My name is Aileen Chute, and I am running for re-election to the three-year Selectboard seat here in Putney.
I like to joke that I am the longest-serving member of the Putney Selectboard, and that is true because Putney has a young board. I have served on the Selectboard for one entire three-year term and have been honored with the seat of chair for the last two.
A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, much of my professional career has been in information technology. My husband and I also built and operated a successful diversified family farm that featured pick-your-own blueberries, broilers, vegetables, and maple syrup in the small rural town of Washington, N.H. I know how to run a business, I know how to run a farm, and I am not afraid of dirty, tedious work.
In addition to serving on the Selectboard, I have been a lister, a planning commissioner, and chair of the Energy Committee for the town of Putney. I currently work in the assessor's office for the town of Brattleboro.
Working for local town government is rewarding in many ways, but more importantly, it has given me the insight and experience to be a more effective leader in town initiatives.
During my time on the Selectboard, we've expanded our board from three to five members, which has allowed Selectboard members to meet and collaborate on many subjects.
As a result, we have updated and clarified many of our outdated policies and procedures to make our local government more transparent and efficient, we have expanded access to Selectboard meetings by investing in the technology for hybrid in-person and online access for the public, and we have seen public engagement in both town committees and citizen-run initiatives, such as the Our Future Putney Housing Solutions Task Force, grow and bring real change and much-needed vitality to Putney.
We also face real challenges in Putney. We struggle with empty storefronts, a housing shortage, high taxes, and a changing climate.
During my time as a Selectboard member, I have come to understand that all these issues are complex, they are intertwined, and they have no easy answers. If I told you there was one good answer, I would be lying.
What I do know is that Putney needs a strong, thoughtful, knowledgeable Selectboard with the experience to navigate these issues.
This is what I have brought to the table, and this is what I will continue to bring. Please vote for me on March 5.
This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.