BOARD OF HEALTH CandidateS
2021 Biennial Town Election
Term: 4 Years
Bridget L. Sweet (incumbent)
Candidate Website/Social Media Address
A lifelong Massachusetts resident, I moved to Franklin in 2013. I am passionate about public service and giving back to the community; bringing over 15 years of experience in public health and food safety in both the public and private sector. Currently, I serve as the Executive Director of Food Safety and Adjunct Faculty at Johnson & Wales University in my professional role, the current Chair of the BOH in Franklin as well as the President of Franklin Youth Lacrosse. I hold many relevant certifications in food safety and public health and my educational credentials include a Doctorate of Law and Policy from Northeastern University.
What accomplishments are you most proud of during your most recent tenure? Or, if you are a new candidate, what accomplishments are most relevant to the Board of Health role?
Extremely thrilled to have been able to support the hiring process of the 'new' Director Cathleen Liberty. Cathleen joined the department just prior to the onset of COVID and has been instrumental in supporting a variety of public health initiatives. I am also very proud of some of the trainings that I supported during COVID and the work I completed with youth sports to encourage a safe return.
What do you foresee as the most urgent public health issue that Franklin will address in the next four years?
Unfortunately, I believe that we will continue to grapple with COVID and the impacts that the pandemic and mitigation strategies within the community. In addition to the social emotional well being, mental health, substance abuse and other determinants of health.
How would you rate the Board of Health’s response to the coronavirus pandemic?
I don't think I can rate the response in an unbiased manner. Is there room for improvement - absolutely. Did I do my best - unequivocally. Can I do better with more data and knowledge - absolutely. Part of the challenge remains that the BOH became the enforcement authority in ALL areas, where previously we had no local authority and had to enforce the regulations from the state.
What do you think are the greatest public health lessons from the Coronavirus period?
When public health is effective, it is invisible. Public health infrastructure in Massachusetts is woefully underfunded and the duties of the staff continue to expand. We learned that in some aspects; public health is political and we need to reframe that perspective. We learned that as a community, we need a public health nurse and we can no longer rely on contract services. We learned that we need to rely on additional resources and began to collaborate in a regional format to promote and protect public health. We also learned that we need to educate in all aspects of public health; not just in the lens of COVID but in all areas.
Candidate is running uncontested