Jan. 27, 2011By Tim Simard Observer staff
Williston’s Town Meeting Day ballot will contain a number of candidates new to politics, but features only one contested race.
Debbie Ingram and Shelley Palmer will vie for a three-year term on the Selectboard, a position currently held by Judy Sassorossi.
Town Meeting Day is March 1.
Monday was the deadline for candidates to file petition forms for public offices, including School Board and library trustee. Incumbents for lister, town constable and other positions will run to retain their respective positions, including Town Clerk and Treasurer Deb Beckett. She filed her paperwork for the three-year terms before shipping out to Iraq last year as a member of the Vermont National Guard.
Two seats open on Selectboard
The race to replace Sassorossi on the Selectboard pits a Planning Commission member against a long-aspiring candidate for local office.
Ingram has served on the Planning Commission for five years, and wants to take her experience in that role to the next level. She said she’s been thinking about a Selectboard campaign for “quite a while” and decided to run after learning that Sassorossi planned to leave the board. If elected, Ingram plans to resign from the Planning Commission.
As a member of the Planning Commission, Ingram has had a hand in rewriting the Town Plan and turning Taft Corners into the state’s first designated growth center. She said one of Williston’s biggest challenges going forward will be balancing development throughout town.
“I feel I like I have something to contribute,” Ingram said. “I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind committing to meetings.”
Palmer, who has campaigned unsuccessfully for the Selectboard and Vermont Legislature in the past, said he’s concerned with Williston’s direction and wants the town to attract more business, among other issues. Additional businesses means more revenue for the town, which in turn eases the tax burden on homeowners, Palmer said.
“The difficulty of getting an Act 250 permit is keeping a lot of businesses away,” Palmer said.
Palmer said he’d also look forward to shaping the new Town Plan. He described the plan as a sound document, but said certain areas need further review.
The other Selectboard seat, a two-year term currently held by Ted Kenney, features only one contender, Jay Michaud. With his experience as a small business owner, Michaud said he plans to bring his professional knowledge to the Selectboard. Michaud ran unsuccessfully last year as a Republican candidate for the Vermont House. He admits he’s a political rookie, but said that’s advantageous for Williston.
“There needs to be a fresh perspective on the board,” Michaud said. “I can bring that.”
School Board expects to welcome new members
The Williston School Board has three positions, all uncontested, that will appear on the Town Meeting ballot.
Current board member Kevin Mara, who the board appointed in August to replace Keith Roy, will run for Laura Gigliotti’s two-year seat. Gigliotti decided earlier this month not to run for reelection. Roy resigned last summer before he deployed with the National Guard to Afghanistan.
Mara is a veteran of the Williston Conceptual Frameworks Committee, a group that helped determine the new school district reconfiguration.
Joshua Diamond, a lawyer with a practice in Montpelier, will run for Darlene Worth’s three-year term. Worth, also the current chairwoman of the Chittenden South Supervisory Union School Board, will step down from both positions in March. Diamond, a newcomer to public office, told the Observer earlier this month that his experience as a school budget aid helped persuade him to join the board.
Giovanna Boggero, also a newcomer to elected office, will run for the one-year seat currently held by Mara. Boggero said that, as a parent, she plans to ensure Williston continues to offer quality instruction.
“I want to make sure our kids get the best education they can,” Boggero said.
David Rath, one of Williston’s four representatives on the Champlain Valley Union High School Board, will run again for his three-year term.
ON THE BALLOT
The annual Town and School Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28. Australian ballot voting will occur on March 1, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Candidates are running for the following positions:
Selectboard, three-year term: Debbie Ingram, Shelley Palmer
Selectboard, two-year term: Jay Michaud
Williston School Board, three-year term: Joshua Diamond
Williston School Board, two-year term: Kevin Mara
Williston School Board, one-year term: Giovanna Boggero
CVU School Board, three-year term: David Rath
Town Clerk/Treasurer, three-year term: Deb Beckett
Lister, three-year term: Linda Ladd
Library Trustee, five-year term: Elizabeth Jordan-Shook
First Constable, one-year term: Kermit Laclair
Champlain Water District Representative, three-year term: Donald Phillips