Some FAQs about my candidacy
Why do you believe you are qualified to serve on the Board of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society?
My interest in democratizing and localizing the economy has led me to immerse myself in cooperatives for the past 15 years, beginning with a decade-long stint on the Board of the Co-op from 2003 to 2013. I’ve previously been the Board’s president, vice-president and treasurer. I’ve served on the board of the Cooperative Fund of New England – a key player in building the region’s cooperative movement – and as the result of running last year I was elected to serve a one-year term, which is nearing its end.
I'm a lawyer -- if elected, I'd be the only one on the board. They're good to have around in such settings.
What is your vision for the future of our Co-op? What short-term AND long-term challenges does your vision help to address?
Our 82-year legacy of member trust is the Co-op’s most precious asset; in an increasingly competitive retail grocery environment, it is the one thing the supermarkets can never steal or replicate. We must continue to earn the trust of our members by proving we are different than investor-owned competition, and to do it we must pay particular attention to the fifth of the seven Cooperative Principles: Education, Training and Information. We must not be afraid to tell members everything they want and need to know about the grocery business, our workplaces, and the way we buy at wholesale and sell at retail on their behalf.
Things I support include:
-- Re-inventing merchandising so we focus on being really honest with shoppers rather than manipulating them into buying stuff the way the supermarket chains do.
-- Exploring the possibility of becoming a "solidarity" co-op (half owned by consumers and half owned by employees) and doing other things to make sure the Co-op is the best workplace in the Upper Valley.
-- Moving boldly into the energy realm, because consumers need a trusted agent to offer them stuff like community solar, energy efficiency, electricity deals (in New Hampshire, because of deregulation), household energy management, and other stuff you can't get from Liberty or Green Mountain Power
-- Keeping the Co-op Community Market on Lyme Road open and thriving.
-- Transparency, so the members understand what the Board and the Co-op are up to.
-- Ed Fox, our new general manager, and his management team. They've earned the trust of the Board!
The work of the board is not operational. How will you stay focused on the larger visions without being distracted by the day to day operations of the co-op?
I respectfully disagree with the premise of the question. The work of the Board is “operational” because the Board is ultimately responsible for every aspect of the Co-op. Board members must make wise choices about how much specific guidance to provide to the management team. That wisdom comes from experience, which means Board members should learn as much as they can about how the Co-op really works. Fortified with that knowledge, I would use my seat on the Board to give management the discretion it earns while holding management accountable for the choices it makes.
In other words, we need a Board with courage! Sometimes it's the courage to act boldly, and other times it's the courage to take no action when there are people are clamoring for change.
Do you have other questions you would like to see discussed in connection with the election? Please reach out to me! And of course don't forget to vote between April 1 and April 30 -- you can vote on line at mycoopvote.com.