Donahue to replace Forbes on Middlebury selectboard

MIDDLEBURY — It was on Aug. 26 that Donna Donahue lost a Democratic primary election that ended her bid to secure one of Middlebury’s two seats in the Vermont House.
What a difference two weeks can make in the political world.
Donahue on Tuesday emerged as the winner in a four-person contest to succeed Travis Forbes on the Middlebury selectboard. Donahue garnered four votes of support from current selectboard members, compared to two for Heather Seeley and none for Brian Bauer and Eric Murray. Donahue will now serve on the board until next March, at which time she (and any other Middlebury resident) will be able to run for the one year left on Forbes’ term, or a three-year spot on the board.
“I’m really honored; thank you very much, and I look forward to serving on the board,” Donahue told her new colleagues as she took her seat mid-way through Tuesday evening’s meetings.
Donahue and Seeley had showed up in person at the board’s Aug. 26 meeting to make their candidacy pitches.
Donahue had spoken of her eight years serving on the Better Middlebury Partnership board and a desire to make the town “a better place to live, work and play.”
Seeley, a co-owner and employee of Seeley Earthmoving Inc., had competed for a one-year spot on the board this past March against incumbent (and Chairman) Dean George. George defeated Seeley in that race, 960 to 662. Seeley has attended most board meetings as a citizen since that election.
She told the board she believed she would be a “great fit” for replacing Forbes, who brought a public works expertise to the panel. Seeley added she did not have any personal agenda, “except to be a part of the process.”
Bauer and Murray, who have both also been candidates for the board, sent in letters outlining their interest in serving.
The selectboard on Tuesday moved quickly to a vote after receiving no further comments or questions about the candidates. Selectboard members Nick Artim (voting remotely, by speaker phone), Gary Baker, Brian Carpenter and Dean George supported Donahue. Selectwomen Susan Shashok and Laura Asermily voted for Seeley.
Seeley was disappointed with the outcome, but vowed to continue attending board meetings to become more familiar with town affairs, to provide occasional input, and prepare for a possible future run.
“I was not surprised by the results; I think Donna was the choice of a majority before there was any discussion,” Seeley said, citing Donahue’s past experience with the BMP.
“I am excited that there are now three women on the board and I hope Donna does a great job,” she added.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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