Humphrey plans more active role
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | February 28,2014
Alderwoman Melinda Humphrey was relatively quiet during her first year in office, but she says that will change.
“I was kind of taking it all in, learning the language, so to speak,” the 32-year-old said. “Everything kind of came together for me when we hit budget season. I hope to have more of a voice and be more active in procedings this year.”
Humphrey is running for the remaining year of the two-year term vacated by Charles Romeo when he became city attorney. While several of her fellow aldermen are in an eight-way race for five seats, Humphrey is running unopposed — though Dan White has offered himself as a write-in alternative.
A renewable energy customer liason at Green Mountain Power and a youth hockey coach, Humphrey fell just short of earning a seat on the board in the last election and was appointed by Mayor Christopher Louras when Romeo resigned.
“I was involved in the community in a lot of ways, but not at the legislative level,” she said. “I didn’t know what the board did, what our role was. That’s one of the reasons I want to encourage public engagement, so people understand how the city works.”
In fact, Humphrey said one of her priorities in the coming year will be to promote public engagement with the board because she believes that will contribute to the board’s ability to address the various challenges before the city.
Humphrey said when more members of the public have attended aldermanic committee meetings, the meetings have had more energy and more ideas have emerged from them. She said she encourages other members of community groups with which she is involved to come to board meetings and discuss not just their gripes, but what they are happy about.
“As a board of aldermen, we need to hear things people like, things people have had successes with, as well as the things they don’t like,” she said.