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Brattleboro Selectboard Candidate Interview: Davey Cadran

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.

Thanks everyone!


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It takes a village

All my working life and beyond I have seen politicians talk about jobs and more jobs. For the longest time now I have seen the futility of an economy dominated by more jobs. There never was a one person, one job ratio in this country, and certainly not in Brattleboro. Moreover, there never will be. (I'm not saying that's what you were suggesting. I understand you would like to see more jobs available.)

The question isn’t so much jobs in an economy. A new paradigm for economic growth or at least stability would factor in a jobless rate more so than job creation. Job creation is too obvious. But if I’m right, what kind of new economy would remove us from this dependency of job creation to stabilize an economy without borders?

Our basic needs are food, water, clothing, housing, education, healthcare and security. Anyone or all of those basic needs will inherently generate oversight, manufacturing, and distribution.

Now if I could only suggest what that “new economic paradigm” would be beyond basic needs I could envy the future.

I really like the fact that you are a son of Brattleboro. You must have the core needs of this village within you and at heart.


Hey Vidda, Thanks for the

Hey Vidda,

Thanks for the feedback. Very interesting, this new paradigm you speak of. Reminds me of some of the arguments in the book Freakonomics. You should check that out if you haven't. A good read on looking at things from a different angle.

From my perspective it's less about us not having enough jobs in Brattleboro (our unemployment rate is very low) and more about us having a better variety of jobs and ones that pay decent wages and are life affirming. I'd really like to see what we could do around that.


Within the purview?

The number of times I’ve found out that people with jobs in Brattleboro are from Massachusetts and New Hampshire were more than I thought there’d be. I’m not saying that shouldn’t be, and it may not fall within the purview of the Selectboard.


Climate Change


Th current Selectboard has done some things to address the town's contribution to climate change and save the taxpayers money over the long haul - like moving forward on the landfill solar project. They have also dragged their feet or neglected to do other things, like implement the recommendations of the municipal energy audit or design police and fire stations that are high-performance from an energy-use standpoint and use renewable heating systems.

What is your view on climate change? How important to you is addressing it? What commitments have you made in your personal and family life to reducing your contribution to GCC? And how would you lead the town on this issue if you are elected?

Tad Montgomery


Hey Tad, Thanks for the

Hey Tad,

Thanks for the questions. I'm working on these right now and will get them to you very soon. It's been a busy two weeks! Looking forward to it. Energy is definitely important to me (the long term savings usually make it a no brainer) I touched on this a little bit on my campaign site: www.VoteForDavey.com but I will definitely address these specifically.



Specific Town Energy Questions

• What are your thoughts on the comprehensive energy audits that were done on municipal buildings last year? To summarize in one sentence: "Investing $1.43 million in energy saving measures is predicted to save $113,427 a year, yielding a 7.9% return on that investment, with a net present value payback of 11.9 years." This was, however, based on fuel costs that have dropped since the report went to press. What would you do to move this project forward under these constraints?
• The Vermont legislature has been debating a carbon tax shift the last couple years. Carbon taxes are said by economists to be one of the best mechanisms to reduce our carbon footprint, and revenue is proposed to be used to offset other taxes, like sales and property. Brattleboro is in the uncomfortable position of being a border town, where gasoline buyers could hop across the river to tank up. What are your thoughts on a carbon tax for Vermont, and how would you use your position on the Selectboard vis-a-vis this issue?
• What is your vision for Brattleboro with regard to our energy use and carbon footprint? What would you do to help home and business owners to reduce energy use and save money?
• Brattleboro recently lost our energy coordinator - Paul Cameron - who requested a mere $10,000 annually from RTM. The town of Hartford, VT (White River Junction) has $55k in their budget to hire an energy coordinator to work on 'anything that touches energy in town,' including helping businesses and homeowner. What would you do on the Selectboard with regard to hiring an energy coordinator?


iBrattleboro Poll

Which should Brattleboro have?