The Town of Charlotte, VT

In this year’s town elections, Nancy Richardson is running for a two-year seat on the Selectboard against incumbent Frank Tenney. Louise McCarren, Ed Stone and Jim Faulkner are running for the three-year seat vacated by Lane Morrison. In no particular order here is an introduction to the candidates.

Nancy Richardson
Your background and work history
I have spent much of my professional life in public policy and government positions. I served as chief education advisor to the governor of Massachusetts and senior staff to the U.S. Secretary of Education. In Massachusetts, I was responsible for appointments and management of all public state higher education boards. As director of planning for the Vermont State College System and special education director for the Addison Central Supervisory Union, I learned firsthand about governing education at the state and local levels in Vermont. Later, as a consultant, my work involved developing methods for assisting Vermont school districts in improving instruction. I authored 25 school case studies on school improvement in Northwest Vermont.

Your history in Charlotte
My husband, Peter, and I owned a farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for over 40 years. We first moved to Charlotte in the mid 90s. Our daughter and two grandchildren graduated from CVU. I am on the board of Morningside Cemetery and previously served on the boards of Vermont Adult Learning and Burlington City Arts.

What do you think are Charlotte’s strengths?
Charlotte is situated in one of the most scenic areas of Vermont. The mountains and the lake are unique environmental assets, and the Town Plan reflects the necessity of our being responsible stewards of our heritage—the forests, waterways and farmland. Charlotte’s people are actively engaged in the town committees, and the Senior Center attracts participants from around the region. Charlotte is a beautiful rural community that requires both preservation and enhancement.

Weaknesses?
As one of the wealthiest towns in Vermont, we have a responsibility to ensure that the people who live and work here can rent or purchase housing that they can afford. The town’s housing trust fund should be re-worked and expanded to make it more effective. The community needs to be accessible to young families so that our school maintains its enrollments. And we need to provide housing for seniors to continue residing here. We should also move to make it easier for small economic development projects to get started and to be sustained. Active civic engagement should be nurtured and strengthened.

Why are you running for a seat on the Selectboard?
I care about the future health of the town, and I appreciate those who have come before me to serve on the Selectboard and other volunteer committees. It is my time to participate and give back.

Frank Tenney
Your background and work history
I have 12 years of Zoning Board and two years of Selectboard experience. I drive a school bus for the Champlain Valley School District. I also handle paperwork for several small businesses, including my own. I own and manage housing, including performing maintenance and repairs.
History in Charlotte

I have lived in Charlotte my whole life. I’m a third generation Charlotter. My wife, Beth, and I have two children who went to CCS and CVU.

What do you think are Charlotte’s strengths?
In two words: employees and volunteers. These are the best resources the town has right now, with the ability to resolve challenging issues.

Weaknesses?
I think open lines of communications and normal meeting hours so that people can participate will allow for more transparency. Update renewable resource siting with updates of the new Town Plan and Zoning Bylaws. Updating town policies and agreements. Examining the budget to resolve the difference between want and need. There are concerns about rising taxes and development that some people picture as undesirable. I am hoping I can help with these and other issues.

Why are you running for a seat on the Selectboard?
My candidacy offers continued commitment and valuable experience to the town. Given the opportunity, I will continue to be an advocate, listening to all ideas and concerns, in an effort to address the needs of the town. Many issues came before the board, including the library addition, trails work, affordable housing, speeding enforcement, the town plan, West Village wastewater, the budget for town meeting and more. All have been a positive learning experience. I am asking for your vote on March 5th so that I may continue working with my fellow residents and Selectboard members on the common goal of moving Charlotte into the future.

Ed Stone
Your background and work history
I went to Rice High School. Then I was in the radio business for 28 years. I worked at WVMT.

Your history in Charlotte
I’ve lived in Charlotte for 42 years, and my wife, Marcia, has lived here for 65 years. I’ve been on the Selectboard most of my life!

What do you think are Charlotte’s strengths?
Pretty much everything. We take good care of our kids here. My kids and grandkids went to CCS. I was on Fire & Rescue for a while. It’s not cheap to have a good department like that, but when you need it you need it. I was on the Selectboard when we built the new library.

Why are you running for a seat on the Selectboard?
I enjoy being on the Selectboard. I understand what goes on. One reason is that we work hard to make things happen. We worked hard on the trail system, it’s very important, but when you appoint someone or a group to do something, then you have to give them money to operate.

This time around I’m older and wiser. I’ve changed my ways of thinking. I read the obituaries now and I see what people have done with their lives, and it made me think about my own life and what I want to accomplish while I’m here.

Louise McCarren
Your background and work history
I am an attorney by training. In addition to practicing law I have had several opportunities for public service, including chair of the Vermont Public Service Board, Commissioner of Public Service and most recently as a volunteer on Governor Shumlin’s Commission on Electric Generation Siting and the Vermont Telecommunications Authority Board. I have substantial management experience, including budgeting.

Your history in Charlotte
My husband, Ed Amidon, and I have been residents of Charlotte since 1976. We have raised children, animals and gardens here.

What do you think are Charlotte’s strengths?
Charlotte is such a great community with much to offer our residents. Our two villages are anchors and hubs for all of us.

Weaknesses?
The challenge is to collectively create a common vision for our future. I pledge to deal with our issues by listening with an open mind.

Why are you running for a seat on the Selectboard?
It would be an honor and privilege to serve you on the Selectboard.

Jim Faulkner
Which seat are you running for?
I am running for the open seat on the Charlotte Selectboard.

Background/work history 
I moved to Charlotte in 2014, from Kennebunkport, Maine, a town much like the community of Charlotte in size (3,700), issues and concerns regarding imminent growth and economic diversity. A life-time New Englander with a frugal “Down East” attitude for local government efficiency, a need for financial accountability and, foremost, what is most beneficial and appropriate to the Charlotte tax payers.

I value open, honest principles and wants to be involved in keeping Charlotte a community of thoughtful, yet, reasonable progress into the future. I would come to the board with 40 years of business and office management skills from my private practice. Having served on various local boards in Maine, including the Kennebunkport Planning Board, the start-up of the Rivergreen Bank, and the YES Foundation (Youth Education & Sports) to name a few. Also, sitting on the USDA & NRCS boards has given me an understanding of some local farming concerns.  I have no delusions that all issues have peaceful resolution to everyone.

I did my undergraduate studies at Colby College, received my doctorate in dentistry from Georgetown University and orthodontic certification from Boston University.

Despite all these activities, I value family time above all with Nancy, my wife, our three adult children and two granddaughters, who attend CCS here in Charlotte. The Faulkner family enjoys lots of time together, whether at home caring for their animals, gardening, boating on Lake Champlain or skiing.

History in Charlotte
Nancy and I have a small farm in Charlotte where we raise South African Boer goats, garden and have created a plan to restore our pastures and woodlands, much of which is in conservancy. The preservation of open spaces in Charlotte was one of the attractions that brought us here to settle.

In my free time, beyond the daily farm tasks, I keep busy as a volunteer EMT for Charlotte Emergency Medical Services, sit on their board of directors, and I’m a volunteer ski patroller at Sugarloaf Mountain.

What do you think are Charlotte’s strengths?
A strength I see in Charlotte is the conscientious attention to town affairs whose governing body gives thoughtful consideration to its growth regarding the sprawl of nearby communities. Another strength of the town is the management of private and public issues in their efforts to keep us fiscally balanced. Our roads are maintained with quality care and safety. Several surrounding towns are not as fortunate, as we have a dedicated efficient and responsive Fire and Rescue service made up mostly of volunteer citizens. Our greatest strength is the attention given to the Charlotte Central School whose educators and parents are responsible for the excellence of the town’s youth, our legacy to Charlotte’s future.

Weaknesses?
The majority of the population of Charlotte, myself included, feel the importance of protecting the town’s rural character, natural and agricultural resources, however, without some taxable commercial growth, the entire financial burden rests on us, the private property owners. This is a statewide problem and one of the reasons people do not remain in Vermont. However, we in Charlotte need to be open, be vigilant and be respectful to new and perceptive commercial possibilities to defray our costs of living in our quaint village. Otherwise, the future economic property balance will become heavily tilted to those “who have” versus “those who have not” if we refuse to consider some taxable external resources.

Why are you running for a seat on the Selectboard?
I am running for the open seat as I favor a common-sense approach to the town issues, some of those being, finances, community growth, the challenges of public safety, both with our fire and rescue department and the roads. There is a diverse economic population within Charlotte and those factors need to be balanced and fair to all.

I want to grow old here, content that I have given back to the community an enriching, safe and progressive environment where my grandchildren and others will be proud of Charlotte and desire to stay.