At a Montpelier City Hall press conference at about 12 noon today, City councilor and Montpelier High School teacher Anne Watson announced her candidacy for Mayor of Montpelier at City Meeting on the first Tuesday of March 2018.
Watson was introduced to the local media by former Montpelier Mayor and current state legislator Mary Hooper and by longtime Montpelier resident and active citizen Jack McCullough.
Hooper said she was “very proud to be supporting Anne Watson for Mayor.”
Hooper explained her support for Watson, saying: “She has the skill set and values, she’s creative and is an ‘out of the box’ thinker and she listens to other in developing consensus.”
McCullough said of Watson that she is “a great person to work with.”
He said that Watson would make Montpelier a welcoming community and noted that she was an educator and a coach who has strong ties to young people.
McCullough said he had campaigned for Watson in a recent council election. “I went door to door for her. I can’t tell you the number of people who said they were happy to support her. Anne is going to be a great mayor for the future,” he said.
In her own remarks, Watson noted that she her five years of service on the City Council and for three years she said, she’s been Council President. “I do the job whenever he’s not available,” she said about pinch-hitting for current Mayor John Hollar.
She emphasized her commitment to developing affordable housing in Montpelier. “I want to grow the quantity and quality of housing in Montpelier,” she said.
She identified financial and energy sustainability as two of the goals she would pursue as mayor. She also raised the issue of flood resiliency. She noted that Montpelier had a history of flooding. But she said, “We can enact policies that can mitigate the impacts.”
She praised the Council’s careful process in taking on “the hard conversations about the City’s budget and asking the sharp questions of “Can we afford it or not?”
She said talked about working with Montpelier High School students to decide the best energy source for heating the school greenhouse. The students explored the alternatives and eventually settled on solar panels. But the discussion had a great value and produced a better result than if there hadn’t been a discussion.
“We can do this together,” said about her belief that participation is at the heart of making good decisions.
She concluded her remarks optimistically: noting the District Heat project, the local commitment to Net Zero energy, the newly paved roads and the new businesses on Barre Street.