Letter: Town Meeting 'legislators' needed

Town Meeting 'legislators' needed

Editor of the Reformer:

As most of you know, one of the jobs of any Brattleboro district caucus is to appoint Town Meeting representatives to fill the empty seats from present and willing volunteers — if any. This procedure, which every district unfortunately has to use from time to time, is the least democratic way for the districts of the town to get representation.

The democratic way for District 1 to be represented is for voters to step forward and take out nomination papers to get on the ballot, to be turned in by Jan. 25; failing that timely step, to notify the town clerk and your district that you are a write-in candidate. This will give the entire district the chance to elect you. You will benefit your district and save it time and aggravation. Get the word out. Write the media. Why else was email — or even the pen — invented?

Voters older and younger should begin now to think about running for Town Meeting Member. Town Meeting is when the entire government of the town (the people, remember?) decides what the town's purposes are and what dollars will be used to achieve them. Districts are not pitted against each other. A project in one part of town benefits the entire town. The boards propose; the meeting disposes. Don't delude yourself with the idea that legislating happens only in Montpelier, or that legislating is simply voting — or not — every article as moved. Legislating at Town Meeting is suddenly being told by your colleagues (or suggesting to them) that the money or the scope or the timing of a proposal is a mistake, and you, perhaps, stand up and say, "Mr. Moderator, I move to amend ... and I'll speak to the amendment." It's getting the amendments right and then voting the amended article. And surviving any referendum. Affirmatively voted articles are town laws made by members representing the entire electorate of the town, especially those who cannot be present.

It is especially time for younger voters, who are the future of our town, to step up and serve. There are no political parties at Town Meeting, only the differing viewpoints and principles that exist in every committee, board and dwelling in Brattleboro. This is indeed honorable work. Will it be fun? Maybe. Will it be intense? Probably. Will it be important that you are there to deliberate and help decide the best course for the town? Assuredly.

This is real public service.

Orion M. Barber II, District 1 caucus chairman, Brattleboro, Dec. 28


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