Editorial: Middlebury’s selectboard race: Experience is this year’s most valuable asset

In the five-way race for the three contested seats on Middlebury’s select board, experience is the most valuable asset candidates can offer voters.
That is particularly true with the $40 million, multi-year project to replace the two railroad overpasses on Main Street and Merchants Row in Middlebury’s downtown. After two-plus years of study and the past year of contentious debate, it is likely the final negotiations on this complex project with the Vermont Agency of Transportation will be hashed out in the next few weeks or months. Having strong board members who know the issue thoroughly, and who are articulate negotiators, will best serve the town.
Other big issues are on the horizon, including: securing a new roundabout at Exchange Street and Route 7, creating affordable housing, laying the foundation for the most advanced communication networks possible to attract an increasingly mobile workforce, and managing the EDI project behind the Ilsley library to help boost the critical economic activity necessary to maintain a vibrant downtown. Each are vital and require vision and firm leadership.
Voters can turn to past accomplishments to determine which candidates earn their support for re-election or election to a new term. For much of the past decade, three of the five candidates in this race—Nick Artim, Gary Baker and Victor Nuovo (who served on the board for several years then took off the past two years)—have served the town during a time of unprecedented achievement. The town now has a new fire station and police department; after 50 years of getting nowhere, we have a stunningly attractive Cross Street Bridge and a new downtown roundabout that works like a dream; we have a new recreational facility that just opened and a new municipal building that was achieved after a 50-year stalemate.
Many of these were not easy battles and required extensive community dialogue, study and determined resolve and leadership to see them through.
This selectboard has also helped pave the way for the expansion and vitality of the business community on Exchange Street, including accommodating the needs of Woodchuck Cider and several other successful beverage companies that now attract upscale tourism, while also becoming frequent hosts of community events.
Candidate Richard Terk has years of community service under his belt and his background in construction makes him well qualified to discuss many town issues, and businesswoman Heather Seeley has been an attentive citizen communicator of town policy for the past two years, so both bring a knowledgeable base to their candidacies. (For more complete candidate profiles and answers to questions, see Page 10A.)
But through much of this past decade, Artim, Baker and Nuovo have been an integral part of the town decisions that have sparked much progress. They have the background, strong character and proven ability to move the town forward as it confronts the crucial issues before it.
Whomever you choose, get involved in Middlebury’s future by taking that first important step: Vote, then stay in touch.
Angelo S. Lynn

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