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Pownal will thrive with collaborative leaders

To the Editor: Innovative leaders understand that positive change happens when people work together as a team. Great leaders inspire other people to become leaders, too. I have worked with both Mike Slattery and Jenny Dewar on multiple community projects and I believe they will bring this kind of collaborative leadership to Pownal.

Pownal is a wonderful place to live and we can attract more young families and businesses to invest in our community, but we need leaders with a vision that includes everyone. We need to value the many regional and state partners that can lend their expertise to our town. The most recent successes we have had in Pownal community and economic development have come through our partnerships with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Vermont Council on Rural Development, Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and Bennington County Regional Commission. When we work together, we win.

I worked with Mike on the Pownal Planning Commission and he impressed me with his kindness, patience, and consensus-building skills. He encouraged me to apply for the Climate Economy Model Communities project that became Empower Pownal. Through all of the resistance to this project, Mike stood up for me and knew that it would bring about something positive, and he was right. Pownal citizens started new initiatives in community recreation such as the Hoosic Bend Trail, promoted local businesses through the Discover Pownal Farm and Food Series, and worked on environmental conservation with Pownal Proud events. Jenny Dewar went on to create the Discover Pownal website and Facebook page that promotes Pownal businesses, arts and culture, and recreation. She is passionate about supporting small business owners and will be a champion of a renewed Pownal Economic Development Committee.

Both Jenny and Mike will bring the vision, project management, and team building that is so needed on the Pownal Select Board. I hope that you will join me in voting for them on March 2nd.

Shannon Barsotti,



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