Why are you running for office?
Members of the community asked me to get involved. They saw what I did with the Dover Historical Society. I attended a number of selectboard meetings and people seem to think I have good ideas. As a result of that, when there was an opportunity because an appointment was necessary when one of the members was retiring, people asked me if I would submit my information to be a selectboard member as an appointed member. And then of course I found out that my term would end at the next Town Meeting. I’ve been there about four months so far.
What qualifications do you bring to the job?
I’m a former photographer from New York who did multimedia shows for major corporations. I’ve been to every continent on earth, I’ve watched how governments work. I’ve worked for Time and Newsweek and in addition to entertainment and sports, I also did politics, and I’ve always had an interest in politics. I’ve never had the time to work in the government side of things, but I’ve been active in this town in terms of speaking my piece at town meetings and selectboard meetings.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the selectboard, and how do you propose to address it?
I think small government like this has to be more proactive. For example, with the roads, which I called Montpelier about, people figured VTrans is going to fix it. Well, they’re not. Unfortunately government requires that people have their faces to the government. Being that (our state government) is run in Montpelier, no matter who you do business with, there’s concern for Burlington, and southern Vermont doesn’t exist. The first thing I noticed from coming up here since 1970, they never identified West Dover on Route 9, so I stuck my neck out and expressed myself about it. Whether I got a gold star for it or not, I brought it up, which is what should happen in a representative government like this. I’ve always said it’s a crime when someone does something wrong but it’s a crime when you don’t say anything. Being results-oriented is the other part of it. You have to evaluate some of the things you do. Along the way you’ll make mistakes, but that’s how you learn. Government should be accountable. They should try things. They will make mistakes and have successes.
Is there anything else you’d like the community to know about you, either as a person or as someone who wants to serve on the board?
Prior to being a photographer, I thought I’d be an architect. I love old structures and think the workmanship of the 19th century is extraordinary. Part of my interest in the historical society is that we have the one-room school sitting on North Street built in the 1700s, and that’s something worth considering. The Handle House was knocked down, and there may have been a good reason for it, but there’s no reason formidable structures should be lost. So I think we need to be more proactive as a community about historic preservation.
Why are you running for office?
I live here and this is home, and I want to be able to have a say in what happens here. I feel that Dover could be more than just a year-round winter touristy area. I think it could be a little bit of everything. And I think it would help the town the local businesses if we can try to get this area built up to where it’s a four-season area. I think that could be turned around.
What qualifications or skills do you bring to the job?
I’ve run some businesses that I successfully turned from being in the red into the black. I ran a taxi service on Long Island for many years. I had at one point 80 drivers and four officers under me. I’ve also been involved in several political campaigns for councilmen, senators, county executives, and town supervisors out in Long Island, which involved going out with pamphlets, talking to people, and going door to door. Being in the community and talking to people is something I’m comfortable doing.
What do you see as the biggest challenge or issue facing the selectboard, and how do you propose to address it?
I think that would have to be probably budget. I think some things should be changed around a little bit. I think school should definitely get a little bit more than what they’re getting. After all, it’s children’s education that we’re talking about. How do you put a price on education? You can’t. And I definitely think the highway budget should go up a little bit. There are some major improvements that need to be done around here as far as drainage and overall road conditions.
And I think something that they touched on a little bit at pre-Town Meeting was the fact of the latest school shooting and what kind of plan the town has. I think a plan is great. Would we ever have to use something like that here? I hope not and I doubt it, but I definitely don’t believe teachers should be armed. They should be armed with textbooks. I don’t believe guns have a place in school. It’s a learning institution, not the O.K. Corral. I think any kind of confrontation with anyone like that should be left to trained professionals. So that’s my opinion on that.
Is there anything else you’d like the community to know about you or about what you’d like to accomplish as a selectboard member?
If I do get elected, I give everything 150% and I will do everything in my power to do the best of my ability to help further the town and better it. I’m a transgender female and I’ve broken some barriers. In New York I was the only transgender cab driver, I was in two rock bands and was the only transgender drummer in New York. If there are more barriers to be broken I hope to break them. Coming here, I wasn’t sure how people would take me, but everyone is great. I know almost everyone here and as far as I can tell, people like me.
I love this community, it’s home, and I want to do what I can to do my part in it. I’m hoping this can be a first step to getting more involved in politics for me. Who knows, one day I could be up in Montpelier.