I have no grudge or problematic issue with the current Board or administration. I believe Jon Duke and his team are prudent and competent. I am running because I can bring an extensive, professional experience to governing this very special New England town.

I have no desire to be a permanent selectman. I believe I can make a strong contribution to the future well-being of Rockport in this shortened two-year remainder term on the Selectboard.

My “campaign” will be based upon the concept of working for all of Rockport. I will do everything to mitigate against the perception that there are “two Rockports” — the Village and West Rockport. The town of Rockport is comprised of a quaint harbor village, rolling green hillside neighborhoods, and a bucolic countryside. To me this diverse combination represents the best of all worlds, and the reason we all love our town.

I do have specific concerns that I believe must be addressed:

1. The future of the RES site. I see this as a punctuation point in Rockport’s legacy. The current concept of a small park surrounded by high-density affordable housing would do irreparable harm to our quality of life. I support a high-quality parks and recreation concept with minimal commercial support for the future enjoyment of families and citizens of all ages.

2. I am opposed to the “Camdenization” of Rockport. Camden is a thriving, quality town, but while “emulation may be the sincerest form of flattery” I believe Rockport is best served by maintaining its low-development, parklike character. In addition to the RES concept above, while I support the new hotel, I am opposed to the expansion of our little “downtown” into a bustling, commercial tourist center. I serve on the town’s Harbor Committee which has approved only minimal commercial operations. I hope we will never see the day when there are so many floats, piers, and mooring balls that one could almost walk across the harbor.

3. The structure of our property taxes needs scrutiny. Two thirds of our taxes go to education. After the additional 6% is taken by Knox County, the town is left with a paltry 29% for the oversight and administration of the entire town! While I have no intention of being a surrogate school board member, is it unreasonable for our Selectboard to expect the same quality of rational budget request as that which other cost centers are required to give? I served as superintendent of schools in large towns and was appointed to the National Blue-Ribbon Schools Panel. In that role, I evaluated schools from Maine to Texas. I have a very clear concept of how quality school systems are financed.

Throughout my career, friends and associates have said to me something along the lines of, “Doc – you don’t act like a superintendent of schools.” When I ask why they say that the answer is usually along the lines of, “You don’t have that august, serene, executive demeanor.” So be it. That’s me.

Quick story: While serving on the National Panel, I had the incredible honor of having a few moments of eye-to-eye conversation with Ronald Reagan in the Rose Garden at the White House. Then, as a panel member months later, I was invited to an early breakfast with Steve Forbes in his New York private dining room with three other guests. Great stuff. But let me tell you about a “culinary moment” that beat that. Still, months later, one morning my secretary rushed breathlessly into my office saying, “Dr. Wallace, you have something that no previous superintendent has ever had!” More than curious, I said, “Gloria, what is it?” She responded, “You have been invited to the custodians’ summer picnic!” The next Saturday, I ambled down to the river park with a six-pack of beer and a bowl of potato salad and spent the rest of the afternoon flipping hamburgers and swapping war stories with 40 of the most under-appreciated and hardest working men and women one could ever be with.” That might be as important a reason to earn your vote as any other.

Thank you.

Ralph “Doc” Wallace