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Bedford forum to allow residents to talk to officials about state, local issues

BEDFORD — Residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on matters affecting the community and the state, all in one location.

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m., state Reps. John Cebrowski, Dave Danielson, John Graham and Laurie Sanborn, will join Town Council Chairman Chris Bandazian, School Board Chairman Terry Wolf, Superintendent Tim Mayes and Assistant Superintendent Chip McGee to discuss an array of topics, such as health care, the New Hampshire retirement system, proposed legislation, property taxes, schools, roads and more.

The meeting, which takes place at the Bedford Library’s McAllaster Room, 3 Meetinghouse Road, will be moderated by Graham and Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford. Interim Town Manager Pat McQueen will also attend.

Seeking public comment

Councilor Jim Scanlon, who has organized the event, said people are invited to discuss any topics they choose in an informal setting with an open agenda — and take part in the democratic process.

“There are 600 bills coming up in Concord, and the state reps. have an interest in determining what concerns people in the community and the state. There’s the unfunded mandate of the retirement system; it’s a multi-billion dollar bullet we have to bite on. There’s three bills calling to rescind Common Core, and there’s the marijuana ruling,” said Scanlon.

He said at the Town Council and School Board meetings, residents are invited to offer comments, but there’s no venue to meet and discuss important issues facing the state, which ultimately affect Bedford.

Scanlon organized a meeting last September with town officials and state representatives, but the public was not invited to take part in the discussions.

“The first time we did this, it was informative in nature to see how we can proceed with this. There were only about four or five people there because of the lack of publicity and people weren’t asked to speak,” Scanlon said.

He is hoping many people will attend this time, and he also plans to have joint meetings twice a year so the public can interact with their state and local representatives.

“This is unique because we have never had a gathering of three governing bodies seated equally with a single focus on the community they represent,” Scanlon said.

To entice more people to join the discussions, the meeting will not be televised on BCTV, he said.

“There are people who will come to a meeting, but don’t want to appear on TV,” he said. “This gives them the chance to have at us. I want to open a dialog and I will push for discussion.”

Light refreshments will be served.

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