May 10, 2023 By Carol Britton Meyer
When Liz Klein ran for Select Board in 2021, she didn’t have a specific agenda, but rather, a commitment to serve Hingham and all of its citizens.
Two years later, Klein is the new chair. “There’s so much going on all the time to run our beautiful town,” she told the Hingham Anchor. “I see the Select Board’s role as helping to prioritize initiatives so that they directly align with town goals and helping to remove obstacles wherever possible.”
When Klein ran for office, she talked about recovering from the global pandemic, balancing the level of services that Hingham citizens expect and deserve with available funding sources, providing high quality education, planning for climate resiliency, and creating an inclusive community.
Klein recalls the time during which there were no in-person meetings, and when those resumed, wearing face masks. “We’ve come a long way,” she said.
Klein is “proud of the work we’ve done so far, from the Master Plan and the Hingham Public Schools Strategic Plan to the Sustainable Budget Task Force Report and the Climate Action Plan,” as well as the creation of a Human Rights Commission. “A lot has been accomplished, but there’s much more to do,” she said.
Klein is also pleased that the proposed $7.9 million override passed at the April 24 Town Meeting and subsequently at the town election through a ballot question.
“I’m confident that this is the right budget with which to move forward,” she said. “It gives us some space to really focus on improving the process, operations efficiencies, and economic development — which I think will help us move the town forward and delay the need for another override.”
While the Select Board hasn’t discussed or voted on goals for the upcoming fiscal year, Klein outlined what she considers to be three main categories of focus: revenue (including economic development and non-tax) opportunities; process improvement, including communication at the town government level and with citizens; and Master Plan implementation, including climate resiliency and wellness for all ages.
Other priorities include creating more programs for older citizens, and moving forward with plans for a new or renovated Senior Center.
Klein feels fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to work with fellow Select Board members Bill Ramsey and Joe Fisher. “It’s been a great experience,” she said. “I want to serve the community in a meaningful way, and I feel I’m able to do that on the Select Board. There are some hard days and complicated issues, but for the most part it’s a very rewarding experience. I feel as though we’re moving forward and doing our very best for the citizens.”
While Klein said she has always had the sense that the town is “very well-run and managed and that good people work here,” in her Select Board role, she has seen firsthand “how professional and wonderful our town employees and volunteers are.”
Klein went on to say that the Town of Hingham is successful in large part because of the many citizens who volunteer their time, talent, and expertise. “It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to see that from the inside as a Select Board member.”
Klein served as executive director of the Hingham Downtown Association from 2014 to 2017 and is currently involved with the Hingham Education Foundation. She earlier served on the Master Plan and 375th Anniversary committees.
Klein and her husband, Scott, moved to Hingham in 2005 because of Hingham Public Schools’ fine reputation and had their first child in 2007. “We fell in love with the downtown area and the harbor,” she recalled. “We’ve stayed her because of the people and the sense of community.”
Ramsey, who just wrapped up as Select Board chair, looked back on the number of issues and goals the board tackled during his tenure — including seeking voter approval for a new Foster Elementary School, a new public safety facility, and passage of the $7.9 million override — all of which were accomplished.
“I can’t think of a time in the town’s history when our community has had to address issues of this magnitude simultaneously,” he said. “I’m grateful for how the town came together to support these initiatives. It’s been a challenging yet successful year for the Select Board, and I’m thrilled to be passing the gavel to my close friend and colleague Liz Klein, who I know will do an outstanding job leading the town.”