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Montpelier’s Cemetery Commissioner Race

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By Cassandra Hemenway

Three people are running for two Cemetery Commission seats in Montpelier. The functions of the city’s five-member commission include all aspects of the management and operations of the city’s two historic burial grounds, the Elm Street Cemetery and the Green Mount Cemetery. Running are incumbent Jake Brown, Therese Mageau, and Kurt Kuehl.

Therese Mageau

Why are you running for Cemetery Commission?

Cemeteries are a community treasure that deserve our care. Not only do they house the remains and memories of our loved ones, they are repositories of a community’s history. In the case of central Vermont cemeteries, they serve as open-air museums to some of the country’s finest granite artwork. I want to support the commission in its preservation of our families’ memories and our historic assets as well as support its 21st century, climate-friendly practices.

What do you bring to the role of Cemetery Commissioner?

I currently serve as the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the T.W. Wood Gallery, another Montpelier gem. So I would bring to the role of commissioner experience in preserving, protecting, and promoting a local historic jewel. I also have a professional background as a writer and editor, and I could be instrumental to the commission in helping educate the public about the cemeteries’ move toward more Earth-friendly internment and grounds-upkeep practices.

What will your priority be as a Cemetery Commissioner?

My main priority as Cemetery Commissioner would be to learn about the major issues facing the Commission and to support the Commission in achieving its goals. I would not walk into the position with an agenda. 

Jake Brown

Why are you running for Cemetery Commission?

I am honored to be able to serve our community in this capacity, to represent not only the families who have members buried in the city’s cemeteries, but also the Montpelier community as a whole, in acting as a steward for these beautiful, tranquil, and historic resources.

What do you bring to the role of Cemetery Commissioner?

I’d like to think I bring a collaborative and accessible approach to this role. If elected, this would be my third five-year term, so I would provide some institutional knowledge as well.

What will your priority be as Cemetery Commissioner?

I have several priorities: one, to carefully manage our perpetual care fund (which is not funded by taxpayers) so that it continues to grow and help supplement the city’s support of our operations. Second, to embrace the evolving demand for cemetery services including the increased interest in natural burials and the use of more modern, less-polluting equipment at the cemetery. Third, I would like more people to visit our cemeteries! Please contact me at jakebrown2301@gmail.com if you (or you and a group of friends or a church, school, or civic organization) would like a tour of these special places. Finally — thank you for your engagement and for voting at City Meeting.

Kurt Kuehl

Why are you running for Cemetery Commission?

I am running for the Cemetery Commission because I read a post from the commission chair, Jake Brown, seeking candidates to serve the two-year balance of a vacant seat. After speaking with Mr. Brown and learning about the commission, I felt that the open seat provided an opportunity for me to give back and contribute to our community. 

What do you bring to the role of Cemetery Commissioner?

I can contribute the experience I have gained in my career working for and with public and private boards and commissions, as well as an understanding and appreciation of the duties and responsibilities of public service. I also bring my experience of having worked in cemeteries and the general knowledge of cemetery operations I gained from that work.

What will your priority be as Cemetery Commissioner?

As a cemetery commissioner, my priority would be to provide responsible stewardship of our cemeteries and the commission’s budget to ensure that our cemeteries are financially sound and respectfully well-maintained to serve the needs of the community.

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