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To the editor: Brattleboro prides itself on its democracy, and rightly so. And in many years, serving on the Select Board can be an apolitical exercise in good government and civic participation. But this new board will face real policy choices, and depending on who we elect, it will chart a very different path.

I feel uncomfortable writing this way on this subject. I know what I’m supposed to say: that they’re thoughtful and committed. That they do their research. That their doors are always open. And all those things are true and important. But that’s not why I’m making an endorsement.

Let me put it plainly: policy matters. If you want to see action on climate, and if you want to see action on police reform, I recommend Jessica Gelter, Daniel Quipp, and Ian Goodnow for your consideration.

Elections are about what the voters want. What I want, and what you want.

I want to see us be a leader on climate without always first scrabbling for a financial justification. I want to be able to look people in the eye in 20 years and tell them we did everything we could. Maybe, if we’re smart and aggressive and lucky, they’ll be thanking us for averting disaster instead of deciding whether they want to accept our excuses.

I want us to dive into police reform even though I’m uncertain of the footing. I just know that we (meaning white people) can unclench our hands from the reins of power for a year or two without our world falling apart. People won’t be blowing up cars on I-91 with rocket launchers because traffic cops try leaving their guns behind for six months.

I just said “I want” a lot in an endorsement letter. But this is an election, so it’s about what I want, and who I choose to get what I want. Democracy is about the voters, not the candidates.

Jessica, Daniel, and Ian can get us there. They’re good people. I recommend them.

Oscar Heller

Brattleboro, District 3

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