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Tim Wessel talks to reporters after he got the news that he was elected to a one-year seat to the Brattleboro Selectboard on March 7.


New blood on board

Starr, Wessel win Selectboard seats; plastic bag ban, ‘Compassionate City’ referenda pass

BRATTLEBORO—With the electronic vote tabulator buzzing in the background, Town Clerk Hilary Francis read down the list of unofficial election results Tuesday.

Brandie E. Starr and Tim Wessel are Brattleboro’s newest Selectboard members. Starr took the most votes with 930, followed by Wessel with 895. Both new board members will serve one-year terms. Candidate Davey Cadran trailed with 542. This is the second time Cadran has run for the board.

The town School Board also has a new member. Spoon Agave ran unopposed for a one-year term. He received 896 votes.

David Schoales ran unopposed in both of his races. He will serve three years on the town Selectboard — 1,134 votes — and three years as a town School Director — 1,043 votes.

Voters also approved two nonbinding articles by wide margins. One bans single-use plastic shopping bags. The second would declare Brattleboro a “Compassionate City” as outlined in the Charter for Compassion.

The Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative defines this as calling “all to work to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to honor the sanctity of every single human being, and to treat all with justice, equity, and respect.”

Standing in the Municipal Center’s second floor hallway, Starr rocked and tapped her feet trying to warm them. She and Wessel spent a large portion of the day standing outside greeting voters.

She thanked the people who turned out to vote in a non-presidential election “and supported our local democracy.”

Of the 8,763 registered voters, 16.7 percent cast ballots.

Starr and Wessel officially take their places on the board after Representative Town Meeting on March 25. For the next two weeks, both plan to do their homework and prepare for the year ahead.

Starr said she wanted to meet with Town Manager Peter Elwell and as many town employees as possible. She also had questions about implementing the plastic bag ban.

“The vote itself is easy, but then we’ll have to work to make sure it’s fair for everybody and that it works for everybody,” she said.

Wessel stood against the wall near Starr, surrounded by reporters.

“I’m proud of being able to serve the community,” he told them.

He wants to refresh his knowledge of the immediate tasks facing the board by attending upcoming informational meetings.

“And probably stay quiet and learn a lot,” he added.

As a bonus for the day, recently retired Town Clerk Annette Cappy volunteered to be a poll worker.

She said she enjoyed the election, perhaps even more than when she was clerk. For a change, not all the responsibility was on her shoulders, Cappy said.

Her successor, Hilary Francis, said she appreciated Cappy’s help and was pleased with how her first town election went.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #398 (Wednesday, March 8, 2017).

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