We hope you enjoy this interview with Davey Cadran, candidate for the Brattleboro Selectboard.
Which seat are you running for, and why do you want to be on the Selectboard?
I am currently running for one of the two open one-year seats on the Selectboard. I previously ran for the Selectboard and I believe that some of the issues facing the town then are still facing us now. Particularly around economic development and a pro-business atmosphere. I have had several conversations with business owners in the community who feel that the town is either outwardly against their business or suffering a form of complacency. They actually want the government to do more. You don't often hear that from business owners.
Give us your stump speech/qualifications...
Brattleboro is an incredible town that suffers from a lack of good middle-class jobs. Go out and find someone in their late 20's in this town and ask them what they do for work. They will often tell you that they have to string along multiple jobs just to get by. How many of us know neighbors who are struggling to pay property taxes or whose job is at risk? We need outside of the box thinking and tried and true methods to move the Selectboard from a reactionary body to one that is on the offense on issues facing everyday people. For lack of a better phrase: "It's the economy, stupid!"
How did you end up in Brattleboro and why do you stay?
I grew up here. Went through the education system and have many friends and family here. I have come and gone a few times often in search of a better job or education. After my last job at Cultural Intrigue was outsourced, I had a difficult time finding a comparable middle class job in this community. I finally go to the point where I said "This is ridiculous. There are a ton of people who want to live here but there's no jobs." So it was kind of a put up or shut up moment: here I am. Running to make a difference.
What do you think of the Long Term Financial Plan?
I was over the moon when this came out. It's the first kind of long term budget planning that I can ever remember us doing. In addition, it took a hard look at what is being done and what should be done from a pure numbers perspective. Sometimes financial planning; especially when people a hurting financially, requires an emotionless lens.
Do you agree with the Capital Plan as it stands for the next few years?
The Capital Plan seems fine. We're taking care of what we need to and even incorporating some outside funding sources (gifts to the town) to get done what needs to be done. Obviously I would like to see more done especially since deferred maintenance is causing us to shell out more money to replace rather than extend the life of our capital goods. This kind of bleeds into my response to the next question so please, read on.
Recent Selectboards have had concerns about Brattleboro’s role as a “hub town” - do you share these concerns? Why or why not?
I do share these concerns. Brattleboro retains many benefits from being a hub town but there are also greater costs. These also come from being a tourist gateway as well. This puts a disproportionate strain on our infrastructure (roads, pipes, sidewalks, bridges, etc). My proposal that I will urge the legislature to pass is the ability for towns to implement a Local Option Gasoline Tax whose proceeds must be used for infrastructure. This would help to recover money from tourists and bedroom communities that use our infrastructure.
How do you feel about local representation, and Representative Town Meeting?
I would prefer to see us move towards a mayoral form of government which tends to come with stronger vision and leadership than the town form of government does. That being said, I don't believe we have any sort of crises of governance that would warrant a change. I've been a Town Meeting Rep. It's very thrilling.
When and how should citizens comment on town issues? What’s the best way for citizens to express their views?
Oh my god- All. The. Time! I've brought this up in the past extensively. The Town Government needs to start thinking of its self as a business and it's citizens as it's customers. From that vantage point- you can start to see how there are vast shortcomings in how people interact with town government. It's borderline arcane. Some of the forms of communication that people are funneled through would be unacceptable to us from a consumer stand point if it was any other business. I wouldn't say this is a willful disregard on the part of the town. It just takes a reposition of how the relationship is viewed.
There is often talk of finding new sources of revenue to make Brattleboro more affordable for residents. Have any ideas on bringing in more money?
See above for my thoughts on infrastructure spending. As for affordability- ask any homeowner or renter. It's not just taxes but the cost of housing that is unsustainable. My proposal is a five year local property tax exemption for every new unit of housing built. This is the kind of economic shot in the arm that helps to reduce housing costs through greater supply and sets us up for long term property tax gains. This is one of my three signature proposals that I will be fighting for.
Conversely, a board can make adjustments or cuts to save money. Do you have any ideas for increasing our savings with new efficiencies or cuts?
Health Care costs are the biggest factor driving municipal budgets (and breaking wallets, public or private). I would be interested to see if there's ways we can reduce healthcare and/or retirement costs. Perhaps there are contracts that could be combined to produce greater purchasing power. Or maybe there's duplicative administrative tasks that could be eliminated. Remember, employees are customers as well and every customer needs to be served. Let's work with every steakholder to maximize efficiency.
Thoughts on Town offices remaining at the Municipal Center?
I see this as a storm brewing on the horizon. Somethings going to have to be done eventually but frankly, I think there are other things we should tackle right now. We should be doing some preliminary planning though.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am most stimulated when trying to solve problems. I find I get very excited with the prospects of using data and technology to solve problems. There's so much we can do to gain insight and take action to help people. I just love it. I also like reading about titans of industry like Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and more.
Is there anything we didn’t ask about that you’d like everyone to know?
Yes, one of the cornerstones of this campaign will be being accessible to you! Here is how you can find more information and stay engaged:
Visit me on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter:
On Friday 2/10 we will be launching VoteForDavey.com. There, you can sign up for email updates and get all the information you need on our campaign.