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Spring elections are coming up soon in many cities and towns in New England. At least one member is putting his name on the ballot in his hometown. Brother John Burrows, a member of Local 275, is running for a seat on the Planning Board in Billerica.
Burrows is a 15-year member of the union and last year attended the ".300 Hitters" program at the UBC's International Training Center in Las Vegas. He called the experience "amazing" and said it influenced his decision to run. Another factor was something he learned while doing a Union Participation Program (UPP) event.
"I've always been active in the local with the volunteer organizing committee. But when I organized a UPP effort in Billerica to build dugouts, I found out that 90 union carpenters lived in town," he said. "Planning Board has a say in the zoning and what the town's people want and what works for Billerica. To be a part of a community, you have to be involved."
While employment at the Billerica Mall has fallen to a quarter of what it once was and the downtown area has become stagnant, Burrows says the Planning Board has been slow to approve worthwhile projects. He feels like his election to the Planning Board could tip the balance toward approval of positive developments in town, including a rumored solar farm.
Burrows is currently working as a carpenter steward for Turner Construction at Massachusetts General Hospital's Waltham campus. He also recently applied for a position as a Business Manager/Organizer with the New England Regional Council and is scheduled to attend a "Three Day" in Las Vegas next month.
In addition to union carpenters, Burrows has been getting help from members of IBEW Local 103. Members interested in helping can contact Burrows through Local 275 or on his campaign Facebook page "Burrows for Planning Board."