Letter to the editor: Thomas offers valuable insight and experience

I am writing in support of Esther Thomas for the one-year post on the Middlebury selectboard vacated by Victor Nuovo. Esther is a Residence Director at Middlebury College, part of the Student Life Staff. She moved to Middlebury to take this position two years ago and immediately fell in love with Vermont, and Middlebury in particular, recognizing it as a wonderful community in which to raise her two children.

With an undergraduate degree in history and communication, and a master’s in communication and public relations, Esther’s job requires her to manage a staff of 18 students. She is responsible for the residential life of juniors and seniors, as well as college “Febs” (who start their freshman year in February). Her responsibilities include responding to student concerns, enforcing campus protocols, and dealing with those who “get in trouble” for violating college rules regarding substances, and other infractions.

No slouch to hard work, almost as soon as Esther established her home here in Middlebury, she immediately started volunteering, putting into practice her desire to “give back” to her chosen community. Recently elected to the Middlebury Natural Foods Cooperative Board, Esther is also an active member of the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, all the while raising her two young children as a divorced single mom.

Esther brings to the selectboard much needed diversity – as a person of color, a working single mother, and a staff member of the college, she can bring her unique perspectives to bear on the pressing issues facing our town. As we grapple with the impacts of the pandemic (and other pressures) on the economic viability of our downtown, as we search for ways to encourage young families to come live and work in Middlebury, as we explore ways to maximize ridership in our public transportation, as we start implementing our new town plan, as we undertake the challenging work of understanding and dismantling the legacies of systemic racism — in each of these areas Esther’s voice, experiences and insights will be invaluable.

I urge you to join me in supporting Esther Thomas for Middlebury selectboard.

Emily J. Joselson

Middlebury

 

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Addison County Independent