The Most Qualified Person Running for Selectboard This Year

Talk about laboring in obscurity!

Last week, I found myself discussing a $3.4 million gift that Brattleboro had received. When should we spend it? What should we spend it on? And who should decide?

That’s when we got hung up for a good 20 minutes on the finer points of jurisdiction within Town government. Also the finer points of pickleball.

Nope, it doesn’t get wonkier or weirder than the meetings of the Representative Town Meeting Finance Committee. I often think we understand the Town budget better than certain members of the Selectboard do.

Speaking of which, one of my favorite people—and a fellow committee member—is running for the three-year Selectboard seat this year. I’m excited to share why I’ll be voting for him on March 5, and why I hope he’ll win. (I’ll leave pickleball out of it … for now.)

Oscar Heller—in addition to being an all-around lovely guy—has three qualities that make him perfect for this job.

  1. Oscar listens. Think about it: how many people do you know who genuinely hear what comes out of other people’s mouth-holes? Yup, that’s right: most of us just tune out and start formulating a rebuttal. But Oscar is one of those rare folks who keep their mind and heart authentically open to other points of view before settling on their own.
  2. Oscar takes the Town’s work seriously. People in our community are hurting. Climate change is threatening our economy, our infrastructure, and our very lives. Costs are rising, but the Grand List isn’t growing. Also: OMFG with the sidewalks. Oscar gets it: a leader’s choices make an actual difference for actual fellow humans. That’s probably why he’s committed five years to the Energy Committee and four to the Finance Committee (and has chaired both). Time for a promotion, I’m thinking!
  3. Oscar knows his shit. He looks at things systemically, yes, but he also somehow keeps track of the details, where all the gods and devils are. Oscar really gets how Brattleboro ticks, and from so many angles—that of a tenant; Town Meeting rep; kid at summer camp; entrepreneur; downtown shopper; landlord; and thoughtful, compassionate citizen.

So yeah. I’m going to miss him SO much on the Finance Committee. But it’s time for Oscar to stop laboring in obscurity and start helping run this place!

p.s. Oscar plays tennis—not pickleball (eew).

Paula Melton
Brattleboro resident and voter
Representative Town Meeting member for District 9
Clerk of RTM Finance Committee

Photo of Oscar Heller used with permission.

Comments | 2

  • ?

    “Think about it: how many people do you know who genuinely hear what comes out of other people’s mouth-holes?”


    • !

      In human anatomy, the “mouth-hole” is the location from which the human’s voice mainly emerges. This is not to be confused with, for instance, the nose-holes, (sometimes referred to as nostrils), of which there are typically two. The nose-holes contribute little to the process of speaking other than as a source of replacement air.


      c.f. blowhole (marine mammal anatomy)

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