Wednesday January 9, 2013

This letter is to announce that I will try again this year to win a seat on our Select Board. Last time, I came in last, and it felt like I came in sixth in a five horse race. I know I can do better this year.

Why would I run for such an office in the first place? Because I want to serve. I have ideas that many people think are worthy of discussion and, in some cases, of public votes to learn the opinion of the voters. I am not afraid to ask the people of the community what they need, and I am a good listener.

The policy of my candidacy will be clear and transparent. If I am fortunate enough to earn a seat on the Selectboard, I will promote smart growth for all of Bennington. We need to concentrate on tax revenue coming into our town to lessen the burden on taxpayers. New business creates jobs and the kind of energy that this town needs.

The changing of the zoning on Johnsons Control property has been a pet project of mine for a long time. I will do everything I can to see that the zoning of that property is changed to industrial/commercial, so that it can become productive again.

I support the new highway the East/West connection. I do not support the southern leg of the bypass. Studies have shown that this will have a negative impact on all of Bennington's businesses, especially our downtown. That issue alone should be brought before the people before we go another step toward that project. I also support a vibrant downtown and the need to push the State to improve Northside Drive's infrastructure, so that business can come into our town. It would be a win-win situation for Bennington and the State of Vermont.

As a Select Board member, I will work to ensure that at least one of the town staff devotes full time effort to job creation and business development. We've depended on the BBC and the BCIC for too long and these agencies have not been effective enough in improving our business climate.

The strong and direct involvement and support of the Select Board in development is essential.

I hope the voters will take a serious look at my candidacy and support me. I believe we can work together to make Bennington a better place. Because Bennington is, after all, Vermont's home town.

MICHAEL BETHEL

Bennington