would bring, and challenges facing the School Department. The selectman candidates faced a wider array, including the future of the town's Capital Improvement Committee, their hiring process, support for bus transportation, the proposed Algonquin natural gas pipeline, trucks parked on streets and in municipal parking lots, fiscal responsibility, and the future of downtown Milford.

About 75 residents attended the two-hour forum, which was taped by Milford TV to be broadcast up until the April 5 Annual Town Election. The event was co-sponsored by the Town Crier.


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