This month, Andover News is publishing profiles of the candidates running for select board and school committee in the 2024 Andover Town Election on March 26 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 George Thorlin, who is one of four candidates running for two open seats on the select board.

All Andover News coverage of the town election on March 26 will be available free to non-subscribers as a service to Andover voters. Please consider supporting local news by subscribing to Andover News.

The Basics

Family: Wife Jo, sons George and Jack, four grandchildren.

Education: Emory University MBA, Suffolk University BS/BA Finance

Occupation: Program Management, Advanced Technology Branch, Hanscom Air Force Base; Founder, Andover Safe Streets

Campaign Website:

Previous Candidate Profiles

Qualifications for Office

What prompted you to run for elect office?

I never anticipated running for public office until the day after the Andover Special Town Meeting in November when my two articles regarding Andover Traffic Safety were unanimously disapproved 5-0 by the Andover Select Board. Actually, all seven of the private petitions at the Special Town Meeting were unanimously disapproved by the Select Board. I remember thinking it was strange that all five Select Board members would unanimously vote thirty-five times with no differing of even one vote! Um, what is the statistical chance of that happening in a deliberative environment?

The very next morning on Tuesday, I went to the Town Clerk’s Office and took out papers to run for the Select Board when I realized that any change had to happen from within.

On the Issues

What are the most important issues the Select Board will face in your next term?

• Town finances, budget priorities and property taxes in uncertain economic times.
• Ensuring the excellence of Andover Schools by smartly investing in the future.
• Managed growth while protecting existing residential zoning.
• Traffic Safety, the implementation of Complete Steets and police enforcement.
• Investment in all our neighborhoods including sidewalks, pedestrian/bike safe streets and recreational green spaces.

Outline your position, if any, on the Andover’s efforts to comply with the new state housing rules for municipalities in Massachusetts that have MBTA stations and service. What, in your opinion, is the best option for Andover to comply with these rules?

I support MBTA Communities and look forward to reviewing the new zoning recommendations from the Planning Board that will be voted on at the Andover Town Meeting this April. I do have concerns regarding increased traffic resulting from adding an additional one to two thousand (including the old town yard development) vehicles in the downtown area. I would like to see a comprehensive downtown traffic study before any zoning changes are made. Let’s not forget that MBTA zoning will be by “Right” of the developer and the town will have little, if any control once it is adopted.

What other issues do you feel are important in this election and/or your specific race?

Do you support keeping open town meeting in Andover? Why or why not?

There are over 26,400 registered voters in Andover yet, for a variety of reasons only a fraction, as little as 500 residents attend and vote at Town Meeting. Sometimes it is more, but not often.

As an Andover history enthusiast, I can understand and love the quaintness of Open Town Meeting. But the times have changed, and Andover has not changed with the times. It’s time to change our form of governance and find a way where all Andover voices can be better heard!

In addition to Open Town Meeting, there are only three other forms of local government under Massachusetts Law:
1) Representative Town-Meeting – Elected Representatives (by Mass law up to 240) and Appointed Town Manager
2) Elected Town Council and Appointed Town Manager
3) Elected Town Council and Elected Mayor

I’m a strong believer that Andover voters should be able to elect all their leaders. It is time to move forward with an Elected Town Council and Elected Major.

What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

There is a clear difference between me, and the other three Andover Select Board candidates. I am an independent political OUTSIDER. OUTSIDE the internal town management shenanigans. OUTSIDE the obfuscation tactics that permeate from some in our town leadership. OUTSIDE the connected world of local town politics and special interests.

I am running for Andover Select Board for everyday Andover residents to ensure that we all have a voice at Town Hall.

What else should voters know about you and your campaign?

I am highly motivated with the proven leadership and tenacity to consistently deliver results. During my business career spanning four decades I have led global teams bringing new innovative technologies to markets worldwide in the fields of computer-aided design and manufacturing, supercomputing, speech recognition and mobile text messaging. More recently, I worked for the DoD as a Senior Auditor examining multi-billion dollar defense contracts to uncover fraud, waste and abuse.

I have excellent communication, analytical and the business skills needed to help ensure the financial health and vitality of Andover now, and in the years to come.

Key Dates For The 2024 Town Election

The town election is scheduled for March 26. The last day to register to vote in the 2023 Andover election is March 16, 2023. You can register to vote online or by visiting the Town Clerk’s office.

Feb. 27: Deadline to submit a vote by mail application.

March 16: Deadline to register to vote in the March 28 election.

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).

More election information from the Town of Andover.

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