Sanjay Arwade is a Professor of Civil Engineering at UMass Amherst, helps coordinate the activities of the Amherst Nordic Ski Association, is President of Amherst Baseball, which offers youth baseball and softball for area kids, and serves on the Amherst Recreation Commission.  He grew up in Manhattan, in New York City, and fell in love with the outdoors while a graduate student at Cornell, in Upstate New York.  If he’s not at UMass or at home with his family he’s probably in the woods trail running or skiing.  Professionally, his work mostly involves research and teaching of structural engineering for offshore wind energy.

Elisa Campbell has lived in Amherst for 50 years; during that time, she served on the Planning Board, the Parking Garage Committee, and the Select Board. She has also been a long-time environmental advocate. This column is solely her own opinion, and not that of any of the many organizations she has worked with over the years.

Andy Churchill has lived in Amherst since 1995. He served on the Amherst School Committee from 2004 to 2010 and chaired the Charter Commission that proposed Amherst’s current form of government from 2016 to 2017. He also served on the UMass/Amherst Town-Gown Steering Committee, on Rep. Ellen Story’s ad-hoc economic development committee, and as a Town Meeting member from 2002 until it ended in 2018. He has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California Berkeley and has worked primarily supporting K-12 education and workforce development. He and his wife Jackie raised two boys in Amherst, and he can’t imagine a better place for them to have grown up.

Laura Draucker has lived in Amherst since 2014.  Her work for 14 years and counting involves researching, developing, and implementing solutions for addressing climate change. She works for an environmental NGO in Boston, Ceres, and was previously the director of sustainability for Amherst College. Laura chairs the Amherst Energy and Climate Action Committee, but her posts are not approved by the Committee.

Meg Gage grew up in Amherst and moved back to town in 1987.  She is the retired founding president of the Proteus Fund, a national public foundation, based in Amherst that supports peace, human rights and democracy. In 1986 she won the inaugural Scrivner Award, given by the Council on Foundations to individuals for entrepreneurial grantmaking.  She served on Town Meeting from 1989 until it ended in 2018. She led three override campaigns in the 1990s, two of which were successful.  She served on the Puffers Pond Committee and on the Charter Commission, where she voted with the minority in opposition to the proposed charter.  She is on the founding Steering Committee of the District One Neighborhood Association.  With her husband Steve King she raised two sons in Amherst.

Rick Hood has been doing web development for a living since 2000. Prior to that he ran a boat building and repair business in Rhode Island. He was a member of the Amherst and Regional School Committees from 2010 to 2016, and was chair of the Regional Committee during the first two years. He is currently Treasurer of the Amherst Education Foundation, which he has been involved with for many years.

Bernie Kubiak was a Select Board member in Belchertown, the town administrator in Hadley, Deerfield, and Northfield, and an Amherst town meeting member. He is now a non-voting member of the current Finance Committee and part of the Transportation Advisory Committee. While in Deerfield he helped develop the South County EMS, a first of its kind regional municipal organization.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Jon McCabe is a former university administrator who moved to Amherst 11 years ago because he thought a town with a population that has more than 60% bachelor’s or higher degree attainment would be a good place to raise a child.  He has been scratching his head over this decision ever since…

Anastasia Ordonez has lived with her family in Amherst since 2015 and runs her own business advising nonprofit organizations on how to raise awareness for social impact. A long-time social justice activist and educational advocate, Anastasia served on the Amherst School Committee and Regional School Committee for almost four years, and has served on the boards of several organizations. You can often find her hiking with her dog Arlo in the Pioneer Valley woods.

Bob Rakoff moved to Amherst in 1979 to teach politics at Hampshire College, following stints at HUD and the University of Illinois. He retired in 2016 after teaching and writing about land use and environmental policy and serving as Dean of Social Science. Bob chaired the Planning Board in the late 1980s and served several terms in Town Meeting.

Sara Ross is a resident of Amherst, a graduate of Amherst public schools, and a parent of students at ARMS and ARHS. She is a co-founder of Sungage Financial, a financing platform that makes solar ownership possible for households across the country, and UndauntedK12, a national non-profit working to support America’s K-12 public schools to make an equitable transition to zero carbon emissions while preparing our youth to build a sustainable future in a rapidly changing climate.

George Ryan represented District 3 on the Amherst Town Council during its inaugural term and before that sat on Town Meeting for 11 years. Prior to that he was a member of the Board of Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity. Recently retired from college teaching he has lived in Amherst since 1987. Both his daughters are proud graduates of the Amherst public schools.

Gerry Weiss has lived in Amherst for 41 years, served on the Select Board, the Charter Commission, The Disability Access Advisory Board and is the current President of Craig’s Doors, having served on the their Board of Directors for the past 11 years.

As a general rule, we do not publish posts by elected officials. Exceptions may be made for urgent matters and announcements.

Photo credits: Sarah Marshall if not otherwise credited.