This week, Andover News is publishing profiles of the candidates running for select board, moderator and school committee in the 2023 Andover Town Election on March 28 to help voters make decisions. You can also view all Andover News election coverage.
Responses are from a questionnaire sent to all candidates in February and, in some cases, have been edited for length and clarity. Today’s profile is from incumbent Select Board member Laura Gregory, who is facing first-time candidate for office Kevin Coffey.
All Andover News coverage of the town election on March 28 will be available free to non-subscribers as a service to Andover voters. Please consider supporting local news by subscribing to Andover News.
Family: I have two adult daughters and a dog.
Education: University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, IA (J.D., with distinction); Boston University School of Law, Boston, MA (Spring 1992); Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA (B.A.)
Occupation: Partner in a law firm – Sloane and Walsh, LLP, Boston, MA
More about Laura Gregory: I bring six years of experience on the Select Board as well as 30 years experience as a practicing civil litigation attorney to the position. My background in negotiation and contracts has been constructive to Select Board work including, for example, crafting contracts with North Reading for water and with developers seeking to improve the downtown “old town yard” area. I also bring my experience as a zoning board member and a parent active in Andover schools to my decisions as a member of the board.
Campaign Website: https://gregoryforandover.com/why-vote-laura/
Qualifications for Office
What prompted you to run for public office?
I first ran for Select Board in 2017 to refocus the Board back to doing the business of the town and representing the needs of all Andover residents.
Experience relevant to serving in elected office:
I’m proud of what I have helped accomplish on behalf of Andover residents during my six years on the Select Board, including supporting facility upgrades (Ballardvale Fire Station, Municipal Services Building, the Robb Center, West Elementary & Shawsheen), enabling responsible development, improving financial health through funding of long-term liabilities, advancing sustainability projects, and developing policy to make our community more inclusive. Additionally, I have been involved in addressing two significant crises – the gas explosions and the pandemic. Please see my website for additional information on my accomplishments.
What differentiates you from your opponent?
Balance is important, and making good decisions for Andover’s future requires weighing a wide-range of needs. My track record of representing diverse opinions comes from knowing the challenges in our community can best be addressed through collaboration. Select Board members have to be willing to foster consensus to make the hard decisions which are in the best interests of the town.
Anything else Andover voters should know about your candidacy?
On the Issues
Andover News asked candidates a series of questions on issues facing the board or committee they are running for, as well as general issues the town is likely to face during the candidate’s term.
Select Board Issues
What are the most important issues facing Andover that the select board will need to address in the next three-year term?
Critical decisions will be made in the next three years to guide our town for decades to come. The Select Board will have an important role in building facilities that provide Andover students modern learning environments, accelerating infrastructure upgrades including water, exploring development of improved recreational facilities, and bringing the vision for “old town yard” to fruition. These projects can only be successfully accomplished with broad input from the Andover community, and I am committed to seeking out and listening to feedback from all constituents.
Building a new Andover High School
If the school committee were to vote on a recommendation for a new Andover High School to town meeting today, how would you vote? Why? What new information could or would sway your vote in the opposite direction?
The Andover High School Building Committee will make a recommendation to the Select Board and School Committee whether to seek taxpayer approval for a new high school or addition/renovation to the current high school. Their analysis will be based on a high-level comparison of the costs and the feedback they have received through various meetings, forums, surveys and focus groups over the past several years. I look forward to hearing the Committee’s recommendation and discussing it with my Select Board colleagues.
I served as the Parent Advisory Council President (2015 to 2017) when both of my daughters went to Andover High. I am very aware of the shortcomings of the current facility and the need for improvement. It is overcrowded, key infrastructure systems are out of date, and maintenance costs are high. The facility is impacting teaching and learning, and holding our students back from reaching their full potential. We need to do better for Andover students.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to pursue an AHS project will be made by voters at Town Meeting and the ballot box. As a member of the Select Board, I am committed to making sure voters have that choice.
Previous Candidate Profiles
- Monday: Kevin Coffey, Select Board
- Tuesday: Laura Gregory, Select Board
- Wednesday: Keith Saxon, Moderator
- Thursday: Sheila M. Doherty, Moderator
- Friday: Lauren M. Conoscenti, School Committee
Key Dates For The 2023 Town Election
The town election is scheduled for March 28. The last day to register to vote in the 2023 Andover election is March 18, 2023. You can register to vote online or by visiting the Town Clerk’s office.
March 15, 7 pm at Memorial Hall Library: Andover/North Andover League of Women Voters’ Candidates Forum
March 18: Deadline to register to vote in the March 28 election.
March 21: Deadline to submit a vote by mail application.
March 28: Election Day. Polls open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. (completed mail-in ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on election day).