Authentic leadership for all of us

| Letter to the editor from Joanna Caouette |

When I first moved to Maine from a war-torn country in East Africa, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had visited the USA once as a young professional, then spent a summer studying at Yale. But this time I was a homeless asylum seeker.

When I met my now-husband, all I knew of Maine was a decrepit apartment in Portland. I was thrilled when we found a home in New Gloucester. It looked like the towns in American movies I used to watch, where people go to live happily-ever-after.

But when I heard the horrible racist comments said by a member of the town’s selectboard, my heart sank. Leaders are a mirror of the community—did my new community think like him?

I was quickly reassured by the people who rallied in the dead of winter, put up signs telling me that people who look like me matter too, and came together to remove leadership that didn’t represent New Gloucester.

New Gloucester is ready to have authentic leadership and conversations that cannot happen in a vacuum. I believe that Dustin Ward, who is running for the vacated one-year seat, will represent the voices of everyone. I am very excited to see what great things he will do for our town and to see New Gloucester be home, sweet home. For everyone.

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