Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Local gubernatorial hopeful offers vision for future

As I introduce myself as Esther Charlestin, a candidate for your next governor, I am met with skepticism. “Who do you think you are?” “Where did you come from?” “Why are you here?” 

Behind many statements, questions, gestures — lie those questions around my candidacy. More pointedly, “Who do you think you are?” “You cannot be the executive leader in our State,” and “You are wasting your time.” “You did not follow the rules, you do not have the money, connections, or power — who do you think you are?” “One has been selected; and you, a Black woman who chose Vermont, are not what we envisioned.”

The beauty of a democracy is that each Vermonter gets to decide. As a candidate, I am looking to give the people a choice. My aim is to activate hearts and empower those who feel they are outsiders living in this great state. 

The sentiment of waiting your turn can be saved for those who believe it applies to them. As for me, I have announced my candidacy for governor of Vermont with a clear purpose: to provide strong leadership that reflects fresh perspective and bold action. Because Vermont is changing, we cannot be afraid of the change, we need to embrace it and we need to shape it. I am running to shape the future of Vermont, and that journey begins today.

I am Esther Charlestin, a Vermonter by choice.

I love Vermont and it has been my chosen community for the past five years. My family and I have been able to create an incredible life for ourselves. It has come with its hills and valleys — I was twice elected to the Middlebury selectboard. I was selected to be the Dean of Culture and Climate, at Middlebury Union Middle School, but left after a year of witnessing the system’s cracks and experiencing them firsthand. Facing racial attacks and systemic failures in support, I have chosen to advocate for change through my company Conversation Compass, LLC, striving to foster understanding of justice, equity and inclusions in schools and organizations.

I believe in Vermont. The experience of living in this great state has to be better for all of us, and this year each Vermonter gets one vote to make their choice.

I envision a Vermont where everyone has access to attainable housing, quality education, that fosters a dynamic and inclusive workforce, and builds resilient communities that can withstand the challenges of climate change.

Despite the doubts and barriers placed before me, I stand firm in my belief in the transformative power of democracy. In the face of adversity, I choose hope, believing in a Vermont united by our shared values of community, resilience and progress. Together, we can shape a Vermont that embraces diversity, equity and opportunity for all. 

As I embark on this journey, I invite you to join me in envisioning a future where every Vermonter’s voice is heard and every dream is within reach. Together, let us write the next chapter of Vermont’s story — one of hope, progress and inclusive prosperity. 

Esther Charlestin

Middlebury

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