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'A Change Will Do You Good'

'A Change Will Do You Good'Tufts graduate Katie O’Donnell recently made history in her hometown when she became the youngest person ever elected to the community’s Board of Selectmen.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.30.06] At age 22, Tufts graduate Katie O’Donnell may not have as much political experience as her peers in local government, but she has plenty of confidence to make up for it. O’Donnell, who in April became the youngest person ever elected to the Marshfield, Mass., Board of Selectmen, recently told The Patriot Ledger that she is determined to make a difference in her hometown.

“The town is definitely ready for a change. In a big way, too,” O’Donnell told the newspaper. The 2005 Tufts graduate earned a degree in American studies and is currently taking graduate courses through Tufts’ Graduate Career Advancement Program.

In the election held last month, O’Donnell, whose campaign slogan was “A Change Will Do You Good,” earned 62 percent of the vote, toppling her opponent – Selectman Chairman Greg Owen – by a hefty margin, according to the Ledger.

O’Donnell initially became interested in town politics, according to the newspaper, when she worked as a temporary clerk for the Marshfield conservation commission after graduating from Tufts. Last fall, she made the leap to the town’s planning board, when she was appointed to complete a vacated term.

While some people have been quick to criticize O’Donnell, who lives with her parents in Marshfield and has little political experience, she isn’t fazed by what others think. “It’s not something I really worry about,” O’Donnell told The Patriot Ledger. “I’ve always worked with people older than me, so it’s not too much of an issue.”

O’Donnell isn’t the first twenty-something to get her start in politics on the South Shore. Massachusetts State Representative Bob Nyman – who was elected to the Hanover School Committee when he was 18 – is familiar with the uphill climb young politicians face when they start out. People need to remember, he pointed out, that O’Donnell has earned her seat on the board.

“She may be new and she may be young, but she happens to be a decision maker for the town of Marshfield now, and she needs to be reckoned with,” Nyman told the Ledger. “By being a good listener, a good communicator and doing your homework on the issues that come before you, people will know you mean business,” he said.

O’Donnell, who told the newspaper that she intends to earn people’s respect “by taking them seriously,” does, indeed, mean business.

“The one thing I do know about is Marshfield,” O’Donnell told The Boston Globe. “It’s where I plan on staying … It’s a very important time. Everybody knows about the growth that’s facing the South Shore. And it seems now is the time that Marshfield really needs me.”

 

 

 

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