BRATTLEBORO — I was impressed by the turnout and the energy of the recent Brattleboro Selectboard Candidates forum to which I was lucky enough to have been invited.
The grassroots energy that has been ignited by recent turns in national politics is clearly being seen locally with an increase in protests, vocal support for historically underrepresented populations, and initiatives for ballot questions put before the voters.
At the forum, that energy resulted in some questions that were difficult for me to answer, either because they had very little to do with issues that the Brattleboro Selectboard actually has any substantial control over, or that three out of four candidates, having not yet served, wouldn't have enough institutional knowledge yet to address.
In talking to some close friends about this dilemma, I've now come to realize that this unexpected challenge that was put before us is actually a blessing.
Even if the next Selectboard will have somewhat limited means to address some of the issues raised, such as racial justice, climate change, and defending our marginalized populations, it is essential to reflect the values of our community even while our heads are filled with budget projections and concerns over making our town affordable for taxpayers.
I implore those who have newly found their voices of protest and their visions of the society in which they want to live, to continue to “think globally and act locally.”
Please do so by not only attending Selectboard meetings, but also joining important committees like the Citizen-Police Communications Committee, the Traffic Safety Committee, and the Arts Committee. Join the vital Energy Committee or the powerful Developmental Review Board. Please campaign to become one of the much-needed Town Meeting Representatives, who collectively approve or reject the Selectboard's budget and help to guide the town in good directions.
Your town needs your energy, and your time served can make a difference!
Let's all try to channel that energy I saw the other evening at the forum into a commitment to serve our town in the capacities I've mentioned, and other ways that you might think of, to make sure that Brattleboro is a wonderful place to live for all of our residents.
If I am elected, I also hope to see many of those seats filled again by you all at each Selectboard meeting (or watching on BCTV), keeping a close eye on our efforts as we collectively move Brattleboro into a prosperous and inclusive future.