VOTING PREP

Bill Clark uses a floor shampooer to clean the floor of the truck bay inside the Bennington Fire Department in 2021. The Jan. 24 deadline for filing nomination papers for local elections is approaching, but legislative action could make the filing part easier by not requiring voter signatures.

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BENNINGTON — The Jan. 24 deadline for filing nomination papers for local elections is approaching, but legislative action could make the filing part easier by not requiring voter signatures.

The Legislature has approved a bill allowing candidates to forego gathering the required 30 signatures for local elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Gov. Phil Scott is reviewing it.

Similar exemptions were authorized during the 2021 elections. Another proposal would again allow flexibility in scheduling annual town floor meetings and elections.

Town Select Board, as well as local and regional school board positions, are open this year, along with town clerk, treasurer, moderator and other posts in some communities.

The deadline for filing citizen petitions to place a referendum question on a town ballot was Thursday at 5 p.m.

BENNINGTON RACES

In Bennington, Town Clerk Cassandra Barbeau said it appears that candidates will be able to get on the ballot simply by filing a Consent of Candidate form in person with the clerk’s office. This form and other election information is available online through the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office website.

She said candidate consent forms are due in her office by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 24.

In Bennington, the Select Board seats now held by Tom Haley, Chairwoman Jeannie Jenkins and Jeanne Conner will be open this year, along with the position of moderator (Jason Morrissey) and treasurer (Joan Pinsonneault).

OTHER TOWNS

In Arlington, Clerk Robin Wilcox said that thus far Joe Gervais is running for the two-year Select Board seat currently held by Cynthia Browning, and James Paustian is running for the three-year board seat currently held by Matthew Bykowski.

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In Shaftsbury, the Select Board seats held by Art Whitman and Ken Harrington are open this year.

In Pownal, the Select Board seats now held by Robert Jarvis, Ronald Bisson and Harry “Jamie” Percey will be open in the 2022 election.

SCHOOL BOARDS

Among the regional school districts, the Mount Anthony Union School District will have openings for clerk and treasurer (Barbeau and Gail Mauricette respectively), and for the board seats now held by Ed Letourneau, Timothy Holbrook, Leon Johnson, Stephanie Mulligan and Ron Higgins.

In the Southwest Vermont Unified Elementary School District, there are openings for the board seats now held by Cynthia Brownell and Jeffrey Leake.

In the Southwest Vermont Regional Technical School District, the posts of clerk (Barbeau), treasurer (Ellen Strohmaier) and moderator (Joseph Hall) and four board seats are open this year — those now held by Francis Kinney, Art Haytko, Leon Johnson and Ken Swierad.

BALLOT PETITIONS

In Arlington, three petitioned questions will be on the town ballot, all relating to climate change mitigation, Wilcox said, with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2027.

The first question asks voters to create a fund — the Arlington Climate Mitigation Fund — to reduce or offset CO2 emissions from town fossil fuel use. A second question asks voters to start the fund with $50,000, and a third question asks voters to reduce town carbon dioxide emissions through energy efficiency, carbon sequestration and adoption of renewable energy, subject to budgetary constraints.

Only one petitioned ballot request is on the ballot in Shaftsbury, said Clerk Marlene Hall. That was an appropriation request for the Bennington Senior Center in the amount of $750.

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including the Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com

Reporter/editor

Jim Therrien reports for the three Vermont News and Media newspapers in Southern Vermont. He previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Berkshire Eagle, the Bennington Banner, the Springfield Republican, and the former North Adams Transcript.


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