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Ideas, energy not limited by age

March 22, 2019 GMT

Editor, Daily Times:

There is something bothering me about this election for mayor. There’s something about words that supporters of one of the candidates use. They say things like “new energy” and “young and new.” The insinuation is that anyone above a certain age isn’t welcome. However, ideas and energy are not limited to young(er) people, just like experience isn’t limited to old(er) people. Everyone is important and to suggest old(er) people with lots of experience need to stand aside because of their age is offensive.

I thought we had reached a point where people are judged not by their age, but by their ideas, their character, and their record of accomplishment.

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Fred Smith stands out on all three of these. He has ideas to move this city forward, real ideas (not vague promises), ideas that work. His character is demonstrated by his commitment to service and community -- first as a Marine for 11 years, then as a pastor for 17 years, and then as a local public servant for 23 years. And his record is outstanding. When he was mayor, our city grew in population and property valuation. We had new businesses coming to town with new jobs and new families. We fixed our streets. And we stayed true to our values of what makes Watertown unique and special.

I say this because I was at the time operating my business, Como Photo, on North Fourth Street. As a business owner for over 50 years, I appreciate candidates for office that are pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-new ideas, but ideas that work. Something Smith has proven time and again.

Fred Smith does not appear to be one that would directly confront the age-ism being thrown at him. He turns the other cheek. So let me say this. I am in my 90s but so what. I have my faculties and I have lived a good life but I also appreciate experience and people with a unique set of job skills. That is Fred Smith to a tee.

As for those supporting the other candidate for mayor, I would encourage you to start talking about ideas and substance. Because for those of you who keep trying to put down old(er) people, (Smith is in his middle to later 60s, I am told) I have news for you. All of us so-called senior citizens, we take voting serious and we show up at the polls a lot more regularly than many of the so-called millennials. I’ll be voting for the candidate with the proven track record of standing up for all of Watertown, young(er) and old(er). I’ll be voting for Fred Smith on April 2.

Bill Welch

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