WINDSOR, Vt. — On February 21, 2023, the town of Windsor held a forum to extend the opportunity to get to know some of the candidates running for selectboard seats in the coming election. Moderator and Windsor resident Bredan D’Angelo prompted the three candidates with prepared questions prior to opening up the conversation to the community.
A contested two-year seat is being sought by both Emma Caffrey and Tom DeMasi, while a three-year seat is seeing current selectboard member Jeffrey Johnson run unopposed. Johnson has served two terms on the selectboard and stated that her experience will offer a level of continuity that will help the town of Windsor moving forward.
D’Angelo asked candidates if they had any specific goals in mind that they would like to achieve while serving on the board. Johnson stated that she has no agenda and will be interested in hearing what the people have to say. She voiced that she wanted to be certain that she responds to any questions the public may have. DeMasi stated that he was particularly interested in the recreation center and what it offers, and has hopes to bolster the facility. Caffrey stated that she hopes to address the Windsor Loop and ensure that it is safe, in an effort to encourage foot traffic. In addition, she expressed a desire to encourage community arts in the town.
On economic issues, such as empty storefronts and affordable housing projects like Central and Main, each candidate was in agreement. They concurred that, while the economic strains on the town won’t be solved overnight, there are creative ideas that could be beneficial. In regard to empty storefronts, Caffrey spoke to the possibility of pop up businesses that may be able to stay long term if they found success. He cited examples of this in Woodstock. DeMasi encouraged listeners not to consider empty storefronts as the signifier of economic downturn that they have been in the past. She suggested brainstorming creative options.
Last year the Windsor selectboard was met with the request of dedicating a pride tree to the LGBTQ+ community. This was voted down, as some members were concerned that it would be a divisive issue in the community. Candidates were asked if they believed that decision was either right or wrong and why.
DeMasi stated, “As a gay man myself I don’t understand the pride tree. It’s a tree. Anyone can plant a tree. I don’t like the identity politics. I feel pandered to, and it hurts my feelings a bit.” He continued, “Pride doesn’t grow on trees, so let’s find a healthier way.”
Caffrey stated she would be in favor of something like a pride tree in an effort to showcase what the town believes in.
“To speak plainly, I am a queer woman. I have dealt with what that can mean. It can mean it’s scary. I think that the pride tree isn’t necessarily anything other than showing what the town believes in. I think the show of support is good for any community,” Caffrey said to the audience at the meeting.
One community member and former selectboard member, Chris Goulet, posed a question specifically for DeMasi when he produced a photograph that he stated was a photo of DeMasi at the 2021 Capitol Building insurrection.
“This is a picture of you, Tom DeMasi, participating in the Capitol insurrection on January 6 2021,” Goulet said while holding a printed copy of the photograph.
“I was not participating. That’s about 2100 feet from the gate at the Capitol Building,” DeMasi replied.
“You are standing next to a man in a plate carrier and a helmet that can take a 9mm bullet. There are people scaling the walls around you,” said Goulet.
“They’re not around me. They’re a quarter mile from me; if you look where the fence is, I was not even close to it,” DeMasi argued.
Goulet then asked DeMasi if he would peacefully accept the results of this election.
“That is so petty. That is so petty–of course I would. Are you?” DeMasi responded.
DeMasi elaborated after audience outcry, stating, “I want to reiterate that I was not even close to the property. If you look at the photo close up the wall is very far behind. The people that did commit crimes that day were arrested as they should have been. They were charged as they should have been–they are in prison as they should have been. I did not touch anyone; I was there mostly out of curiosity. I work in Washington D.C all the time. I’m an engineer. I’m a contractor for the federal government. If I were a danger, then I would not be a contractor for the federal government. They watch me like a hawk. I have an absolutely clean criminal record. I’ve never hurt anyone in my life. Again, I was not even close to what was going on. There was no plan for that to happen. I saw things that were going on that were not kosher and I walked away. I don’t feel guilty at all about any of it. I understand it’s a bad look. I have a cigarette in my mouth–terrible. If you have pictures of me actually committing a crime then you should bring them here and we can take a look at them and go from there. I did nothing wrong. I’m in Washington DC all the time.”
The Windsor school board forum is scheduled for Thursday, February 23, at 6:30pm in the Windsor selectboard room.
Gould's attack on DeMasi fit the definition of malicious slander. It was obvious by the expression on Caffrey's face that she was in on it in an attempt to discredit DeMasi. If she was indeed a participant, it should disqualify her from running or serving on a board that manages a 6 million dollar budget. Watch the video beginning at minute 54 on Vimeo. The link https://vimeo.com/801308455?fbclid=IwAR2mBIZuLnRjmn-QJPxmI2-CpeISuqKvBFuH_1VCF0-x0GIXomo5Q4zUlPo
I noticed her body language and smirk once Chris stepped up. She absolutely knew what he was about to do. If she wasn’t behind it she was still aware of it. I didn’t see other candidates stopping to that level. Tom was right, PETTY indeed
Tom was also very well spoken and handled the attack on him much more dignified than I’ve seen other candidates handle even slight criticism. The childish attack was uncalled for. They could have just brought it up if it was a concern. But they wasted paper and ink because SOMEONE has a vendetta. it was an obvious dog pile to try and make Tom squirm. If that’s all they have then it ain’t much *shrug*
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