Editor's Note: This article was written by Sarah Sciortino, a student at the University of Vermont and a reporter for the Community News Service, a student powered partnership with local community newspapers.
John Fitzgerald is running for re-election to the selectboard after an eventful term. He's been involved with the Milton Youth Soccer Club for six years, starting as the equipment manager before becoming the vice president.
Fitzgerald is running for both the one-year and three-year seats on the selectboard. By law, he is only allowed to hold one position, so if he wins both seats he will have to forfeit one position.
For the one-year seat, Fitzgerald is running against Kumulia "Kase" Long, Lisa Rees and Darren Adams. For the three-year seat he is up against incumbent Michael Morgan.
Here's what he had to say about running for re-election.
What past experience makes you the right fit for the job?
Fitzgerald and his former neighbors at the Birchwood mobile home park all saw that the process of moving from a trailer to a house was difficult, especially with high taxes.
“I think a lot of the exposure to income levels while I lived in Birchwood mobile home park really helped me understand the issues that a lot of the community was having,” Fitzgerald said.
He wants to hold those in charge of the budget accountable for how they spend tax dollars, and notes how the “town does a good job, but has room to grow.”
Fitzgerald has served on the board for a year now, and notes that he has learned a lot from the other board members. He will miss working with them but looks forward to serving with new folks if re-elected.
What issues or projects do you hope the board will take on this year?
Fitzgerald explained that the board doesn’t exactly take on projects, but more so oversees the operations of the town and approves or denies proposals to spend money in order to execute certain projects.
“The board has to make sure that they [the town] are [is] presenting a suitable budget for the taxpayers,” Fitzgerald said.
Despite this, Fitzgerald notes that the city has big opportunities to improve maintenance of roads, and that some of them are seriously in poor condition.
This past year on the selectboard, Fitzgerald and his colleagues were called on to act on racial justice.
“One of the things the selectboard approved was putting a flag pole at River Street Park by the dam for different organizations to fly a flag each month,” Fitzgerald said.
He mentioned how calls on the city for action on racial justice were warranted, and he was happy to be able to work with community members to make their voices heard.
“The town developed a Police Advisory Committee which works with the Police Chief and the Director of Public Safety to look at our policing policy,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said he was happy to help find the right five people for this committee to voice their concerns and connect with the rest of the community. He mentioned that he has learned a lot from the Milton Town Manager, Don Turner, and is hoping that he can work towards that role and maintain involvement in city government.