Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Best choices for Vergennes

Elections are about making a choice, and the choice usually comes down to change versus status quo. As the first city in Vermont, Vergennes has experienced its share of change. Over the years, some community leaders have embraced change by making thoughtful and difficult decisions, while others avoided change by imagining that everything was exactly as it should be.
Choices made over the next year will impact Vergennes for the next 20 years. We can either embrace the decisions that are upon us or we can ignore the problems until outside forces make those decisions for us. Our antiquated wastewater and sewer systems must be upgraded or replaced. Momentum is building around the development of an economic corridor to grow the city and reroute truck traffic. Our aging population will have a significant impact on our schools, our businesses, and our recreational needs. Grassroots efforts are underway to establish more effective transparency and accountability for our public servants. Even the return of the train will impact our community.
As you consider the choices in this Special Election, you need to decide whether we should control the future narrative by embracing opportunities or hang on to the status quo a little while longer until changes are forced upon us. I suggest embracing change for the better and voting for those candidates with strong ties to the community who are committed to bringing about needed change.
Following my resignation from the Council, some have questioned my commitment to Vergennes, suggesting that I simply walked away when things got uncomfortable or that I misunderstood what was happening. Those who know me, know that I take both the city and good governance very seriously. I had no thought of resigning until it became clear that those who orchestrated and benefited from the outcome of July’s questionable “special” meeting would be appointing three new members to the Council without direct voter input. At that point, I decided that the only principled action to take was to resign and thereby empower the voters rather than the remaining Council members to determine who will represent the community. 
Please do not let my resignation go to waste. While I support David, Dickie, Ian and Jill, I urge all eligible Vergennes voters to cast their ballots by mail or in-person for the candidates whom they believe can best lead Vergennes into the future.
Mark Koenig
Vergennes

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