With the campaign season for local offices ramping up, Tracey Delphia has declared that she’s running for the only open three-year seat on the Town of Essex Selectboard.
There is also a one-year seat available that will complete the three-year term vacated by Annie Cooper last April and taken over by Dawn Hill-Fleury for the remainder of its second year -- which Delphia applied for back in June.
Delphia lived in Essex for a short time following her 2002 college graduation and then moved back to town in 2017 upon meeting her now-husband. She’s currently an elected justice of the peace for Essex and is an appointed member of the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, serving as its clerk. Before moving to Essex, Delphia was on South Burlington’s Planning Commission and a justice of the peace for the city.
Professionally, the selectboard candidate is an information and technology manager with the State of Vermont, and she’s also a certified public manager. In her 15 years working for the state, Delphia has been actively involved with the Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA), even serving as a member of its board of trustees as well as on the Non-Management Unit Bargaining Team for some time.
“I have always been involved,” Delphia said about her decision to run for the selectboard. “Growing up, my father was a volunteer firefighter; he was a member of our town council where I grew up. I've always felt strongly in service above self -- always wanted to give back to the community, like when I was on student government in college for the student body. I’ve just always wanted to serve. I've dipped my toes into the municipal water so to speak, and I just feel this is the next step.”
Q: What do you hope to accomplish if elected to the selectboard?
A: “I’m hoping for increased transparency and more involvement by citizens in their government. I would really like to see more activity, more communication, and more people wanting to give their input and collaborate on problem solving.”
Q: Do you have ideas as to how you would try to make that happen?
A: “My first idea is: we're having virtual meetings due to COVID right now; it was kind of a forced situation, but I really hope that we can continue to offer that as an avenue for people to participate in local government. I use the example of: if I was a single parent on one income, would I have the capability of paying a babysitter for hours multiple times a month to be forced to go to town hall to participate in a meeting? I think it's just right [to offer a virtual option]; it opens the door for more participation -- to allow folks to continue to participate and interact with their municipal representatives through that virtual forum.”
Q: How long have you been thinking about running for the selectboard?
A: “When I first moved to Essex, I wanted to get involved, but I wanted to familiarize myself with the people, the layout, topics at hand, the municipal structure. So I held off. In 2018, I was accepted into the Vermont Certified Public Manager program, which is 300 course hours spread over two years and took a lot of time. I would have run last year in 2020, however, I was just starting off on my capstone -- my final project for that program -- and I knew that I couldn't dedicate the time needed in order to do the position service.”
Q: What is it about Essex that you love and keeps you here?
A: “My husband, my stepdaughter. But what keeps me here, and what will keep me here after my stepdaughter graduates from school, is: I love the mix of the downtown and the rural. I love the ability to live in a rural area but be where I need to shop, where I need to go get my haircut, all within five to 10 minutes.”
Delphia will be going up against at least one challenger for the three-year seat as sitting selectboard member Elaine Haney has said she’s running for re-election as well.