Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Thomas would bring unique perspective to board

I was encouraged to read in Laura Asermily’s letter the strong feeling that both of these candidates for the one-year remainder of Victor Nuovo’s term would make excellent selectboard members. I feel my position as a local minister demands neutrality when it comes to public advocacy of particular candidates for the selectboard. And I don’t know Andy. But I do know Esther well as an active congregant who works with me on planning Sunday services. Because she is new enough in town that she is not widely known, I hope it will be helpful to voters for me to share a few observations about her.
As others have said, Esther would bring a unique perspective on what Middlebury does — and doesn’t — offer its citizens to the board’s work. She is a single mother of two small children who has made her way in the world as the child of Haitian immigrants. She has made tough financial choices and has experience with managing debts incurred to invest in her family’s future.
But it’s not just her life experience that would bring a novel perspective to the selectboard. Esther has shown me the humility and courage to discern with remarkable speed where she can be a positive contributor in situations where others are distracted or paralyzed by confusing choices. Through attention, good humor, genuine interest in listening to others, and faith that people working together are going to reach smart decisions, Esther is always a bright light in any room.
I was stunned by how soon Esther asked to join the worship team when she began attending the Champlain Valley UU Society. I kept suggesting she should give herself more time to get to know the congregation first. And then I was stunned again when I said yes sooner than I expected only to discover she was a valuable team member from day one.
As I said before, I have no reason not to think that Andy’s experience and strengths aren’t just as impressive in their own way. But I hope you will take the time to get to know Esther if you haven’t had the chance to do so yet.
Rev. Barnaby Feder
Middlebury

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