Terra Friedrichs

& her local work in
Acton, Massachusetts

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Champion - Team Building

Let's come to consensus!

Terra has a history of bringing people together from diverse communities to help Acton be more sustainable, as a community.

She has a strong commitment to consensus-building, and as a co-founder of the Assabet Valley Chapter of the Green Rainbow Party, which operates on a "modified consensus" basis of democracy. In this "modified consensus" process, groups try very hard to find 100% consensus of the group, before relying on a "vote". This ensures that a group respects the minority position.

Terra is committed to "Triple Bottom Line" sustainability, as a "best practice".

What is "Triple Bottom Line" sustainability?

It's a method/practice/principle whereby a community is sustainably:

- Fiscally
- Socially
- Environmentally

Think of this as a three-legged stool. If any of the legs is weak, then the sustainability of the community is weak.

By combining Triple Bottom Line principles with consensus process, we are the strongest we can possibly be.

In her last term as Selectmen, she focused on bringing people together to agree on the values in the Acton 2020 plan. In the group she worked with, 23 people were sitting at the table. She helped bring them together based on shared values and principles. In the end, there was almost a total consensus of the parts of the report that she worked on.

More recently, she's been working with Green Acton. Over the last couple years, she was proud to have advocated that Green Acton change its mission from being focused on "environment only" to being about "environmental justice", so that our work will focus on ensuring that we have enough truly affordable housing for people who need it the most, WHILE minimizing environmental impact. All at the same time! And because Green Acton works on a modified consensus, Terra believes their operating model will spread to other committees in Acton, because once people feel how wonderful it is to be respected, Terra has seen that more people are excited to be part of the group.

By working with Green Acton to accomplish this mission, Terra has learned a lot about working with people, in an official capacity. Recently, because she was so excited about the focus of Green Acton being more on Triple Bottom Line, she joined the Board of Directors of Green Acton.

She looks forward to helping the Town of Acton get to Triple Bottom Line sustainability and to use consensus building methods, as a member of the Board of Selectman.

As another As a private citizen, she helped found Let's Make Acton a Sanctuary Town, out of concern for immigrant rights to due process. The group wanted to use Municipal Rights to protect immigrants from being deported. After it became clear that a lot of residents were concerned about the idea of making Acton a "Sanctuary Town", Terra did some research and realized that the name "Sanctuary Town" didn't actually mean anything. She realized that the key was to ensure that immigrants are guaranteed due process. We now have one of strongest "due process" guarantees for immigrants in the nation.

This effort was also a consensus-based effort. In the meetings with LMAST, Terra insisted on bringing the views of the people who were against the group's goals. She wasn't concerned about whether the proposed policy would pass. She felt it would, even without addressing the views of the opponents. She genuinely wanted to help come to a consensus with them.

From Terra, herself:

I ask for YOUR vote! I genuinely believe one of my best qualities is the ability to get people mobilized, get things started, then giving those volunteers the tools to "run with it".  I never meddled in committee activities, as a Selectman. And I am earnest in my desire to nurture citizen education, involvement and consensus. Yes, I've been "disruptive" in the past...I am proud of my work to get Acton's rights respected in the South Acton Train Station debacle, when we were told by our own officials that Acton couldn't change the design. Yes, I did that. I will continue to be a warrior for our rights. And hope that I can be a warrior for your rights, and for triple-bottom-line consensus, as a member of the Board of Selectmen. I ask for your on-going support of my advocacy for your important causes and concerns! Please vote for me, Terra Friedrichs, on March 27"

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