I write today to urge Ward 1 voters to re-elect Sue Higby to the Barre City Council.

Sue and I were both elected to the council in 2017, and I was excited to work with her from day one. Over the last two years, Sue has been an incredible friend and colleague. While I value my other colleagues on the council, Sue has proven to me time and time again that her integrity, dedication to Barre and willingness to collaborate with anyone and everyone is unmatched.

Sue has spearheaded many projects in her short time on the council. She has worked on everything from crafting strategic city policies, to being the brains behind projects like 2020 Vision for Barre (tackling the issue of vacant and blighted properties in our neighborhoods and downtown) and our downtown holiday parking fundraising efforts. Sue’s efforts have all had, or will have, direct financial benefit for the city and our taxpayers. She is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known, and we are so lucky that she puts that energy and drive into making a better Barre that works for everyone.

Sue is fiscally-minded, always working to make the best use of your precious tax dollars. During budget discussions, Sue was responsible for a majority of the cost-savings proposals that were eventually adopted by the council. Sue is laser-focused on making sure we are spending our limited resources in a strategic and efficient way, and she understands that our taxpayers can’t be viewed as an ATM.

Sue may not be the most well-liked councilor among those who think that Barre doesn’t need to invest in its neighborhoods, advocate for people over special interests, or promote transparency and trust in our local government. It’s troubling to think that some of the city’s most powerful insiders recruited an opponent to run against her, and speaks to the challenge that Sue’s hard work poses to those seeking to maintain the status quo. Her opponent claims to be running to bring more civility to the council, though I have a difficult time trusting in promises of civility from a candidate who spent thousands of dollars on attack ads against his opponent not much longer than three months ago. Voters should not allow candidates to misconstrue respectful disagreement with a lack of civility — the city thrives when multiple perspectives and voices are at the table, not when it is dominated by a group of councilors who share the same viewpoint and operate in lockstep.

It is critical to our city’s future that Barre re-elects Sue Higby to the City Council. She puts Barre first in all of her efforts, and she has earned your vote. If you send her back to the council, I guarantee that our great city’s horizon will only be brighter.

Brandon Batham lives in Barre City. He is a city councilor.

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