TEWKSBURY — Earlier this week, the account “Progressive Tewksbury” took to Twitter to call on the Town of Tewksbury to follow the lead of several surrounding towns by changing the name of the Board of Selectmen to a more gender-neutral title. This change would acknowledge the presence of female elected members.
In response to 18th Essex District State Representative Tram Nguyen’s tweet congratulating the North Andover Select Board for their recent name change, the account expressed a desire for Tewksbury to take similar action.
“It’s past time for Tewksbury to consider changing the Board of Selectmen to the Select Board,” their tweet read. “There are two women currently serving. Women hold government leadership roles, too. Crazy, right?”
Currently, Jayne Wellman Miller and Anne Marie Stronach are serving on the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen. Both were elected in 2019, with this being Wellman’s first term in the position. Stronach currently serves as the board’s clerk.
In January 2020, the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association also opted for a name change, now going by the Massachusetts Select Board Association. In a news release from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, it was stated that the decision to change the name was done in an effort to promote equality and inclusivity among those serving and considering running for election. The release read:
“The association’s Executive Board proposed the change in order to align with a trend among cities and towns to adopt gender-neutral terms for local government bodies in an effort to promote inclusivity and equality.”
At the time of the release, 85 towns in Massachusetts had opted to adopt “select board” as the title of their elected policy board. Since then, more towns across the state have adopted the change.
Aside from North Andover, Chelmsford and Andover are among other surrounding towns that have undergone a name change within the past two years.
Thus far, there has been no comment on behalf of the Board of Selectmen regarding a potential name change.