Letter: Hughes running for Westminster Select Board

Hughes running for Westminster Select Board

Editor of the Reformer:

I am running for the open seat on the Select Board seat vacated by Peter Barrett on 12/21/2015, for several primary reasons but first and foremost I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone in Westminster for the incredible kindness and consideration folks have shown my family since my wife and daughter became permanent residents of Westminster on 9/12/2001. At the time I was also employed at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's office on the 73rd floor, of tower 2 of the World Trade Center as an associate vice president. On 9/11/2001, I was late for work at my office at the world trade center and, by happenstance, was able to immediately take my nearly one-month old daughter and wife and remove them, safely to our home in Westminster, Vt.

Not long after the tragedy, my superiors asked that I return to New York City and help our office relocate and rebuild. We made a family decision, that even though the commute would be difficult, the economic benefits for my family and my obligation to my clients and company compelled my decision to return to NYC. 15 Years and approximately 475,000 commuter miles later I am monumentally proud of the commitment I made to others, and the sustained sacrifices for the organization and my clients. But I and my family have always been here in Westminster, paying taxes and supporting our town.

First, this immediate rush to purchase the home of a former Select Board member and use a loan to do it, in my opinion, with the utmost respect, requires much more discussion and information for all taxpayers to consider. While it may, indeed be a plausible purchase for our town, in the future, there is clearly not enough information or a specific plan in place to support this purchase at this time. A well attended meeting was held at the Westminster Institute on February 25 in front of the Select Board and I respectfully submit, that the answers given as to why we must purchase this property now and risk so much money was lacking. Moreover, the combined proposal to purchase the house and take it off the tax roll and at the same time sell the Post Office which generates annual income makes little fiscal sense. We would be losing two income producing properties and adding the burden of maintaining the Barrett House at considerable upgrade and maintenance cost.

I would like to see more transparency in the process by which we make decisions that impact all citizen's taxes, not just a few. I would like see our local government provide policy proposals that galvanize our community to take collective action that does not create anxiety, distrust, dismay and or division in our town. I do not believe that everyone is always going to get along but, I respectfully believe that we can do a much better job keeping everyone informed, gaining better consensus on large monetary outlays that impact our town AND making sure that we don't make decisions that, ironically can negatively impact our Historic District. Article 8 needs to be voted down, or in the very least tabled until further review by all citizens of Westminster (North, South, East and West) can consider the actual financial impact and consider its best uses.

This proposal can also forever change our town and begin to dissolve the residential nature of our Historic district. This plan could very well open the door for a commercial district, and don't think it cant. In closing, I believe we can preserve our historic district so that folks will still come from miles around on Christmas Eve to see our town votive display and want to come to ALL of our schools. I fully support our Historical Society, Westminster Cares, Gazette and local businesses.

Only with transparent government and genuine political consensus will this happen. I will always be respectful of all of our citizens and neighbors and make availability and consideration for everyone a priority. Before voting to raise taxes or purchase buildings, I intend, with all due respect,to make sure our neighbors are informed and have a defined, clear, concise and coherent plan on why and how we should all proceed.

I humbly ask for your vote.

Kevin J Hughes Candidate For Westminster Select Board Westminster, Feb. 26


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