Candidates for Williamstown Selectboard explain why they are running
We have three candidates for two seats on the Williamstown Selectboard, running in the Town Election on May 10—Jane Patton, Cynthia Payne and Jeffrey Thomas. The Greylock Independent has invited all three candidates to submit a brief statement explaining why they are running and including a short bio.
To the Williamstown Community:
I was elected to the Board of Selectmen in 2013. I have enjoyed my time on the board, and I am enthusiastically running for a second term.
In my first year, I spent a lot of time listening to and observing my colleagues. During the second year, I started to become more comfortable and confident, and feel as though I was able to contribute significantly to the various issues that arose. And now, during my third year, I am fully hitting my stride and want to continue the work that I have begun. I am currently the chair of the Board of Selectmen, Community Preservation Committee and the Public Safety Building Study Committee. During my first term, I am most proud of co-chairing the search committee for a new town manager. My co-chair, Tom Sheldon, and the search committee, worked tirelessly to insure we found the best candidate for the job.
I believe in looking at things holistically. I have no specific agenda, other than to be relentlessly diligent in terms of making fact-based decisions. I believe in open space, green energy, conservation and commerce. I would like to see Williamstown become more attractive to younger residents—to have our children return here to raise their families. In order to do that, we have to ensure we create opportunities so there are viable jobs, excellent schools and top-notch healthcare. All of which can be obtained without negatively impacting the environmental landscape we all love and value so much.
I am seeking re-election because I believe in public service, and the work of town government is enjoyable to me, despite the challenges that occasionally arise. I am confident I will continue to contribute in a positive way by executing my reasonable, thorough and holistic approach to solving problems. That approach, coupled with my extensive business background, not only in other large cities in the country but right here in Williamstown, provide an excellent framework for dealing with the issues the town is currently facing, and will face in the future.
Cynthia D. Payne
I’m running for Selectboard because I love the town of Williamstown. I’ve lived here for almost 30 years and my husband and I raised our four children here. During all this time I’ve been active in town: on the board of the Williamstown Historical Museum (House of Local History); involved in the First Congregational Church and co chair of their annual tag sale; volunteering in my children’s schools and on the PTO; participating in the library book sale; a member of Rotary. I know this town. It’s a wonderful place to live.
I want to ensure that low and moderate income people can live here and seniors can retire in place. I want our kids to be able come back to live and work, and for the college students to get jobs here after they graduate. I want to preserve our agricultural lands and our water sheds. I value our historic architecture and by promoting adaptive reuse we can make our old buildings an integral part of our townscape like the new Cable Mills apartments. I support our school system, both the elementary school and the high school, vital for attracting young families to our area.
I’d like to see Spring Street became a vital place again for the people of Williamstown, not just tourists. We need to revitalize Water Street to make it a more attractive place for new business. We need to develop sites like the old town garage site, as well as the Photech site. We need to encourage sustainable development.
We don’t need to tear apart our town. We can learn from the best practices of other communities, like Manchester VT and Hanover NH. We need to work together to preserve the past and plan for the future so that Williamstown continues to be a place where we all love to live.
I’m running for Selectboard to continue the work of the Williamstown Economic Development Committee (EDC). Implementing the EDC’s recommendations will help us expand our tax base, better support our schools, and make much-needed investments in our town’s infrastructure.
I am a person of action
People who know me will affirm that I like to get things done. Getting things done in Town Hall isn’t always easy. That said, I’m proud of my work as chair of the EDC. In twelve months we identified more than four dozen strategies for economic growth, all of which were firmly grounded in our community’s values.
I want to work for smart economic growth
Some in the community worry that growing our economy means we’ll need to sacrifice open space or ruin our town’s natural beauty. But if we are thoughtful, we can have economic growth and preserve our community’s character, too. Cable Mills is a great example. This development has created jobs, is attracting new residents, will enhance the vibrancy of downtown, and will expand our tax base.
I care about the integrity of Town Hall processes
In my five years of volunteer service on town committees, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for our municipal government. I believe it is imperative that those who serve on town boards set their personal views aside when performing their duties. Elected town officials should always serve the community and never serve an agenda.
I am trained as a researcher. I prioritize facts over opinion, data over hearsay, and domain expertise over self-confidence. I believe this experience will help me serve the needs of the greater Williamstown community.
I want a bright future for Williamstown
I want our town to be a place of opportunity. I want more young families here. I want our children to be able to find good jobs here. And I want our town to remain a place of incredible beauty.
You can learn more about me, my work and my values at www.jeffreythomasforselectman.com