Campbell seeks re-election
"It's a tall order. But it's the front line for me," he said in an interview Tuesday.
Campbell is seeking a second term on the Bennington Select Board. He's one of three candidates vying for two three-year seats in next week's election. He faces fellow incumbent Jim Carroll in addition to newcomer William H. Stewart. Interviews with those two candidates will run in upcoming editions of the Banner.
Campbell grew up in Bennington and moved back in 2002 with his wife and two daughters. The southwest regional director for the Vermont Land Trust, Campbell was elected in 2015 and had already served on the Planning Commission. Since April, he's served as vice chairman for the Select Board.
Bennington is on "a good trajectory," according to Campbell.
He said he brings a "real passion for Bennington's future."
"I do think we've turned the corner," Campbell said. "We need to build on that momentum."
The role of the Select Board is changing, he said. And he acknowledged that progress can be slow and isn't "flashy." The board, he said, "needs to do a better job communicating a shared vision for the town."
It's up to Select Board members, he said, to communicate a shared vision for the community.
He pointed to developments that have been the fruits of labor by town staff and elected officials: Trails and other recreational opportunities and the partnership between the town's recreation center and the Berkshire Family YMCA, for example. And he praised town employee's response to issues like drinking water contaminated with the man-made chemical PFOA, as well as efforts to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure and the renovation of a former Plasan North America building on Bowen Road into a consolidated Department of Public Works facility.
The proposed $50 million-or-more redevelopment of the Putnam Block downtown — a public-private partnership — is "an indicator that the water has started to flow the other way." It won't fix all the town's problems, he said. "But it's one example of what we need to do to make Bennington into a place that would bring people here."
He spoke in favor of a regional approach to economic development. And the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, he said, is in a strong position.
Campbell said he's dedicated to keeping a sharp pencil when it comes to numbers.
"I want to make sure the investments we're making are the best we can make," he said. "I'm determined to make sure taxpayers are getting a good deal."
The town, he said, "has a lot to lose to apathy."
"People have to want to come here," he said. "People aren't going to come here because they feel sorry for us. They're going to come here because they want a piece of something good."
The floor meeting will be held Monday at 7 p.m. in the River Street fire facility. Voting for local offices will take place Tuesday. Voting for Bennington residents will take place at the firehouse. Residents of North Bennington vote at the village trustees' office on Depot Street. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ed Damon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.
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