The Owl and the Candidates: Getting to Know the Select Board Candidates

The Owl has asked candidates for Weston’s contested races to answer a few questions of the less-political type. Both candidates for Select Board answered the call (the hoot?) and their responses (unedited) are below. The Owl reminds all readers that these are volunteer positions for the town of Weston, require an amazing amount of time and untold stress, and that even if you do not like or plan to vote for a candidate, they all deserve respect and appreciation for being willing to serve. Lecture over…

The Select Board candidates are incumbent Chris Houston (6-year veteran of the Select Board) and Keith Johnson, long-time resident and volunteer (past service on Finance and Town Center Committees). For their actual candidate statements, please see the Weston Crier (Houston and Johnson), check out their video statements on Weston Media Center, or meet them semi-live (well, they’re alive and you’re alive but it’s on zoom), tune in tonight to the League of Women Voters Candidates Night. Select Board candidates are on at 9 pm. Link here.

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As a resident, what do you love most about Weston?

Houston: The small-town community atmosphere and quality of life, so close to the city and yet so far, coupled with outstanding town services, amenities, and schools.

Johnson: I love Weston’s location. Super convenient. I also hate Weston’s location. Too many commuters cutting through town. Perhaps we could install gates on all entry points locking out non-residents during morning and evening rush hours.

What would love to see change either immediately, or over time?

Houston: Bad traffic. Unfortunately, we’re limited in what we can do about that, given our location; it’s hard to live between thousands of people and their jobs but not expect people to drive through your town. But hopefully, things can get better as regionwide strategies to decrease traffic take hold and perhaps as companies learn from the pandemic that some things can be done without everyone being in the office 9-5 every day.

Johnson: Get more kids playing team sports. Team sports are a powerful force for teaching kids’ healthy lifestyles and development of important life skills. Teamwork, hard work, commitment, sacrifice, winning and losing.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

Houston: Select Boarding is my free time right now. When that’s over, I’ll need a drum set, to take that up, make up for some lost youth, release some pent-up frustrations from the Select Boarding, and consider joining an aging metal band looking for a mediocre replacement on the drums.

Johnson: Afraid I am boring. I read three papers a day (Globe, NY Times, WSJ). I shop, cook, and serve most dinners. I sometimes even leave my plate on the table! As a serial entrepreneur, I am toying with the idea of starting another business. It would be life changing as a startup is 24/7. 

Do you have a dog?

Houston: Yep, a corgi named Snickers (appearing on Instagram at snix.the.corgi, which was a great diversion for my daughter during the depths of the pandemic, with its #dailysnixpics).

Johnson: Ollie is a seven-year-old Portuguese water dog.

What is Weston’s superpower?

Houston: Having so many great volunteers and great staff, in town government, in the schools, and in other civic organizations. As to the volunteers in particular, it’s impressive and inspiring how much energy, expertise, effort, and time people are willing to offer, when they have plenty to do elsewhere or plenty of reasons to relax and stay on the sidelines instead.

Johnson: Its people. Last year my wife, a member of the WERC, saw the need for N95 masks. She and a few other residents found a lawyer in Wellesley with the know-how to manufacturer masks. They got Weston to loan its 3D printers, purchased materials, got them manufactured, assembled them, and distributed hundreds of masks to local medical, senior and first responder organizations. Luckily, they were reimbursed by the Weston WERC and Rotary Club.

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Thanks to both Chris Houston and Keith Johnson for taking the time to visit with the Owl. On a side note, both of these candidates answered the last question correctly; Weston’s superpower is its people. Also trees, but y’all knew that already from reading the Owl.

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