To the editor: Lisa Rufa on her race for Chester Select Board

I was unable to attend the Candidates Night, however I would like to answer the questions so voters can read my position on the issues that affect Chester.

Question 1: Why do you want to serve on the Chester Select Board?

I would like to serve on the Select Board because like so many in town, I have concerns about our increasing taxes, our lack of business development and our lack of affordable housing. Chester has been a place that I have called home for 20 years, while raising my three children and I believe it is time that I give back to the community that has continued to support me. I feel I would be a strong candidate on the select board with the ability to think independently while believing in fiscal conservatism.

Question 2: How have you prepared for this role?

Life experience has simply prepared me for this role. Several phases of my life have allowed me to experience happiness, joy, grief, difficulty and the need to problem solve. I have previous experience in education and a counselor, where I was able to develop leadership and organizational skills. For several years I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mother for my children, this allowed me to become more involved in the school systems and surrounding town organizations. When I moved to Vermont, I went through an abrupt lifestyle change and I worked several jobs to support my family, this took on a new perspective in my life that required patience, balance and adapting as needed. These experiences led me to open a business in 2017 to support my family and lifestyle. I have always been a passionate gardener and wanted to share that joy with others. Building a business required a lot of ground work and development of new skills. These life experiences have prepared me to bring a fresh perspective to the Select Board.

Question 3: What do you see is the biggest issue facing Chester? How would you resolve that issue?

There are many issues that contribute to our high taxes and unaffordable housing in town. An increase in business development would benefit our current town members and perspective families looking to move to the area. As long as we remain a negative growth community, we, the people will be paying the lion’s share of taxes. We also need to develop affordable housing for young families. Our younger generation is the building block for our town’s success, our small businesses struggle with employment due to the lack of affordable housing. This directly affects the bottom line of many small businesses in town

Question 4: If elected, how would you work to help the business community in Chester? How would you work to promote Economic Development in our town?

We want to promote shopping, eating and support local companies to our vacationers as well as locals in the community. When we spend money at local businesses, 80% of money that is spent in town, stays in town. For example: The waitress may buy something for lunch at Smitty’s and in turn the employee that works there may buy gas in town. And it goes on. We attract people to vacation here, it is time to attract those people to spend their money in Chester instead of going to other towns. We need to find the balance between a quiet, charming rural town and a popular place to shop and eat. We need to promote tourism while also keeping the locals informed about what’s going on in town. What about a Facebook page “what to do in Chester” that our Chester Business Coalition  or Chamber of Commerce monitors? Pop up weekends are awesome, let’s promote that and maybe let’s do pop up lunches on The Green during summer and fall. Work with the restaurants in town to promote local specials during the slow seasons. Promote our wonderful system of hiking trails and our recreation department. If people are here enjoying the outdoor actives, let’s keep them here to buy lunch and shop.

Question 5: With the rising costs due to inflation and the municipal building budget getting tighter, how would you balance community growth with neutralizing tax increases?

We could do this by simply keeping money in town. Promote business to be both a destination place and a place for locals to shop. This can be done without losing the charm of Chester by creating opportunities for our locals to shop in town. When you spend your dollars at a local business, your dollar recirculates through your local economy 2-4 times more than money spent at a non-local store.

I want to thank the community for their support

Lisa Rufa
Candidate for Select Board

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