Pat Hanlon: A Senior Speaks Out

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I am looking forward to voting on June 11 for a new high school and an “operating override” that will enable the town to continue needed services, including the outstanding educational program offered in all our schools.

I am like many other Arlingtonians of my generation. I am in my 70s. My children are grown, and my grandchildren do not attend school here. As a retiree, my income isn’t what it was, and a significant hike in taxes is never a thrill. But I realize that the town needs periodic overrides to continue providing the services that we expect, starting with great schools. And I know that it’s imperative for Arlington’s children, and for the town’s finances, to approve funding for the new high school now. Today’s high school is just not suitable for a 21st century educational program. It has to be replaced.

Why would seniors like me feel so strongly in favor of these ballot measures? True, we do not benefit directly. We don’t have to. My parents were in the “Greatest Generation.” They always voted for schools. They did not stop when they grew old. When my children were growing up, people like my parents supported their education. I was grateful for the help of yesterday’s seniors, and I was determined that I’d carry on when I had the chance.

Well, I do now.

The first duty of any community is to take care of its children. We seniors benefited from the sacrifices of those who went before us. Now it is our turn.

For some of us, it’s hard, too hard. These seniors deserve help from the rest of us. I am proud to have voted last week as a town meeting member for liberalization of the town’s tax-deferral program and for the adoption of a new “circuit-breaker” provision that will reduce the tax burden on financially strapped seniors. The Town has repeatedly gone to the limits of state law to provide relief to seniors, and it is committed to publicizing that relief to ensure that all eligible people take advantage of it. The Council on Aging is doing a great job in doing just that.

Children need support from the Arlington community, and many people in my generation do too. And because Arlington is a community, I trust that we will provide that support.

Patrick Hanlon