Evan Chadwick is running for a one-year seat on the Brattleboro Selectboard.
Tell us about yourself….
I have lived in Brattleboro since 2006. I graduated from Keene State with a bachelors degree in social science. I then enrolled in a 4 year legal clerkship at the the law office of Thomas Costello. I took the bar in 2012 and began my own law firm now named Chadwick and Spensley PLLC. We have three offices located in Brattleboro, Pittsford and Randolph. A large part of our practice is prosecuting police brutality cases against cities such as Burlington and Saint Albans. For seven years I was the head boys basketball coach at Bellows Falls Union High School. Last year I served as the freshmen coach at Brattleboro High School.
Why are you running for a 1 year seat on the Brattleboro Selectboard?
Simply put, I am running because I love my home, and because I feel my experience as an attorney and small business owner can help guide our town through this difficult time to a brighter and more inclusive future.
Are there any specific issues your are concerned about and want to work on as a board member?
1) Pedestrian Only Marketplace: I would like the town to start finding a suitable area for a pedestrian only marketplace that will open us up for more gatherings and outdoor vendors. My initial belief is that Elliot street into Harmony Lot would be a good place to look.
2) Marijuana Retail: Let’s find a safe way to implement this and let’s see if there are ways we can implement a local tax on all sales to provide more revenue for other social projects that address our homelessness, drug addiction and other major societal issues.
3) Police Reform: I feel we have a good core of leadership at the Brattleboro PD. Lets work with, not against them to ensure that they have the training and resources needed to efficiently perform their core function of public safety.
4) Town Efficiency: This probably should be #1 on the list. We need to ensure our town is run in an efficient manner. We need to critically look at all expenses to determine their overall value to the population and cut any wasteful spending that is not geared towards the town’s betterment. We also need to ensure that the selectboard meetings are handled efficiently as well. I understand the need for listening, but I also understand the need to avoid 5 hour meetings if at all possible. These marathon meetings do not improve citizen participation, they actually detract from it.
In what direction should Brattleboro be heading? What’s your vision for the future of the town?
Brattleboro should be moving forward. We need bold ideas, while also ensuring we include the least fortunate of our citizens or not left behind.
Recent zoom meetings have been very long. How good are you at staring at screens? : ).
I can endure, most of my legal work is now through video conference so my screen eyes have quite a bit of training.
In the last year the board passed two major community-driven initiatives – a rent ordinance and a community safety review. Did you agree with these board decisions? Why or why not?
I disagree with the rent ordinance. I do not believe it is the selectboard’s job to interfere in the contractual negotiations of private businesses.
As an attorney who handles a multitude of civil rights cases, I understand the need for law enforcement reform. I do not agree however with defunding or even reducing their budget. We have a crisis on our hand in finding good officers who are willing to commit to the difficult job of serving their town. We cannot currently compete compensation wise with other police departments. We need to find a way to appeal to a wider range of officer candidates so we can have the best department possible. We also need to support any reasonable training initiatives that are designed to address many of the concerns voiced in the public safety report. Frankly, I feel the $40,000 the town spent on the report, could have been spent in a better way.
In the coming year the board will be tasked with implementing some or all of the community safety recommendations. Thoughts? Do any of the recommendations bother you? Are there any you really want to see implemented immediately?
I do not support the reduction of police funding. I support better training, more social outreach and delegating much of the social outreach to outside agencies as police officers are not meant nor are they the best equipped to handles such matters.
Who was your best teacher and what did they teach you?
My best teacher has been my wife. She has taught me so many things about self-discipline, drive and belief in my abilities, I could never thank her enough.
COVID. How well is the town holding up? Anything we should worry about?
We are hanging in there. I am very worried about our downtown retail and restaurant sector. I am truly inspired by how hard and innovative these businesses have been, but I do feel that they could use all the support we as a town can give.
Does Brattleboro’s system of government allow for equal and full access by everyone in town? Is everyone represented? What could be improved?
Brattleboro does a great job with providing access to its government functions. I do not have any specific recommendations on improvements at this time. This may change if I am elected.
Who or what inspires you?
People’s stories inspire me. In my job as an attorney, I am constantly inspired in understanding people’s stories and how I may help them write the next chapter. We are all so imperfect and it is this common imperfection that makes each of our stories so unique and important.
Have any hobbies or special interests at the moment?
Exercise, anyway I can; run, X-Country ski, golf, lift weights. Anything that can get my heart rate elevated and my focus narrowed, is a blessing, especially during COVID times.
Is there anything voters should know that we didn’t ask about?
I believe that is up to the individual voter. I am open to talking to any of them about anything.
If people want to know more, what’s the best way to contact you?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or friending me on Facebook and sending me a message.
Thanks for spending time with iBrattleboro!