Editor's Note: The following profile is part of a series highlighting the candidates running for seats in contested races as part of this year's town election, which takes place on Saturday, April 12. Dedham Patch is looking to showcase why the candidates are running and what they hope to bring to the table. Check back leading up to the election for more profiles on the candidates. If you’re a candidate and would like to have a profile included, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dennis Teehan is running for Board of Selectmen this April against Thomas Boneck, Mary Gilbert, Kenneth Gilchrist, Cheryl Schoenfeld, Brendan Keough, Dennis Guilfoyle and Dan O'Neil.
Dedham Patch recently spoke with him regarding his campaign. For more information on Teehan, visit his Facebook page at Dennis Teehan For Selectman 2014.
Why are you running (or re-running)?
I am running first and foremost because I love and care about the town of Dedham and for everyone who feels the same way. I am asking for the privilege of representing all of us in the process of making the vision that all of us who love Dedham share a reality. I have a track record of service to individuals and the community, and I am running to ask the citizens of Dedham to allow me to make my next chapter of service to this town.
I am a physician by trade but at heart I am a lifelong Dedham resident who loves and cares about our town. My passion for Dedham and my desire to serve this great town is why I am seeking this office.
I believe that this election is not about me or any individual candidate and their goals. This election is about the citizens of Dedham and the future. It is about the vision that all of us who call this town home share. I am asking for the honor of representing all of us in the process of making the vision we share a reality. I pledge to take on that task with honor, diligence, passion and enthusiasm.
I believe I am qualified for this job. I am a board certified physician, a graduate of Northeastern University’s Department of Political Science, a graduate of Tufts Medical School and a graduate of The Harvard School of Public Health (Masters in Public Health).
I have been an active town meeting member and Board member of the Youth Commission. I have already served on a Board for the town and been involved in budgeting, policy, personnel etc and I think that is important experience. I also was part of the team that hired the current head of the Youth Commission and I think that will benefit me if I am elected. Dedham needs a new town administrator and I have been through the process of hiring a Department head once already.
I am a former social worker for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I worked with some of the most challenging children and families in our state in this community and surrounding communities. I learned much about the education system, the legal system and children and families in this task and this knowledge will serve me well if elected. I am also a former legislative intern at the Massachusetts State House and former Health Promotion Physician in Norfolk County House of Corrections where I taught prisoners about health related issues.
I offer the Board a diverse breadth of experience, a unique perspective and a strong record of service to individuals and the community.
What do you hope to accomplish on the board (or committee)?
We all know that Dedham is growing. My first goal is to make sure that Dedham grow's smarter, not just bigger. In our Town’s future growth I want to preserve the unique social and cultural elements that make the town a great place to grow up and to live. This means optimizing our zoning code, protecting open spaces and engaging in a collaborative process between citizens, the town and developers. I want Dedham's future growth to be smart and conscientious.
Dedham is long overdue for a senior center and a municipal campus. People have been talking about these important civic buildings since I was in middle school. As a physician I understand the issues that senior citizens face in many domains. I think having a physical space for senior citizens is essential for both physical and mental wellness. As many people know, I have strong connections to the police department and I am a huge proponent of public safety. I hope to be part of the team that makes them finally happen.
Taxes have grown at an alarming rate. I hope to take reasonable steps to curb the residential and commercial tax rate through cost containment and efficiency.That said, I believe the schools are the backbone of our town and I will not support anything that hurts our school system.
Previous board members have done great things to promote the arts, history and the unique cultural elements of Dedham. I hope to continue supporting all these ideas and to expand on them
What do you see is the most pressing issue facing Dedham right now in relation to the seat for which you're running?
I believe the issue of "smart growth" is most pressing to the long term health of Dedham. We all have to live with the choice we make in how we develop our town. I hope to help the town make smarter choices.
Without a doubt in short term the issues most voters are concerned with is residential tax rate. There are no easy solutions to taxes in Dedham, but I believe there are reasonable steps the town can take to improve the situation (Please see my blog on Dedham Patch). The first step is to stop the bleeding. We need to minimize or eliminate and any increases in residential tax rate. This is easier said the done but I believe there are solutions that we can implement to help us achieve to goal.
Name one unique idea you would like to bring to the table if elected in April.
I would love to see East Dedham Square developed into a sustainable, sensitive and conscientious mixed use project. The time for change in East Dedham is now. We have an amazing collection of community resources manifesting now in East Dedham. I believe with communication and a collaboration of resources we can reinvest resources in the East Dedham neighborhood in a way that benefits the town.
What is one thing voters might not know about you?
I am a New England Patriots season ticket holder since 1990, an amateur (and I stress amateur!!) guitarist and I love to exercise and to write!