Bennington Select Board candidate has felony DUI conviction
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | March 02,2013
BENNINGTON — One of the candidates for Select Board in Bennington, Peter J. Brady, has a felony conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol from 2009 but said this week he takes responsibility for his actions and believes he has changed since then.
Brady, 50, was cited for the felony charge in March 2009. A police report at the time said he was stopped because his vehicle had a broken taillight and he was “creeping through the red light.”
Brady’s blood alcohol content was tested at 0.169 percent. The legal limit in Vermont is 0.08 percent.
The charge was a felony based on previous convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol in March 1989 and September 2004.
In July 2009, Brady pleaded guilty to the charge. He was sentenced to 12 to 24 months in prison with all of that time except for four days suspended. Brady was satisfactorily discharged from probation in September 2010.
According to the director of elections at the secretary of state’s office, being a convicted felon does not prevent a candidate from running, being elected or serving in elected office.
On Tuesday, Brady said the arrest came at a dark time in his life after he had lost three family members and had another family member experience a serious health crisis.
Brady said he believes most voters know about the difficult times in his life and his criminal convictions.
“I went through a really hard time and I was using it to self-medicate. I think people will forgive me for that ... I didn’t handle it well at the time but I’m back and I’m ready to continue life,” he said.
As a Select Board member, Brady would have some oversight of the Bennington Police Department and some control over liquor licenses, which the Bennington Select Board approves for Bennington and North Bennington. After some time and having received treatment, Brady said he believes he would be able to handle that responsibility.
As someone who went through substance abuse, Brady said the experience had “opened his eyes” to some of the problems people in Bennington might be going through and the importance of programs offered by agencies like United Counseling Services.
While he said his experiences were very public and embarrassing, he said he thought he was now a better person for them.
Brady, who has never served on the Select Board before, is running for one of three open three-year seats on the board. All members are elected at-large so the three who get the most votes will win the seats from a field that also includes incumbent Sharyn Brush and Mike Bethel, Thomas H. Jacobs, John McFadden, Charles R. “Chuck” Putney and Eugene “Gene” Rowley.
Brady served two terms in the Vermont House of Representatives, representing Bennington, and sat on other public service boards.