My name is Sean Whalen. I live and farm in Weathersfield with my young family; and my name will be on the ballot this November as an Independent candidate to represent Cavendish and Weathersfield in the Vermont Legislature.
There were times when I was a kid that all my mom could afford to give my brothers and I for our noon meal was a margarine sandwich. In fall, Grandma Cook would send jars of her own pomegranate jelly to dress it up. At the time I also thought it was sort of gross that if the bread had a spot of mold on it, Mom would just pare it away: “Nothing wrong with a little mold.”
Well, now I understand. The times we are living through now are teaching us things that maybe we didn’t want to know. But if Grandma Cook were still alive, she’d remember the Depression times that taught our family to rely on homemade foods and not to be afraid of a little bit of mold. If my mother were still alive, she could teach a lot about keeping a small business going through hard times in Windsor County. I try to carry their wisdom with me and share it with my own kids.
I feel that there is so much opportunity now for our communities, state, and nation to learn new things, remember old things, and become stronger for it, just like the generation that lived through the Depression, World War II, and the struggles for equal rights. Much of that growth and change will be accomplished at the level of individual and family choices: how to be resourceful, keep our hearts up, and work together with our neighbors.
But to the extent that our local and state government can lead and help build the future, I feel that I can be useful. I don’t have any brilliant ideas or magic beans to save the day, but I read a lot, listen to VPR all day on my farm, and know how to work together with a team to serve the public. I’ve served Weathersfield for seven years, first on the Planning Commission, and now in my second term on the School Board. My colleagues there can tell you that I’m one to go along and get along whenever possible, and that I fight when I have to. For example, we kept Act 46 at bay in Weathersfield – while at the same time, the experience of negotiating that mess brought us closer to the other towns in our Supervisory Union. In many ways we came out stronger from the experience of that fight.
We’re all being humbled now by the changes we’re going through. So I think it’s necessary to come to the task of government with humility. As your Representative in Montpelier, I pledge to listen to colleagues, work with the governor, and do what I can to help. I also pledge to be compassionate but frugal with our money, just like Gov. Scott.
I look forward to meeting folks in both towns over the next few months and beyond. This district is our home. Let’s make the most of it.
Learn more at www.farmnewsvt.com.