It’s always difficult to endorse candidates; everyone who runs for office does so for love of community and the willingness to serve. In that respect, they are all winners.
So when we endorse, it’s much like trying to select the right candidate from a pool of applicants; they all have positive and negative attributes, and the selection should be based on  who has the strengths to fit the particular job in a positive way.

Mayoral Candidates
We endorse Chris Morrow, council vice president.
As Gardner continues to move forward from a politically divisive past, we believe Morrow is a consensus builder; a candidate more focused on creating solutions than on placing blame. He is fiscally conservative; most recently questioning a 26 percent city property tax increase, and utility rate increases, that could have been avoided.  He spends a lot of shoe leather meeting with residents, apparently preferring direct communication as opposed to arms’ length surveys. He was supportive of updated council rules that will allow more citizen input and seems to understand what it is to chair a meeting and encourage positive discussion while at the same time moving the meeting forward.
For Gardner City Council we endorse:
Kristina Harrison
Harrison was originally appointed to the council to fill a vacancy; this will be her first election process.  As a council member, Harrison hit the ground running. She researched and quickly got up to speed on issues, and at the same time, she reached out to constituents to hear their concerns. Harrison was a calming influence on what could sometimes be a very raucous council. She has found her voice, becoming more assertive and forthright with her opinions. We endorse her for a second term.
Tory Roberts
We’ve not endorsed Tory before, but we are now. She has shown a love of community and steadfast determination to serve in the public arena; running for elected office several times and for the past few months serving as chairman of the Gardner Planning Commission. She is gaining strength as commission chair, keeping meetings on track and focused. For the last several years, she has attended city council meetings and is aware of issues of concern to the city. We believe she would make a strong addition to the city council.
For USD 231 board of education, we endorse:
Shelta Collins
There are two good candidates vying for this position, but we are endorsing Shelta Collins.  She is a relative newcomer to the community, but this independence could provide a strength of perception. She has immersed herself in researching issues, is assertive and has a business background. This background should help her make difficult management decisions if necessary, and she appears to have the strength to do so. She is pro-education and reaches out to constituents.
Brett Limer
A Gardner resident for a decade, Limer became noticeably involved in the district during the last bond issue analyzing demographics, setting up independent web sites and attending board meetings. Limer appears to be a straight-to-the-point guy, recognizing that as a board member, he is a representative of residents. Although he has strong personal ties within the district, he does not appear to be beholden to any particular faction personally or financially and is an independent thinker. We believe his independence, and analytical nature, would serve the board and community well.
Duane Waldman
Waldman’s call for more public discourse and transparency would be a good addition on a BOE that seems to have lost its way the past few years. His call “to see that public funding is respected” is encouraging  and a breath of fresh air for a district mired in secrecy. Waldman appears to make the distinction between micro-managing the district and having oversight of, and accountability from, the superintendent.
Making endorsements is not easy, and we encourage readers to study all the candidates carefully before going to the polls and making a choice.
As we’ve said before, it’s less important who we endorse, than for you to go to the polls on April 2 and vote for the candidate of your choice.