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Q&A With Board of Health Candidates

Board of Health incumbent Nelson Kessler faces challenges from Olaf Faeskorn and Deborah Shelkan Remis in the local election on April 24.

 

There's one seat up for election on the Board of Health April 24, and it's for three years. The candidates: incumbent Nelson Kessler and challengers Olaf Faeskorn and Deborah Shelkan Remis.

We asked each candidate the same five questions in this Q&A.

Nelson Kessler

1) Biographical: Please tell our readers in 40 words or less who you are. This can include anything you want such as family, occupation, experience, residence, education, age etc.

I’m a Board of Health member since 1996.  I have devoted many years serving the Town as Co-Chairman of the Conservation Committee, past Chairman of the Recycling Committee, and Town Meeting Member since 1996.  My wife, Libby, and I are town residents for 48 years and three of our four grown children and their families live in town.

2) Why are you running for the office? 100 words or less.

I would like to continue serving all of the town’s people in my work on the Board of Health.  Since the Board instituted the three barrel limit for trash pick up, recycling has increased and the town has saved tens of thousands of dollars in reduced tonnage costs.  As a member of the Board, we renegotiated a more economical waste removal contract, provide several free flu shot clinics per year, insure waste and recycling barrels at each of our beaches and provide recycling education in the schools.  You can find me or contact me every morning in the Health office.  It has been and honor and a pleasure to serve the Town of Swampscott and I would appreciate your vote on April 24th.

3) What is the one thing about Swampscott that you would change, if you could?

The Town of Swampscott provides free flu vaccines each year through an allocation program from the state.  Each year the allocation is based on the previous year’s demand.  Over the last several years fewer and fewer people are taking advantage of Swampscott’s program and our allocation has gone from 1,400 annual doses to only 300 annual doses.  This is of concern not only because the citizens of Swampscott are not taking advantage of this FREE program, but also because this decreases our allocation for the next year.

 4) What is the one thing about Swampscott that you would keep the same?

The one thing I would not change about Swampscott is the people.  We care about each other, education, youth sports, the elderly, recycling and the environment.

5) What one word best describes you?

Dependable

 

Olaf Faeskorn

1) Biographical: Please tell our readers in 40 words or less who you are. This can include anything you want such as family, occupation, experience, residence, education, age etc.

I’m 42 years old, married with 2 children. I work as a finance project manager for Partners HealthCare and have extensive experience in the healthcare sector in various clinical and operational positions in two countries. I obtained a health sector MBA from Boston University and am licensed as a registered nurse in Germany.

2) Why are you running for the office? 100 words or less.

After reviewing the work of the board of health in connection with the recent flooding issues and trash and recycling policy I felt that the Board of Health is in dire need of some one like me who will question priorities and unintended consequences of well intended policies. I am a strong believer in active democracy that starts at the local level. As some one who has held similar elected and appointed positions in Germany, I have seen already where the attempt to micromanage people’s life’s can lead to. It’s not what I want the future of my children to look like and my experience over the last few months has been that the citizens of Swampscott don’t want this either.

3) What is the one thing about Swampscott that you would change, if you could?

The priorities of local government.

4) What is the one thing about Swampscott that you would keep the same?

Pretty much everything else. Swampscott is a lovely place to live and raise children.

5) What one word best describes you?

Independent thinker. And I know that that’s two words.


Deborah Shelkan Remis

1) Biographical: Please tell our readers in 40 words or less who you are. This can include anything you want such as family, occupation, experience, residence, education, age etc.

As a Doctor of Medicine with a Master’s in Public Health and expertise in geriatrics, I am in a unique position to offer insights on community health issues that are relevant to all Swampscott residents.  I am articulate, organized, creative and passionate about lifestyle and preventive health issues.  Those who know me will attest to the fact that I think “outside the box”, am an avid listener and always have a new idea. 

2) Why are you running for the office? 100 words or less.

My family and I have lived in Swampscott for over 25 years.  During that time, I have been active in various town committees: Swampscott Council on Aging, Swampscott Revitalization Committee, Community Collaborative on Health and Nutrition (a voluntary group comprised of individuals in Swampscott and Marblehead), and was a volunteer builder for Kids Cove playground at Blocksidge Field.  My husband, Leon Remis is a practicing ophthalmologist in Marblehead. Our three daughters are graduates of Swampscott High School and have participated in town athletics and programs over the years.

3) What is the one thing about Swampscott that you would change, if you could?

I have been asked to comment on the “one thing I would change, if I could, in Swampscott.”  Change connotes something new.  It is asking people to embrace something different than the status quo. I could list some of my ideas, however, in the words of Margaret Mead, I realize it takes a small group of thoughtful committed citizens to truly affect change.  I am interested in promoting a healthier town environment for each and every one of us and look forward to the opportunity to work with the Board of Health and my Swampscott neighbors to promote this goal.

4) What is the one thing about Swampscott that you would keep the same?

The one area I would keep the same is our Police and Fire departments.  In our 25 years living in this town, whenever the need arose, the men and women of these two departments have been quick to respond, friendly and courteous.  

5) What one word best describes you?

CREATIVE

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