Nicole Gough seeks seat on Phillipston Selectboard




For the Athol Daily News

Published: 04-19-2024 5:00 PM

PHILLIPSTON – After living in town for two decades, Nicole Gough has decided it’s time to make her first foray into local politics.

Gough is running to fill the one year remaining on the term of former Selectboard member Dan Sanden, who resigned earlier this year. Gough’s opponent in the race is Earl Sweat.

Gough decided to run for Selectboard because “actually, it’s something I’ve always had an interest in. I have a deep love for politics. I have a deep love of history passed down to me by my family.”

One of Gough’s great-grandfathers, she said, started the first library at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and another at the University of New Mexico. Another great-grandfather was a federal judge.

“So, this really made me interested in serving my community,” she said, “and being interested in how our community is run by the local leadership in our towns and cities.”

A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Gough attended Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, where she majored in fashion design, later switching to mass communications in her sophomore year. While in Lubbock, she met and married her husband Trent. Family circumstances required the couple to relocate to Phillipston and for the past 14 years, Gough has been acting as caregiver to several family members.

Gough said that attending local board and committee meetings has opened her eyes to a number of issues.

“I think we need some new ideas, and I want to focus on getting more people involved in the community,” Gough said. “We need more people to be active. We need more ways to get more people excited and want to participate. I was raised to believe that the more ideas that are brought to the table, the better the solutions we’re going to get.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Athol Town Meeting quickly passes 35 articls, budget
Lengthy Town Meeting warrants come at ‘critical moment’ for Orange
Bird feeders root cause of bear shooting in Athol, says MassWildlife
Athol Selectboard votes to demolish Summer Street garage
Shawn Hayden named new president and CEO of Gardner-based GAAMHA
Massachusetts SJC clears tipped wages question for ballot

The first-time candidate said effective government stems from people having open minds.

“We can have debates on taxes – we can have debates on a lot of things – but we may be missing on the best solution because that one person who doesn’t feel connected to their community has chosen not to participate,” she said.

Gough said her candidacy is based on a desire to want everybody to feel like Phillipston is a town that wants to hear their ideas. Her main goal, she said, is working to build a strong community.

“I think it’s important that we work to bring people together, to make sure everybody has a voice,” Gough said. “We need to bridge those gaps that divide us. And there is too much division right now.”

Gough said she had planned on running for office in Phillipston for quite some time.

“The reason I chose selectman is because a position opened up where I wasn’t going to be running against an incumbent,” she said. “I know I have a lot to learn and I’m not afraid of the challenge. We all need to keep learning. So, taking this step gives me the opportunity to give back. It also is a chance to promote something that is very dear to me, and that is togetherness, closeness, unity, family.”

Asked if her family is enthusiastic about her candidacy, Gough said her husband is her biggest supporter.

“I’m not running to push my own agenda. I’m not doing this for myself. I want to get involved because I want to figure out the solutions that are best for everybody,” Gough said. “Granted, that’s not always going to happen. But we have to try. We have to start somewhere. And we find the best solutions by listening to our community.”

The Town Election will take place on Monday, May 20. Polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m. at Phillipston Town Hall.

Greg Vine can be reached at