As Chair of the Selectboard, I asked voters to increase the Fire Chief's pay from $3/hour to $13/hour, as part of the proposed FY2011 Budget at Essex Town Annual Meeting 2010. They did. Town Meeting Television Archives
Making a Difference
By Being Different
American society is out-of-balance.
We need people with new ideas to step up and run for office, to think creatively about recurring problems, and to find new ways to address them.
Elected officials must remember their job is to speak for and serve their constituents, not their cronies.
In 2005 I applied to a local government task force on merger. Once appointed, I faced tremendous pressure to "go along to get along."
I resisted. And I've been resisting ever since. Because the way to bring common sense and an independent voice into the halls of power is to prioritize your constituents' needs.
I served for 12 years ― never missing a meeting ― as a non-partisan, elected member of the Essex Town Selectboard. I've served on numerous other committees at town hall, including the Essex Energy Committee since its formation as a Task Force in 2007.
I also served as the Essex representative to the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission for four years. I traveled to Texas on its behalf to speak about a HUD grant we received and used to jump-start our ECOS Regional Plan.
I spoke at the Rio South Texas Regional Planning Consortium Peer Exchange at South Padre Island, Texas about Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission's ECOS Plan in September of 2012.
I regularly attend more than 100 meetings per year in order to hear people's specific concerns and better address community concerns.
For example, I was the sole Selectboard attendee at several Cemetery Commission meetings, the Essex Players' annual meetings, and the Senior Center's merger meeting, not because I was tasked with attending but because I sought out meetings where I might broaden my townview.
It's easy for me to think differently because my life has taken me down slightly different paths than my resume might indicate.
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey's most rural county.
My parents were always active in the community ― my Dad as a pastor, my Mom as a Girl Scout Leader and School Board member ― setting the stage for my community involvement.
Church, scouting, and school activities filled my free-time, and I was a fan of ABC-TV's Wide World of Sports. During the summer, we hung out at the library, the municipal park and playground, and public tennis courts.
I continued to play tennis in high school, where I was named an East Penn League All Star as a junior and senior, and captained the team that finished atop that league for the first time.
I graduated from a state school at Cornell University, majoring in Industrial & Labor Relations, and emerging with an appreciation for the gains that labor unions have brought to the workforce.
I drive an older but energy-efficient car, live in a modest townhouse, and strive to live frugally.
I have volunteered in my community since the birth of my children. Now that they're adults, I have more time to spend working on behalf of residents within local and regional government contexts.
Before launching this campaign, I volunteered for many years for non-profit and educational organizations:
Sorting donations to the EJUM Food Shelf
Eighteen months ago I started a local newspaper in the interest of improving democracy by providing regular coverage of meetings and issues that other media miss, misconstrue, or merely bypass.