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Incumbents seek return to Selectboard

Gartenstein seeks three-year seat; Chapman, DeGray vie for one-year terms

BRATTLEBORO—The Monday deadline for candidates to turn in nomination papers for the March 6 town election came and went, and all the current members of the Selectboard up for re-election have decided to run again.

David Gartenstein will be challenged by Kathryn Turnas for the one three-year seat.

For the two one-year seats, incumbents Dick DeGray and Chris Chapman will be running, as will William Morlock III.

Gartenstein was elected to a one-year term on the Selectboard in 2011 after having served on the Brattleboro Union High School Board from 2008 to 2011 and the Brattleboro Town School Board from 2002 to 2004. He is also an assistant state’s attorney in Windham County.

In a letter to The Commons, Gartenstein wrote that despite a stressful year for the town, the board has tried to stay focused on issues such as “downtown traffic, energy efficiency, budget pressures, public safety, job creation, infrastructure, housing, waste management, and provision of essential services for our citizens.”

He wrote that he has “worked hard during my first term on the Selectboard to ensure that the processes we follow are fair and open, and that our decisions are made in the best interests of our community, based upon full information, after listening carefully and respectfully to what everybody has to say.”

“If re-elected, I will continue working diligently on these and other issues, striving to protect and advocate for the best interests of the town and its residents,” he wrote.

Turnas currently sits on the Brattleboro Development Board (DRB), the Friends of the Brooks Library Board, and the Brattleboro Community Justice Advisory Committee. She is also a Town Meeting member from District 3. She unsuccessfully ran for a one-year seat on the Selectboard last year.

In a post announcing her candidacy on iBrattleboro.com, Turnas said she is running again out of “concern for the lack of affordable housing, not only for families, but for seniors who are forced to survive on limited incomes.”

“Being a retired senior living on a limited income, I have found it necessary to use the Food Shelf at the Drop In Center,” she wrote.

“Given my active participation in town and cultural affairs, and my personal experience with limited income, I believe I will bring an important voice to the deliberations of the Brattleboro Selectboard,” she said.

DeGray, who was elected to a second three-year term in 2009, had been hinting that he would not run in 2012, but instead went for a one-year seat. He has served on the board since 2006 and as its chairman since 2008.

He said on Tuesday that what made him decide to try for another year on the board was his desire to see the completion of two major projects: the renovations of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the rebuilding of the Brooks House.

“There’s always going to be issues and projects, but these two are important, especially the Brooks House,” DeGray said. “It’s instrumental to the downtown, as well as the community as a whole.”

He said he supports the recent proposal by Gov. Peter Shumlin to locate a combined Community College of Vermont/Vermont Technical College academic site in the downtown area, and thinks the Brooks House would be a natural for such a facility.

“If that’s where it ends up, it will be a big help for Jonathan [Chase, the owner of the Brooks House] and for downtown,” he said.

But DeGray made it clear that he is not interesting in being on the board after 2013.

“If I’m elected, this will be my last term, that’s for certain,” he said.

Chapman won a one-year seat to the Selectboard in the 2011 election. He had been a Town Meeting member. He works as a trust administrator for the Trust Company of Vermont.

Morlock has been executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority and has served as a Town Meeting representative from District 1.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #137 (Wednesday, February 1, 2012).

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