Beth Barnes, candidate for Newport Mayor shares her vision

3 mins read

I am a proud candidate for the office of Mayor.   I have been a homeowner on the west side of Newport and now on the east side, and I value both neighborhoods.  Like Newport they have charm, diversity and walkability.   It’s true that I’ve never been a mayor so I know little about the procedural requirements, but I can learn.  I bring enthusiasm and a genuine love and appreciation for this beautiful place we call home. 

I am a listener and every voice matters.  We live in a fast and furious world where technology rules the day, but technology isn’t always the answer.   Sometimes the answer is found in the slow lane, around a table, over coffee, over conversation and over time.   Respect, reason and response are three “R’s” that are foundational.   Everyone with questions or concerns will be welcome in the council chambers and treated with respect and worth.   I’m a connector and like bringing the right people to the table to work toward solutions, and economic growth. I will be elected to serve you and I will insist that the entire fabric of our city services and governance adhere to the three “R’s” while working together.

My vision is to see Newport shine like the star it truly is.  Sometimes I feel like we are stuck in our chrysalis, ready to burst forth into a beautiful butterfly, but we just stay put where it’s comfy and cozy inside.  We are situated on one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen.  Newport is truly unique because we share the lake with 175,000 Canadian neighbors.  Our neighbors like us, use the lake for recreation, fishing and tourism but there is one big difference, they also depend upon it for drinking water, a very symbiotic relationship because the water flows north, from us to them.

It is our responsibility as citizens and good neighbors who use the lake to demand that our waters remain clean, toxin free and safe for all who use it.  I will help promote Newport as “the” place to celebrate and recreate!  

We are a small town with great assets and potential.  We also have obstacles.  Our geography adds to our being often overlooked by State government.  I will work hard to procure more State resources.  We need better transportation, we need to develop senior housing, we need to lift our neighbors when they can’t make it alone.  We need improved childcare.  We also need to build positive self-confidence in our youth as they prepare to explore the world, but also give them reasons to want to come back home.

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These issues are big and the solutions are bigger than I.  So, I have a few ideas about where I’d like to start as Mayor in addition to the basic values I’ve already touched on, they are:

  • Be welcoming.  As Mayor I will extend the welcome mat to all, including our Canadian neighbors.
  • We have a hole in the middle of Main Street that needs to be developed.  This should be a priority and we should see it as an opportunity to enhance our economy and to beautify our downtown.
  • Teach our kids to walk to school.  We have a safe infrastructure in most neighborhoods so let’s start another walk to school program.  I did it once as a member of VT Safe Routes to School Program, hand-in-hand with the VT Department of Health and it was a big success.  It’s true, kids that start their day with exercise for their body find it easier to exercise their brain in the classroom.  
  • Let’s find ways to keep our aging family members IN Newport.  This is a time to draw close, not be torn apart.
  • Lastly, we do not deserve to live in the shadow of the State’s only landfill which receives trash from the rest of Vermont as well as 20% from out-of-state.  It is perched dangerously close to our most precious asset, and economic driver, Lake Memphremagog.  As Mayor I will work with others to eventually see it closed.

Newport is not my birth home but it is the place I’ve chosen to call home.  I am engaged in the community and committed to making it “that” place where people visit and say, “Wow, I can’t wait to come back.”  

I will be here to welcome them.

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