Editor’s note: These questions were developed and distributed by local members of the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization dedicated to creating an informed electorate. They were sent to every candidate on the Castleton ballot. What follows are the answers of those that chose to respond.
Voting will take place on Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 5, at Castleton Fire Hall on from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Library trustee, 3 years
As a new board member, what would be your top priorities?
Kris Jacoby-Stevenson: Since my high schooler was a small toddler, our family has enjoyed the many programs that the library offers for children. I have decided to run for the board of trustees because I would like to represent our local families with young children and I value the huge asset our local library is for the community. I would like to be part of the long-term visioning and support for our library.
Patricia Shroeder: My top priority as library trustee would be to honor the history and traditions of the Castleton Free Library. The Library offers an incredible array of programs both in the building and through internet outreach to homes. These programs, available to all the residents, need to be maintained and strengthened.
The trustees serve the people of Castleton by using tax dollars responsibly to insure fiscal stability for the library. It is important that it remains the strong heart of our community to be enjoyed by all.
Near and dear to my heart are children. Continuing to facilitate their love for reading is an important goal. I would be interested in pursuing a project just for them.
The library calls itself a “hometown portal to information and imagination.” As a trustee, I would do everything in my power to keep it the wonderful asset that it is to our community.
Selectman, 1 year
As a Selectman, how would you reach out to citizens to make your decisions?
John T. Alexander: Thank you for the opportunity to share my approach with reaching out to concerned citizens in preparation for informed decision making. I want to recognize the League of Women Voters for their interest and civic involvement in local governance. As a long term member of the Castleton Volunteer Fire Department I can assure the League I appreciation civic involvement.
I would note that my response to the question includes the addition of the word ‘informed.’ In my experience both as an officer with the fire department and a probation and parole officer conducting formal investigations I have come appreciate the value of informed decision making and the process involved in securing information in an impartial manner. Issues posed before the Board (non-confidential) which affect a particular group of constituents require an impartial approach to reaching out and community networking to the extent necessary to fully inform my decision making.
Janet Currie: As the current chair of the Planning Commission, it is imperative to have input from all citizens and the community of Castleton. We reviewed our town plan and recently applied for a Better Connections Grant through the Agency for Transportation. The purpose of the grant is to receive and gather citizen input on how to improve and expand safer transportation options along the Route 4A corridor. In addition to adding street lights and other visual improvements. If successful, the town will hire engineers to design safe access via sidewalks and recreational pathway from the village of Hydeville to Castleton Village.
As a select board member, it is important to maintain an open dialogue between the community whether it’s during a scheduled meeting or other times. With that, it is my obligation to perform my due diligence when it concerns the interest of town of Castleton, in its entirety.
Jim Leamy: Communication with citizens is an important responsibility of all elected and appointed officials.
My home phone number and my cell phone are both available to all citizens. In addition, I serve as the town health officer and am available in the town office daily during the morning hours. I am happy to discuss any Select Board decisions with the public.
Select Board agendas and minutes are posted on the town website; and people are encouraged to attend board meetings and get involved in our process.
Joe Mark: I urge town residents to review the agenda for each Select Board meeting. That’s available on the town website, and Town Manager Mike Jones has been posting a link to the agenda on Front Porch Forum (FPF). Those without internet access can get a hard copy at the town offices.
I strongly encourage citizens to attend Select Board meetings and take advantage of the “Citizens’ Comments” topic that’s on every agenda. Those who can’t attend in person can watch recorded Select Board meetings on PEG-TV.
I will frequently put posts on FPF, especially when I think an upcoming agenda item is likely to generate broad interest. When I do that, I’ll encourage citizens to contact with me to let me know their point of view. Residents can always reach me by phone 802-468-5479 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slate Valley Modified Unified Union School District Board
Castleton School Director, 3 years
“Civics education makes better citizens.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Grace “Liz” MacKay: I strongly believe that educating our students about civics will teach them to be better citizens. Being good citizens in the community is a lifelong process that begins in childhood. School children that receive civics education will be provided with a strong foundation to begin and aid their journey into responsible community members. Our children need to be taught what their rights and duties are as citizens. Our children should understand democracy so that they are encouraged to be involved and contributing citizens. Children need to develop good habits, values, and skills that will transform them into active participants of our community now and in the future. This learning may occur in many areas of children’s lives but schools provide an ideal environment to promote and engage students in civics education.
Timothy Smith: I agree, civics education makes better citizens. It is important to learn the ideals and values upon which our democracy was founded. Many sacrifices have been made over the years to allow us the freedom to self-govern. However, it is equally important to apply your knowledge and participate in the civic democratic process. Running for the school board is the manner by which I choose to participate.
As a school board member, I will engage in dialogue with those who hold different perspectives. I will actively listen to my fellow board members and community. I will show tolerance and respect for all and demonstrate a readiness to balance my personal interests for Castleton with the shared goals of the school district.
I was previously a member of the Castleton School Board, and would appreciate the opportunity to serve once again for the Slate Valley Unified School District. Thank you.