Many Westford residents know him as the town’s former Director of Land Use Planning. This fall though, he hopes they, and voters in other towns get to know him as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Former Westford Director of Land Use Planning Angus Jennings has thrown his hat into ring as a running mate for Evan Falchuk, a gubernatorial candidate on the ticket of the new United Independent Party.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, a lack of any previous political experience, Falchuk tapped Jennings to be his partner on the ballot, looking to garner his former experience as one of the state’s preeminent leaders in land use issues as an example of how the new party seeks a new path based on solutions rather than partisanship.
The news came unexpectedly at first to Jennings, who eventually came to see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity as well as a chance to help the new party that shares his own views.
“I as a voter haven’t found that in a long time, one on side you won’t have the commitment to civil liberties and equality and on the other side, I don’t think anybody will argue that the state government has spent taxpayer money wisely, there’s a total lack of accountability and transparency,” he said. “Our platform is simple: Everybody is equal, everybody’s rights need to be protected, and taxpayer money needs to be spent responsibly.”
While he has never served in public office before, Jennings has experience serving 40 towns across Massachusetts as either a consultant or an employee as well as the Connecticut legislature and two federal agencies in addition to his role as the former president of the Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors.
While garnering that experience, he came to build a belief that the Commonwealth’s outlook on various issues such as affordable housing is in need of an overhaul that would need to come from places other than Boston.
“We’re working in a system that’s designed to fail, and a lot of my fellow planners would agree with that statement. We’re trying to work within the policy to help get housing built, but it’s clearly not worked,” he said. “I don’t know if other candidates recognize that, they think Beacon Hill can solve this problem, but it can’t. We need to unlock the genius of every village, town and city.”
If elected, he says that he’d be the only planner elected to statewide office, and that he and Falchuk would work to overhaul a position whose only current statutory role is leading the Governor’s Council and turn the role of a Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor into one far more empowered to solve problems.
However, the pair’s other goal is to garner three percent of all total votes to become an official party, leading to a larger slate of candidates to join them in 2016.
And on that role, Jennings firmly refuses that he or Falchuk will serve as spoilers in November.
“People ask us if voting for us will shift the election in one way or another, and what we say is the Democrats and Republicans don’t own your vote, you do,” he says. “Every candidate needs to be out there earning votes, and that’s our goal.”
More information on Jennings’ candidacy is available at his website, falchuk2014.org/jennings