Name: Mary Kehoe
Education: B.A. from Wesleyan University, Middletown Conn. and J.D. from Syracuse University Law School, Syracuse, N.Y.
Married / Family: Married to Jeff Johnson (attorney at Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer in Burlington), three children (all adults)
How long have you lived in Shelburne? Moved to Shelburne in 2013 after living in Burlington for 25 years.
Experience with town boards, commissions, etc.: Served on Burlington City Council (2009-2011) and on Shelburne Development Review Board (2014 to present); Shelburne Board of Civil Authority (2017 to date); Justice of the Peace (2017 to present)
What organizations do you belong to? Vermont Bar Association
Why are you running for a Selectboard seat?
In Shelburne, people know and respect each other; people work together. I am running for Selectboard to make sure that our town governance reflects these values. If elected, I will do my best to keep the lines of communication open between the Selectboard and the community. I will keep an open mind and examine the challenges that confront us from every possible angle. I will work collegially with my colleagues on the board and with the citizens of Shelburne. Our town will be faced with challenges in the near future, but I am confident that, working together, we will be successful in addressing them.
How are you qualified for this office?
I served on the Burlington City Council for two years and have served on the Shelburne DRB for four years. I am a trained mediator and a lawyer. I run my own law firm. If elected, I can bring my problem-solving skills to the position. I am committed to Shelburne and want to help make sure it remains a vibrant town where people want to live and work together.
What is the best thing about Shelburne?
Hands down, the best thing about Shelburne is the people who live and work here. After living in Burlington for decades, I was a little apprehensive moving to a new town. I was surprised and heartened by the warmth with which I was welcomed to the community. I want to bring that same warm, neighborly spirit to the Selectboard.
What would be your top three goals for the board work on?
First, I want to open lines of communication between the Selectboard and the citizens of Shelburne. Second, I want to do whatever I can to reduce Shelburne’s carbon footprint and, with it, reduce its utility expenses. Shelburne spends tens of thousands of dollars each year on electricity. I believe we can reduce that number substantially by examining alternative energy sources within the town. Third, I want to keep Shelburne a vibrant community without putting further pressure on residents’ property taxes.
What would you like the Selectboard to change?
The Selectboard needs to change the way it communicates with the citizens of Shelburne. It needs to amplify its pre- and post-meeting communications. It needs to reduce conflict with the town and among itself. Members of the Selectboard are stewards of the town. The Selectboard sets the tone for the town. I’d like to see the tone be more positive and the stewardship more respected.
Do you support the town’s current policy in the Vermont Railway case? Why or why not?
I support taking prudent action to preserve and protect our environment. I do not support the hazmat ordinance. I believe it was passed without adequate thought to the effect it would have on other businesses in the town. Also, towns cannot pass ordinances that are intentionally discriminatory. This is why the Judge Sessions struck the ordinance as it applies to Vermont Railway. I do not support the appeal. Taking private money to fund a public action is bad town policy. It is close to a “pay to play” approach to government that threatens the foundations of representative government.
What would you do about the railroad issue?
I would do my best to negotiate a settlement. There are still issues that are created by the railroad’s salt shed. Noise and traffic are two issues that come to mind. We need to sit down with Vermont Railway and create a negotiated resolution of those issues.
What else would you like voters to know?
I love Shelburne and want to give back to our community. The town is a jewel in Chittenden County both because of its natural beauty and the wonderful people who live here. I am running for Selectboard because I want to preserve and foster these qualities and encourage community involvement in the decisions made by our Selectboard.