Sheila’s Official Announcement
Sheila delivered the following speech at the Greenfield Town Common Thursday, March 14 to officially announce her candidacy for mayor.
“Hello, everybody. My name is Sheila Gilmour and I’m excited to announce that I am running for Mayor of Greenfield!
It’s been a long road to get here, but here I am. I took office here in Greenfield a little over a year ago, but my leadership experience extends far past the City Council. I started off as a teen mom working in a gas station in California. I joined the military and served for eight years as a Russian linguist monitoring human rights violations during the Global War on Terror. Later I was promoted to staff sergeant and I served in my commander’s Strategic Planning Office managing the Compliance Management Program where I inspected work areas for compliance with OSHA standards and was assigned as an inspector protecting Americans’ fourth amendment rights against illegal search and seizure during military intelligence operations.
After leaving the military I earned a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration and began volunteering with my union. I now serve as Vice President of University Staff Association, where I represent nearly 1,000 clerical and technical workers at UMass Amherst. I also work part time as a political organizer for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the largest public sector union in the Commonwealth. I have worked on several local and statewide campaigns for progressive candidates and ballot measures. I serve on the Coordinating Committee for Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, I’m a delegate to the Hampshire Franklin Central Labor Council, and I’m on the Leadership Team for the Regional Council for Western Mass Jobs with Justice.
I bought a house in Greenfield because I recognized that this is a city on the rise. And in order to make sure this great city has a place for everyone we need to work on building more affordable housing. This means following the recommendations of our Master Plan and putting into place creative solutions that get people in their own homes. We have to offer co-housing and offer incentives for those willing to buy multi-family units and offer apartments to low-income residents.
Next, we need to ensure that our community is inclusive, accessible, and welcoming. We need to remove the barriers that keep our neighbors with disabilities from participating in community life with the rest of us. We need to continue to oppose and educate against racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and anti-Islamic behavior and instead treat our neighbors with compassion, dignity, and respect. Our town employees need to be respected and valued for their contributions and given the resources and staffing they need to do their jobs and do them well.
We need to make smart investments to grow our local economy. Tax incentives for corporations paid for by our property taxes are not the way to go. We need to invest in ourselves and play to our strengths. Greenfield is beautiful city with an interesting history that we should celebrate and highlight. And while we should never stop honoring our past, we need to recognize that nostalgia is a terrible business plan. We need to create the right kind of conditions for today’s businesses to flourish. We should be courting information technology, recreation and tourism, the creative economy, and renewable energy. All growing sectors in western Mass as well as the nation.
As important as economic development is to our everyday lives, it won’t mean a thing if we sacrifice our environment. We need to live up to the resolution the City Council passed this summer and fully transition to renewable energy sources. We need a comprehensive plan to upgrade our waste water treatment plant to protect our environment and our drinking water. And we need to focus on maintaining and replacing our aging infrastructure.
Finally, I would like to take a minute to talk about our young people. I have three boys in the Greenfield Public Schools. My oldest is a senior at Greenfield High School. He is the section leader for the percussionists in the GHS band and a mentor to younger students in the music program. My middle son is a sophomore and a Boy Scout who is an active volunteer in the community. And my youngest, also a Boy Scout, is a 6th grader at the Math and Science Academy and an avid library user. My children have benefited from strong public schools, and we need to continue to make investments there. But we also need to recognize that academics alone are not enough to sustain our youth. Our kids need other hobbies and activities outside of the home and outside of school, which is why I’m excited to support the Skate Park, a project that has spent far too long in the planning stages.
In closing, I’d like to thank everyone for all your support so far. This is just the beginning of the conversation and there’s still so much to talk about. I hope to earn your vote and I look forward to talking with you about these issues and more in the coming months.”