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BENNINGTON — Asher Edelson said he has a number of priorities he hopes to pursue if elected to the Bennington Select Board.

In the March 7 election, Edelson is one of six candidates seeking two open seats on the town board.

“I am running for Select Board to make an impact,” he said. “I will do what I can on a variety of issues that I care about, including transit, housing, and disability accessibility. I am prepared to be a proactive listener and find a way to make positive change a reality.”

He added, “Given the powers of the Select Board, I aim to work with colleagues to expand sidewalks, as well as their upkeep, in Bennington. I want to explore tangible opportunities to responsibly house our fellow Bennington residents who experience homelessness. Furthermore, I will be steadfast in securing equity for marginalized communities.”

Edelson also has priorities that would require help from the state.

“My top priority will be to expand improvements in Bennington that will make a positive difference,” he said. “Given the nature of Dillon’s Rule [law defining state and municipal powers], there is a lot that I would love to do which would require Vermont state authority, such as connecting our own North Bennington train station to commuter rail with the rest of our state.”

Concerning downtown redevelopment projects, Edelson said, “So far as I have seen, Putnam Block has been successful thus far amid a pandemic, and the economic hardships thusly attributed. A flurry of fantastic new businesses have blossomed on Main Street, and this is the sort of progress we need to build on. I am grateful that the Community Market is championing healthy food for Bennington and its most disadvantaged residents.”

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Edelson said he appreciates “that the Benn Hi project seeks to restore a historic part of our town, and offer potentially more affordable housing to older people. The idea that this space could be used to host community events, affordable and accessible housing, small businesses, and nonprofits is attractive. Provided I am elected to the Bennington Select Board, I will be diligent in utilizing whatever resources I can to ascertain the feasibility of the Benn Hi project. If it is financially appropriate, and accessible to those with disabilities, it will be a project that I support.”

Edelson said he moved to Bennington after growing up in the South, “where I never felt at home, and found home here. The small town atmosphere appealed to me, as did seasonal weather and the town’s charm. This is where I found home, community, a place to work, and a place to buy my first house. This is where I want to raise a family.”

After arriving in 2019, “I got right to work,” he said. “Amid full-time employment, I became chair of the Vermont State Rehabilitation Council, Town chair of the Bennington Democratic Party, a school board member at Southwest Tech, and a history teacher at the Vermont School for Girls.”

He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and has held positions within local political structures, interned for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida, and worked for numerous political campaigns.

“I love Bennington and I am grateful to call her my home,” he said. “Bennington needs to be equitable, accessible, and productive. Let’s get down to brass tacks, our town has experienced serious problems with regard to racism. We need to work as a community to ensure our town is welcoming and safe for people of color.”

He added, “Painting ‘Black Lives Matter’ in front of our town office is wonderful; however, it is not a tangible change for ensuring our black and brown neighbors are safe, as well as truly listened to — we need to do work on that front. When a duly elected Vermont state representative [former Rep. Kiah Morris] feels the need to resign and move out of town due to racism, that’s a problem.”

The other Select Board candidates are Donald Washum, Nancy White, Edward Woods, Jack Rossiter-Munley, and incumbent board member Sarah Perrin. The top two vote-getters will be elected.

Jim Therrien can be reached at or by phone at 413-281-2646.

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