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Selectboard candidate Jessica Gelter makes a masked-and-distanced pitch to voters outside of the polls on Tuesday. Gelter and incumbent Ian Goodnow won the two one-year seats on the board.

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Brattleboro elects Gelter, re-elects Goodnow, Quipp to Selectboard

Town joins Dummerston, Putney in rejecting breakup of Windham Southeast School District

BRATTLEBORO—Voters on Tuesday elected a new Selectboard member, as Jessica Gelter won her bid for a one-year seat.

Incumbent Daniel Quipp will return to the board for another one-year term, while incumbent Ian Goodnow, who is finishing his first one-year term, won his campaign for a three-year seat.

The board members-elect begin their terms after the conclusion of Annual Representative Town Meeting on March 20.

Voters also overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to dissolve the Windham Southeast School District, 1,551–226, as well as rejecting a proposal to allow the other towns in the district to leave, 1,451–320.

Allowing retail cannabis sales in Brattleboro got support, 1,397-425, as did a proposal to allow amendments to the Town Charter by a majority vote of the town’s voters, 1350-271.

Brattleboro Town Clerk Hilary Francis released the unofficial results after polls closed at 7 p.m.

Gelter received 1,110 votes. In a statement on Facebook, she wrote, “I am humbled to have won a one-year seat on the Brattleboro Selectboard with more votes than any other candidate. I hope to make our town proud.”

She added that she had planned to make a longer statement but it will need to wait. That same day, the family’s cat Hoshi had suddenly died and Gelter said she needed to spend the night with her family “as we process our loss.”

“Still, I’m thrilled to be able to step up and serve my community in a new way,” Gelter wrote.

Goodnow and Quipp were in a Selectboard meeting when the results were released.

Board Chair Tim Wessel congratulated the unofficial winners and said he looked forward to serving with them. He also thanked outgoing board member Brandie Starr for her years on the board and service to the town.

“I am very excited,” Goodnow said.

He had spent most of the day at the polls despite the cold temperatures. Witnessing people going to the polls is one of his favorite things, Goodnow said. “The windburn was worth it.”

He thanked the community for placing their trust in him for another term.

“I have an intense amount of respect and appreciation for all the other candidates,” Goodnow said. “I look forward to serving with the new board.”

In Goodnow’s opinion, the large pool of candidates strengthened the community’s democratic process.

Mixed with his excitement, Goodnow admitted he also feels nervous about taking on the responsibility of a three-year term.

“Still, I feel very committed to making the time commitment to the town,” he said.

Goodnow received 1,641 votes to opponent Rikki Risatti’s 103.

Quipp, who received 1,095 votes, said, “I’m delighted to be re-elected and look forward to serving with Jessica [Gelter] and my old pals Liz [McLoughlin], Tim [Wessel], and Ian [Goodnow].”

“I am confident we will do good for the people of Brattleboro in the coming year!” Quipp added.

Jackson A. Stein and Evan Chadwick were both on the ballot for one-year seats.

A couple days before the election, Stein announced they would step down, urging votes instead for Jessica Gelter — or, they eventually said, anyone but Chadwick.

In a message posted to Instagram, Stein said, “After a lot of thought and discussion I’ve realized it’s in our best interest for me to step back from the Selectboard race.”

“If Evan Chadwick gets elected, the gentrification in our town will only speed up, the scope of policing will be expanded, and the town will become unlivable for many of us,” Stein wrote. “Votes for Jessica Gelter and Daniel Quipp are votes in the right direction.

“Thanks for sticking with me through all of this, and I’m sorry I couldn’t do more. Next year is our year.”

In a video accompanying the message, Stein elaborated, describing some of Chadwick’s statements during the campaign as “bigoted” and concerning.

Stein also shared lukewarm praise for incumbent Daniel Quipp, predicting that, as the incumbent, Quipp would likely win re-election.

The incumbent, Stein acknowledged, had voted correctly throughout the year on important issues with great urging from the community and the community needed to keep making sure that Quipp would continue to vote in that vein.

Despite leaving the race, Stein received 53 votes.

Chadwick got 748 votes, and Kurt Daims received 160 votes.

Risatti, who ran for a one-year seat as well as the three-year, received 111 votes.

Gary Stroud, who had also left the race weeks ago due to a cancer diagnosis, received 85 votes.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #602 (Wednesday, March 3, 2021). This story appeared on page A1.

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