School Committee candidate Mark Mezzina has collected and submitted his signatures, officially paving the way for him to be on the ballot in March.
The 19-year-old recently moved home from South Carolina, where he had been attending college, and worked for Karin Rhoton's campaign for state representative.
Patch asked Mezzina a few questions about his campaign. If there is anything you'd like to ask, leave a comment below.
PATCH: What do you feel you have to offer the School Committee and voters?
MEZZINA: If elected, I will fight for an actively transparent School Committee, one that goes out of its way to keep parents and students informed, and listen to their input. I will post every vote that I take online with an explanation, and I will be responsive to every constituent concern that is brought to my attention. Using my perspective as a student, I will work to improve academic performance, including programs that teach students how to study and organize. I will also work with our elected legislators to ensure that North Andover is given its fair share of local aid, which it currently receives less of than other comparable towns.
PATCH: Given your young age, what life experience will you bring to the campaign and, if elected, to the School Committee?
MEZZINA: I may be younger than most candidates for public office, but being a student myself, I have a unique perspective that not only helps me understand educational issues, but would add a voice to the School Committee that is critically important to making decisions, which is that of the students. I view my age as a positive, not a negative.
PATCH: The standards-based grading is being scrapped for more traditional grading. You had mentioned the standards-based grading as one of the issues you would address. Now that it's no longer an issue, what is a major issue with North Andover schools that you hope to address?
MEZZINA: I am pleased with Dr. Hutchinson's decision to return the Middle School to traditional grading. I believe that this serves as a lesson for the future, and the next time a significant change is being discussed, we must go out of our way to not only keep parents informed, but include them in the decision-making process.
PATCH: How would you describe your philosophy on government? Would you say you're a libertarian conservative? And how would your political values translate to serving on the School Committee?
MEZZINA: I believe government should be bottom-up and not top-down, meaning that local government should be making the most decisions, not state or federal bureaucracies. While I do have libertarian views on a lot of federal issues, the North Andover School Committee is not going to be dealing with those issues. My focus is to ensure that North Andover residents get the best possible school system for their hard-earned tax dollars.
PATCH: Who are some other local, state or federal elected officials (past or present), if any, that you admire and would like to emulate?
MEZZINA: One of my favorite Presidents of all time is Eisenhower. I have a lot of respect for his sense of integrity, which is something I believe everyone should emulate.