By RUSSELL JONES
BRANDON — With a contested selectboard race in Brandon, the Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a Meet the Candidates forum at the Town Hall basement meeting room at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28. Bill Moore will be the moderator for the forum and candidates will have the opportunity to answer questions from the public.
As the only contested selectboard race in Brandon, voters will choose between Tim Guiles and Dennis Reisenweaver for the seat being vacated by Devon Fuller.
Fuller served eight years on the selectboard, and has decided to devote more time to the Downtown Brandon Alliance, saying he feels the board is in capable hands and has a great manager working for them.
The two candidates bring diverse backgrounds and volunteer in many capacities around the community.
Guiles, 59, is a professional musician. Originally educated and employed as a software engineer, he moved to Vermont in 1992 to explore issues of sustainability. He is also a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. While in Vermont, he has been a town librarian, an EMT, a tiny house builder, a musical theater director, and a pianist for many small and large singing groups, including the Vermont Symphony Orchestra chorus.
Most recently, Guiles ran for the Rutland-6 House seat as a Progressive/Democrat and was endorsed by Bernie Sanders.
Being passionate about sustainable living, Guiles built a carbon neutral small house in Brandon with solar panels on the roof that supply his heat, hot water, cooking, lights, appliances, lawn mower and electric car.
Guiles volunteers at the Brandon Town Hall, the Brandon Free Public Library and the Brandon Food Shelf. He also teaches weekly piano lessons at the Rutland jail.
“I feel the town of Brandon is well run and that the selectboard is a well functioning group of people,” Guiles said. “If elected, I look forward to contributing to the healthy discussions about how to help Brandon be as good as it can be.”
Reisenweaver has lived in Brandon for about 10 years and holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Master of Arts in Archaeology and Heritage.
“I feel that my diverse background can provide relevant experience to the Brandon selectboard,” Reisenweaver said. “In my past employment, I have prepared budget estimates for very large projects and acted as the project manager for various decommissioning and safety projects.”
Reisenweaver worked for more than 45 years in the nuclear field, mostly in safety, decommissioning, and project management. During that time he worked for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for five years and the United Nations, in the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, for 8 years. Reisenweaver also worked for private companies supporting the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, public utilities and universities.
“I believe that economic growth and planned development is the future for Brandon,” Reisenweaver said. “We must decide what types of businesses we want and move aggressively to get them to consider Brandon as their home.”
Reisenweaver retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years as a Lieutenant Colonel. He had spent five years in active duty and the rest of the time in the Reserves, and was called up for Desert Storm.
He currently volunteers at the Brandon Free Library, is a member of the Brandon Fire Department, and the American Legion in Brandon. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the Los Alamos Historical Society, a group that had a budget of over $3 million.
“We need to establish a stable tax base based on business and this can only be done by bringing in new business. By getting more businesses into town, we can reduce the tax burden on the residents,” Reisenweaver said. “We have too many empty store fronts and a vacant industrial park. By reducing the residential tax burden and having available jobs we can better entice people to move to Brandon and foster a healthier and better Brandon.” For more information about the Meet the Candidates forum contact the Chamber at 802-247-6401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.