On February 22, 2023

Hartland voters meet candidates for 2023 Town Meeting

By Curt Peterson

This year’s Australian ballot and face-to-face floor vote at Hartland’s Town Meeting, March 7 will be fairly non-controversial.

There are six uncontested officers – a town moderator, one selectperson, one lister, first constable and two library trustees.

Select Board member Mary O’Brien is stepping down from the board mid-term, and two candidates are vying to finish her term. O’Brien’s husband, Tom Kennedy is in the running as isJacob Holmes. Jim Rielly is running unopposed for reelection to his selectboard seat.

The Hartland Public Library sponsored its 7th annual “Meet the Candidates” program on Feb. 15.

Rielly told the virtual audience that his goal is “to serve the town” through promoting prudent fiscal policy. He looks forward to the town-wide survey proposed by the Planning Commission, which will reveal how most residents feel about the future of Hartland. 

“Shall it continue to be a rural community,” he said, “or become another Woodstock or Quechee?”

Jacob Holmes said as selectman he hopes to find ways to “help the town grow, while maintaining its character.” He touted his military service and work in law enforcement — he is a current police officer in Woodstock. He favors having a full-time school resource officer at Hartland Elementary School as a means of providing student safety.

Someone in the audience asked Holmes how many Selectboard meetings he has attended.

“I keep an eye on the listserv,” he said, “and attend as many meetings as I can.”

Tom Kennedy moved to Hartland in 1992, and has done community work for 30 years, partly at a nearby regional commission.

“The town is at a crossroads,” he said, “and I’m hoping my experience may be valuable to Hartland.”

Asked about his ideas relating to climate change, Kennedy focused on short-term action.

“We need to develop more electric vehicle charging stations,” he said, “and find a way to offer more public transportation.”

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