Meet the Village candidates

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – The annual Bellows Falls Village meeting and election is Monday, June 15 and Tuesday, June 16, respectively. Elections will take place at the Bellows Falls Fire Department from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The following are candidates running in the election. For more information, go to www.rockinghamvt.org.

Jeff Dunbar grew up in Bellows Falls, graduating in 1991. He says, “Bellows Falls is a beautiful village with a lot to offer and has always been my home.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity to advance ourselves by promoting our wonderful assets, while sensibly responding to the challenges we face.”

Jeff is on the Take Action Rockingham task group to redevelop old buildings and says, “Development is essential to our future and economic vitality.” He describes himself as calm, analytical, conscientious, and engaged and comments, “It is essential to have competent and cooperative leadership at every level.”

Pat Fowler grew up in Queens and moved to Bellows Falls in 1999. Pat and her husband Alan bought the bookstore in 2000 and were named Chamber Persons of the Year in 2009.

Pat created the Third Friday Art walk, ran the Front Porch summer series, and is currently a Justice of the Peace, member of the Bellows Falls Women’s Club, and the treasurer of BFDDA, Rockingham Library, Rockingham Vermont Democrats, and Saxtons River 4th of July committee.

Pat shares, “I love the small town atmosphere. People in our community care about and look out for each other.”

Deborah Fox grew up in Vermont, returned to Bellows Falls in 2006, and bought a house this year in the village. She worked with Green Mountain Tours and her magazine, Vermont by Rail, highlights Amtrak spots. She says there is an opportunity in Bellows Falls for “staycation-ers.”

Deb has experience in local government, working as a trustee and superintendent of Public Works in Lyons, N.Y. and is excited to get back into it. She describes herself as “direct, honest, and a good listener” and is interested in sustainability and development.

Mary Fredette grew up in North Walpole and has lived in Bellows Falls since 2013. She has worked primarily in the healthcare field, which provided her with experience in finance and budget management, grant writing, and board development.

Mary says, “I love this community – nowhere else have I been holds tradition as importantly, nor displays such spirit with pride.”

“I want to help affect positive change…and am ready, willing and able to represent, advocate and support this community.”

Donna Harty is a 1967 BFUHS graduate and said Bellows Falls is where her husband Dennis and she wanted to raise their family. Both are very active here. Dennis spent years on both boards and Donna says, “We love everything about Bellows Falls.”

Donna’s career was at the Town Hall collecting money for the town and village. She has been the treasurer for about 10 years. She says, “It’s hard to give up what you’ve been doing for 34 years.”

Julie (James) Torres is a 1994 BFUHS graduate. She traveled to Spain in college, but says, “I always liked to come home.” She has worked as the spanish teacher at the high school for 20-plus years and also helps her father manage his laundromat. She says, “Bellows Falls is a beautiful town…this community tends to stick together.” Julie says she would “like to have a voice,” describing herself as logical and reasonable.

  Gary Lique, Trustee

Wade Masure is a 1980 BFUHS graduate and spent 21 years as a full-time member of the Bellows Falls Fire Department. For the last 10 years, he has been a volunteer on the Rockingham Fire Department. He has worked for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns since 2003, helping municipalities in southern Vermont control and reduce insurance costs.

Wade says, “I’ve had a long-standing interest in local government,” and wants to share what he has to offer. He has lived here his entire life and says,“It’s home.”

  Kathleen Neathawk, Village clerk

Paul Obuchowski is a 1973 BFUHS graduate. He moved to Westminster after marrying his wife Terry, where he served on the School Board for six years. They raised their family in Bellows Falls and said, “This is a community where if you have a tragedy or need support, all types of people step forward to help.”

He has served as a Justice of the Peace for over 40 years, the chief election official, and has been on both the Rockingham School and Library boards, also serving as village trustee for two years. He says, “I really enjoy doing this.”

Tim Powers, auditor

Village President Deborah Wright has been a Trustee since 2011 and says, “I continue to run because I believe my service and my strength is needed.” Originally from Portsmouth, N.H., Deborah and her husband Cass moved their business to Bellows Falls, buying their house in 2005.

She says, “Our conviction to this community is stronger than the adversity we have experienced…Bellows Falls has seen hell, in fire and flood, and it has survived… We can be stronger and better, together.”

Jonathan Wright has been a Trustee for two years. He says, “There is work still to do,” and lists post-COVID budget concerns, the ordinance review, and accountability to the municipal board as examples.

He grew up in Westminster West and has lived with his wife in their current house since 2007. Jonathan comments, “I love the community. The best part of Bellows Falls is the walkability of living here; it’s like a microcosm of an old inner city burrow.”

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