BRATTLEBORO—The Selectboard and Town School Board both got a makeover on Town Meeting Day.
In the unofficial results announced by Town Clerk Hilary Francis after the polls closed on March 5, incumbent Selectboard member Tim Wessel moved up from his one-year seat to claim a three-year term on the board.
Wessel defeated Ben Coplan, 980–438.
Two new people will join the board. In a four-way race for two one-year terms, Elizabeth McLoughlin (1,022 votes) and Daniel Quipp (644) were the top two vote-getters. Franz Reichsman (529) was third and Oscar Heller (495) was fourth.
Retired teacher Andy Davis defeated incumbent Jill Stahl-Tyler, 845–566, for a three-year term on the Town School Board.
In the three-way race for the two one-year seats, incumbent Robin Morgan (1,000) and newcomer Emily Murphy Kaur (856) emerged the winners. Incumbent Spoon Agave came in third with 582 votes.
Voters also approved, 908–408, a non-binding referendum on whether to allow anyone 16 or older to serve as a Representative Town Meeting member or a Town School Board member, or to vote on town issues.
It is now up to the Vermont Legislature to decide whether to approve the change to the Town Charter.
New board members look ahead
The three new Selectboard members will be sworn in after the March 23 Representative Town Meeting.
After completing her first campaign and hearing the results announced at American Legion Post 5, McLoughlin commented on her victory.
“I must say it was a really nice slate of candidates and Brattleboro is lucky to have us all,” said McLoughlin. “I’m very pleased at the trust that the town put in me, and I’ll try to do my best to serve the town.”
“I consider the Selectboard job to be primarily one of managing and weighing and balancing a lot of things but most particularly what the taxpayers need and what the taxpayers can afford,” she said. “So that would be my main concern.”
McLoughlin said she looks forward to seeing how some of her past committee work will manifest at this year’s Representative Town Meeting.
“I was on the Finance Committee, and we worked thoroughly on the budget,” she said.
“And I look forward to seeing the recommendations that we made about the 1-percent [local-option sales tax] and the marketing to come to fruition and the other initiatives of the Finance Committee,” McLoughlin said. She also thanked all the people who had supported her during the campaign.
Like McLoughlin’s, this campaign was also Quipp’s first.
The incoming Selectboard member noted his deep involvement in the community, including the climate-action organization, 350 Brattleboro, and community radio station WVEW 107.7 FM.
“I think my result today is, in part, some kind of statement on the relationships I have in the community already,” Quipp said. “The relationships that I have with people in this community are based around either shared values or needs we’re trying to address in the community.”
As examples, Quipp discussed his involvement with a group called Opposing the Criminalization of Poverty.
“Working with those people is something I hope to continue to do, and getting their perspective I think will help me do good work on the Selectboard,” he said.
Quipp said that he also hoped to learn more about housing issues and how they show up in Brattleboro.
“And think about how we can be more creative with our resources and the partnerships that the town has so that we can improve the housing conditions for folks,” he said.
An average turnout
Francis said 1,570 ballots were cast in this election, or about 17 percent of the total voter checklist of 9,253.
“That’s about average for a non-presidential election in March,” Francis said.
Voters opted for a large number of write-ins this year, she said. A full official tally will not be available for several days.