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Waitsfield, VT 05673
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Kate Williams runs for Waitsfield Select Board

02/14/2008

{mosimage} I have chosen to run for a two-year seat on the Waitsfield Select Board because I care a great deal for our town, our neighboring towns, and the watershed that holds all of us. My hope is to play a valuable part in the important collaborative work of keeping our community of people and lands healthy and thriving into the future.

I moved to the Mad River Valley in 2000 and feel incredibly fortunate to live in a place where community engagement remains alive and well. I was born in New England and grew up in a family where civic engagement was a way of life, with parents who served on historical societies and church vestries and everything in between. In my own work, I have been an educator and a nonprofit leader, and I have served on several boards both within the Mad River Valley and beyond.  

I believe that the role of the select board is to represent the varied constituents of our town in the process of addressing and making informed decisions on the issues that we collectively identify as important for our future. I think a healthy select board engages different perspectives and actively seeks input from the community, acting both inclusively and decisively in order to chart a community course that respects tradition, infuses creativity, and deploys both common sense and thorough research.

In 2008, I think the broad issues of greatest significance to our community, and which the select board should continue to address, all center around a theme of balance: balancing smart residential development with conservation; balancing business expansion with the town's rural character; balancing responsiveness to immediate needs with investment in long-term sustainability. These are challenging economic times for communities of all sizes across the United States, and our community is no exception. I think we are exceptional, however, in that we are of a size and a spirit that enables and encourages us to tackle these challenges together.  

I feel that I am qualified to step into this shared work for several reasons.  First, I have a deep commitment to this Valley for the long term. My husband and I are raising our family here, and it is our hope that our children and grandchildren will be able to choose to live here, in this vital, self-sufficient, beautiful place that community members sustained and created through the years. Second, through my job as executive director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, I work with rural communities across northern New England and the Adirondacks on a daily basis. I continually gain useful insights into opportunities and challenges faced by many communities of our size and profile. Third, I'm a good listener and a good worker. I value the process of learning from those around me, changing my perspective when reasonable evidence persuades me to do so, and rolling up my sleeves to bring about thoughtful action -- all critical ingredients that make small "d" democracy work.  

My hope for Waitsfield and the broader Valley community is that we are able to combine the best of Yankee frugality with a creative, dynamic vision to conserve what we love and grow what we need in order to become a model of sustainability and sufficiency. I look forward to working with the Select Board and the community to bring about this hope, and I welcome your ideas and your support.

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