iBrattleboro Selectboard Candidate Interview – Daniel Quipp

Daniel Quipp is an incumbent running for a three year seat.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you are running for a three year seat…

Hello iBrattleboro! I’ve been on the board for the last three years and have decided to take the plunge for the 3-year seat. I’m proud of the work we have done in the last three years and am up for the challenge of the next three. Hopefully we’ll finally move out of the pandemic and into a period of recovery for all people. There are many opportunities ahead and with a new town manager at the helm, I’m excited to see what we can accomplish for the good of the town.

RTM increased compensation to make it easier for more people to serve, yet you are running unopposed. Did RTM make a mistake? Increasing compensation did not increase candidates…

Running unopposed certainly feels quite strange. In my previous three elections I think the smallest field was four candidates vying for two seats. Whether the lack of candidates is related to compensation, I cannot say. The $8000 stipend did not really figure in my decision to run again. I think the work of being on the board for the last two years might not have looked super appealing and with all of the incumbents choosing to run again perhaps potential candidates decided to wait until next year?

Your opponent is nobody. Why should voters take the time to vote for you, rather than nobody?

Well, I hope that voters will choose to fill in my bubble and that if re-elected they’ll think that I have served them effectively. In the last three years I think that I have conducted myself with seriousness, curiosity, and have tried to do the best for the people of Brattleboro.

Would you like to continue on the Traffic Safety Committee?

This will be the end of my second year on the committee and I think it might be time for someone else to try it. Tim did it for two years before me and so perhaps we can interest one of the others. It’s an important committee and I’ll continue to pay attention to its work.

Is it time for you to be Chair?

Maybe I’ll try to be vice-chair first, but if elected for the next three years, I imagine I’ll want to throw my hat in the ring for Chair at some point. I do quite enjoy facilitating meetings.

What are your current thoughts on Brattleboro and…

– housing

We need more of it at all levels! We need to improve the existing housing stock. There is much fruitful collaboration possible and most people would acknowledge that this is one of our area’s biggest challenges.

– community safety

I’m excited to see what kind of alternatives to policing we may help start with the $300,000 (if RTM approves it) that we set aside for this work. Staff have been working hard on exploring how to bring about the recommendations from the report and I think that will be a big piece of the board’s work this year and for years to come.

– climate

The Town will continue to try to make progress on our climate goals. We are well served by the collaboration between department heads and the sustainability coordinator. Everyone on the board is well aware that this is a priority for many in our community.

– cannabis

I’m looking forward to retail cannabis being a reality in our state and town. No doubt there will be some growing pains but on the whole I think it will be a good thing for us.

– keeping costs down

If it can be done, and a good level of service maintained, then I am for it. During this last budget cycle I tried to find places to trim, but unless you want to start eliminating positions or reducing services you’re really just cutting very small amounts of money out of a $20M budget, and the benefit to taxpayers is barely noticeable.

Are there any other local issues of special concern or interest to you?

Sure! Accessibility and safety for pedestrians; adding to our recreation facilities; better public transit; making sure that the steps outside of the municipal center get fixed!

Outside of the Selectboard, how are you doing? What sort of other projects or problems fill your time?

Depends when you ask me! The last couple of years have been tough on everybody and there are definitely times when I feel pretty exhausted with it all. My main ‘project’ is working for SEVCA and trying to do a good job there supporting my colleagues to keep people’s homes heated and help them avoid eviction. Outside of that, I love to play tennis, stroll around, eat baked goods, drink coffee, and listen to music.

How do you deal with burnout and exhaustion?

My wife and I are a good team and we support each other in keeping things pretty chill at home. I’ve definitely been grateful to her for being a sounding board, ally, and compassionate ear over the last couple of years. If I’m feeling tired and cynical it’s always a good sign to take a little break and then come back to things later. Usually a bit of fresh air, distance, and some physical activity do the trick.

Are you satisfied with public engagement in town matters? Is local democracy strong?

We could always have more engagement but I think things tend to ebb and flow depending on the issues at hand. Certainly the last couple of years have meant that I see people less often and usually only in a capacity where they are on a zoom call rather than bumping into them in the street. I’d love to see contested elections for RTM seats (and SB seats too!) and we’d always prefer to have choices for committee positions.

Would you say you are generally optimistic or pessimistic about humans and the problems we face? Why?

I am a fairly optimistic person, otherwise I don’t think I could do this kind of work. I believe that many of the problems we face are solvable. Some of them can be solved by 5 people on the selectboard, some are bigger than that. I believe in the skill and creativity of the people in our town and region and expect us to make progress towards a more equitable and just future.

Recommend some books, movies, music for us….

Music – Circuit des Yeux, Coco, Cate le Bon and a million other things

Movies – I watched Moonstruck with Cher and Nicholas Cage last night. It’s pretty weird but Cher is amazing.

Books – I’m reading the latest Jonathan Franzen and thought I’d hate it but it is actually pretty darn readable.

Is there anything you’d like to mention that hasn’t been asked?

What’s the best way for voters to reach you?

They can email me at dquipp@brattleboro.org and the rest of my contact info is on the town website.

Thanks for spending time with iBrattleboro!

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