In preparation for voting on March 6, we are presenting interviews with each of the Selectboard candidates.
First up, William D. Forchion, running for one of the two available 1-year seats on the board.
Introduce yourself… who are you and what should people know about you?
William Forchion was born and raised in Hammonton New Jersey. Mr. Forchion is a graduate of Hammonton High School, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and earned a B.S. in Metaphysics from The American Institute of Holistic Theology. As a performer William has traveled around the world performing with many acclaimed companies including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Cirque du Soleil and Sandglass Theater of Putney. He has also worked as an actor and stuntman on numerous television and film productions including as an Elf in the Polar Express .
William is also an independent film producer who has won awards for his film projects. As a respected independent filmmaker he is a judge for the Philadelphia Independent Film Awards, an Advisory Board member for the Brattleboro Film Festival and volunteer with the IndependentTV Festival. In 2017 William made two trips to Turkmenistan as a U.S. Department of State Cultural Exchange Ambassador for the Arts.
William’s first book “Billosophy: meditations on GOD, movement and miracles”, which took a lifetime to write, was published in 2016. William then turned his writings into a one man theatrical show “Billosophy: life ~ circus ~ death”, directed by Peter Gould, which premiered at the 2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival and is currently touring. William’s works of poetry have been featured multiple years in the “Poem City” festival in Montpelier, VT. William second book “Sacred & Sacrosanct: a collection of poems” is to be published in 2018.
William has served as a Citizens Advisory Board member for the Brattleboro Restorative Justice Center and a Board member for Windham County Reads. William has also volunteered as a Program Advisor with the Boys and Girls club of Brattleboro and has Directed and Advised at the New England Youth Theater. When he is not writing or editing or otherwise producing film and television works in his Brattleboro, Vermont studio William teaches and is dad to 3 beautiful children (two at Academy school and one at BUHS).
Read any good books lately?
I mainly read to my three kids at night so most of the books that stick out are young adult novels. The latest great read was Meddling kids by Edgar Cantero. A stand out series is The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan (I read the series twice, once for the oldest and once for the middle). My adult reads are “Thinking in new boxes” by Luc de Brabandere & Alan Iny, and “Loving what is” by Byron Katie (audiobook).
Why are you running for the 1 year seat?
This is my first foray into public policy. I did not want to overcommit.
What unique perspective or skills do you offer as a candidate?
As a performer, acrobat and world traveler I have a skill set that includes observation, listening, risk assessment and risk management. I believe these skills are necessary for my integration to a select board position.
Are there any specific issues you’d like the selectboard to take on in the coming year?
How would you describe Brattleboro to someone who’s never been here?
A fantastic mix of unique individuals that is rich in arts and culture.
What could Brattleboro use that it doesn’t already have?
It is so easy to fall into the trap of wanting more. The question I have is how can we more effectively use the resources we have?
Town staff relies heavily on the Long Term Financial Plan, Comprehensive Review of Town Operations, and Town Plan. Have you read any or all of these, and what’s your impression of our near-term future as outlined in these plans?
I have not read any of these and therefore have no impression.
Last year saw some of Brattleboro’s first efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion in town government. What are your thoughts on where we are, and what we could do next?
The ballot choices we have this year appear to be a direct response to the diversity issue. My candidacy is a direct result of having many discussions with community members about diversity and town governance.
Brattleboro made a commitment to compassion last year. Taxes are also going up. Can there be compassion in a municipal budget? How does “compassion” fit in to town operations, in your view?
Vermont will have a form of legal marijuana in July. Thoughts?
I do not have a thought about marijuana legalization. We do have a wound to heal with the opioid epidemic. I do hope we can apply the necessary resources to bring our community back to health from this crisis.
Brattleboro’s energy use is an ongoing topic. We’ve been making energy improvements in municipal buildings, changing the devices we use to low-power alternatives, and looking for electric dump trucks and other vehicles. Are we doing enough? Is Brattleboro’s vision for a sustainable future correct and clearly articulated?
I do not have an informed answer to this question as I do not have enough information. Brattleboro’s energy use is an important discussion. It is important to have a vision for a sustainable future.
Have any jokes you can share?
Two cannibals encountered each other while walking in the forest. One cannibal says to the other “I just passed your brother.”
Studies show municipal broadband (towns offering internet as a utility) is less expensive, has more transparent pricing than commercial providers, and gives protection against commercial ISP net neutrality whims. It also creates jobs and revenue. Brattleboro has fiber running right through town. Should Brattleboro explore the possibility of municipal broadband for Brattleboro?
(short answer) Yes.
Most of municipal planning for “the future” takes us 3-5 years ahead. Is this a long enough timeframe? Should Brattleboro add a component that studies a more long-term future, such as 20-50 years ahead?
I do believe there should be long range planning to better prepare for things such as renovation and or replacement of infrastructure, integration of emerging technology.
Is there anything you’d like to answer that we didn’t ask you?
I have reasoned that there will never be a good time to step into politics. When I look back on my life I want to say “I did what I could do” and not regret doing nothing because the “right” time just never showed up.
How can people find out more about your campaign?
Thanks for spending time with iBrattleboro.com!