In 2001 I was asked to do a cancer study in my town of Wilmington for one of my healthy children. This information was needed as a comparison against the children being stricken with cancer in our area. Little did I know that I would be doing it again within a short time for my own child stricken with leukemia in 2003, losing his battle in 2006. My family and I will never know fully how our son contracted this dreaded disease, but I do know that the cancer rate for children in Wilmington at that time was about 2-½ times higher than the national average. Meanwhile, high levels of carcinogens were found in our water wells in south Wilmington that same year, 2003. Our drinking water wells were shut down immediately–but not soon enough.
The carcinogen would never have even been sampled for if no one raised the question. Fortunately, someone did: Suzanne Sullivan. It is vital to ask these questions no matter how difficult or uncomfortable they are. Otherwise, we will never know how to properly control the contamination that continues to sit on the Olin site today. Suzanne is not afraid to ask those difficult questions.
So let us ask some of those questions. Has Wilmington been responsive to this tragedy? Yes—- Wilmington tested and acknowledged problems stemming from one of its contaminated waste sites, and opposed the New England Transrail plan for redevelopment. Is there still more to do? Absolutely! I, for one, do not want this issue buried for obvious reasons. There is no one better qualified to state how difficult it is to talk about this. I didn’t want to believe this of my town.
We must complete the ongoing studies of the groundwater contamination in south Wilmington and the childhood cancer study my family participated in almost twenty years ago! We must document them for future reference and learn from past mistakes so it will never happen again. Wilmington has a chance to resolve and complete these studies in order to prevent further contamination of our land and our homes before this site can be used again. We have come far; but we need to finalize these studies in order to understand and take the next step toward completion of this process. This issue has been held back far too long; progress forward must be our goal; it is time for our town to be a town that truly cares for its future development and more importantly, the citizens it has been elected to represent, protect and champion.
Wilmington needs people with a strong background in community service. This is just one reason I will be casting my vote for Suzanne Sullivan and her continued service to this town. She was one of those individuals who came into my life when my son was so ill, and I saw firsthand how she truly cares. Her knowledge and passion for what the needs of the town are can only benefit Wilmington’s future needs and the needs of its citizens. Even when it means taking a less popular stance on issues.
This town must have a well-rounded Board of Selectmen willing to explore all options and then make informed decisions. Suzanne understands the needs of the town and has the knowledge and foresight to get things done. She is not just a one-issue candidate, however. Her dedication and strong work ethic shows through with her continued involvement in various community concerns since her last tenure on the Board of Selectmen. Her knowledge, dedication and foresight to serve her constituents in all aspects of community will only serve to improve the quality of life in Wilmington. Suzanne Sullivan deserves a seat on the BOS and we deserve the right to have someone who is willing to work for all the citizens of Wilmington on many of its hard issues.
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