Bob Ackland and Devin Klein Corrigan are seeking reelection to the Warren Select Board for two-year terms while Camilla Behn and Andy Cunningham are seeking reelection for three-year terms. Board member Luke Youmell’s seat is not up for reelection this Town Meeting Day.
VR: Please provide a brief bio of your professional/educational background.
Bob Ackland: Graduated with a BA in business with a major in finance from Nichols College. Began my college experience at Norwich bringing me to The Valley in the early 60s.
My career started at IBM as a financial analyst/controller. Left to enter small business in the yacht repair field ultimately purchasing Falmouth Marine, which I sold in 1991. I moved to my other passion, skiing, and joined Sugarbush in 1995, became CFO, then became GM at Mad River Glen and later president of Sugarbush. I retired from Sugarbush in 2009. I’m now managing partner of Steep Management, which markets a software system for mountain operations
Camilla Behn: I was born and raised in The Valley and currently live in Warren with my husband, Chris.
Devin Klein Corrigan: I’m a lifelong resident of Warren. I attended the UVM Honors College where I graduated magna cum laude with a master’s in European History and a double minor in German and Holocaust Studies. Graduating into the recession of 2008, I spent my time traveling and working as a private investigator, bartender and in retail. Upon returning to Vermont from L.A. I was hired on a standing seam roofing crew by my now-husband, Taylor Corrigan, with whom I own and operate our building company, Corrigan & Klein Artisan Builders. Through this business I express my passions for economic and environmental sustainability.
Andy Cunningham: I’m a 25-year Warren resident and on the select board for 14, chair for the last 12. I own and run a property management company with my wife Jane.
VR: Why should Warren residents reelect you to the select board?
Ackland: My tenure as a select board member has been one of bringing clarity and solid financial planning for the town of Warren. I have been a champion for addressing the quality of our roads and highway infrastructure. I am not afraid to tackle difficult issues that need to be addressed for the betterment of the town. As I have grown over time at the position, I have learned to put aside personalities and looked at the issue from the perspective of the greater good for the town.
Behn: I’m not sure that I am the right person for the job, quite honestly, but I am willing to continue to give it my best effort. My three years on the board have opened my eyes to the amount of work and dedication it takes to keep Warren going day to day. We’re incredibly fortunate to have some excellent and deeply committed individuals running all departments in the town and yet still the members of the select board are kept busy nearly every day. I would have been happy to see anyone throw their hat in the ring and do the job better than me.
Corrigan: I love this town, this Valley and our way of life. After being appointed to the board last spring, I have found my perspective and energy to be useful and appreciated by the townspeople and the board. I care deeply about this community and will work diligently to steer us through this new phase of development with rising housing costs, increased immigration into our town and a need to continue working toward environmental sustainability. I am committed to finding solutions to these problems that honors all perspectives and seeks to achieve common goals through research, public input and hard conversations.
Cunningham: I believe I have done a very good job for the town of Warren and I am willing and ready to continue.
VR: What do you think are important qualities or experience for effective select board members, specifically in Warren? How does your personality, background and experience qualify you for this role?
Ackland: My perspective of the requirements has changed during my time on the board. It is important to listen, recognize what you don’t know and be willing to say you made a mistake. At the beginning of my select board stint, my experience leading small businesses was what I thought was most important. That still has value, but I have realized that Warren is an eclectic group of people; there are many different opinions. The challenge is how to represent most of the opinions or wants … [It] is a volunteer position, when you make the decision to serve, you do so without setting limits on what it takes to do the job you agreed to do.
Behn: The ability to listen well, openness to having your mind changed, remembering that you are in this role to serve the needs of the entire Warren community and not for your own ego, agenda or advancement -- these are some of the qualities that I believe a good civic leader should possess. The best person for the job is someone who possesses these qualities and also has time to devote to the work that needs to be done, not only the day-to-day transactions, but the forward thinking and research.
Corrigan: To be effective in government one must be willing to discuss without anger or fear, find compromise with those around them, represent the will of others and believe in the power of the communal mind. Our political system in this state allows for true representative democracy on a level not easily achieved on the national scale. It is our duty to steer our town in the direction we as a community want to see it go. I greatly enjoy the opportunity to engage in political discourse, to start with one opinion and end with another. It is through this process that we come to outcomes that serve the greatest good. Personally, I engage with this process daily as the lead designer and project manager for my company, working with clients to find the best path forward financially, aesthetically and functionally. I intend to continue to bring this approach to town government.
Cunningham: No response
VR: What are your top priorities as a select board member if reelected? What ongoing or upcoming issues Warren faces are most important to you?
Ackland: I have two priorities. The most important one is for Warren to work with Fayston and Waitsfield to address The Valley’s housing issue. Without addressing this, the character of Warren and the other towns will change and life as we know it and love will be different. The second priority is to move the existing town garage out of Warren Village. The existing site is a perfect site to develop housing. The existing garage needs upgrading and the site needs to be addressed from a water quality perspective, and a town garage does not belong in the middle of a residential setting next to a school.
Behn: All of Vermont's communities are facing a serious challenge in finding ways to adapt to the changes in our world that are outside of our control, while trying to maintain the most important attributes of who we have been. Climate change, economic disparity, the pandemic: This is a very short list of the forces shaping us and forcing us to respond to their influences. In my opinion, we must first accept that change is inevitable and then figure out how to allow that change while carrying forward from the past that which is most essential to our well-being.
Corrigan: Our top priorities revolve around using ARPA funds in a lasting and beneficial way for our community, including but not limited to traffic calming and pedestrian safety, wastewater and stormwater initiatives, renewable energy usage and weatherization of older buildings. We are continuing to develop systems for managing our town government and employees in a way that provides meaningful careers and proper oversight, as well as discussing, designing, and engaging in the relocation and building a new town garage facility, and affordable housing issue, which we are addressing through our new Land Use and Development Regulations in coordination with the housing coalition.
Cunningham: Our priorities in Warren for the near future involve managing our valuable employees, building essential town infrastructure, wisely spending both locally-raised and federal tax dollars, and promoting public safety.
VR: What makes Warren a great place to live?
Ackland: Warren is part of a beautiful valley wonderfully identified by its geography. The beauty of The Valley has brought many interesting and different people to live in Warren. These people are the reason it is a wonderful place to live.
Behn: The attributes are too numerous to count, but top of the list for me would be: natural beauty, independent spirit of the people, a size that allows for anyone, including me, to have a voice and vote when it comes to the future of our home.
Corrigan: Warren is a place of community, representing an ideal way of life, which values our citizenry, our environment, access to education, recreation and the arts. In Warren, friendships cross generations, kids are valued members of the community and art lives and breathes in everything we do, from traffic calming to parades and music in the streets. We are blessed to be surrounded by pristine wilderness, clean rivers, starry nights and a vibrant community filled with farmers, tradespeople, professionals, artists and more. Now we must work to maintain this reality through the pressures of climate change, immigration, wage gaps and inflation.
Cunningham: Warren, VT, is the heart of The Valley.