Write-in candidate in Barre appreciates support, urges civility and community involvement

Posted 10 November 2021 at 4:42 pm


First off, I want to thank everyone who exercised their right to vote. It’s one of the many great privileges we have in the United States.

Even though the outcome in the Town of Barre was not in our favor, it was a fantastic experience. Looking back, I would not do anything differently. My running mate, Tom Decker, and myself went out door to door and had many great conversations.

We were optimistic that we could discuss numerous ideas that could benefit the community, however that was not the case. The conversation largely centered around windmills. The encouraging part was that these conversations were not as divided as some would like you to believe. Regardless of their opinion of the wind farm, everyone was friendly and respectful.

Tom and I were able to gather great input from the residents and discuss future ideas. I informed the residents that should the project come up for another vote, I would abstain due to my “good neighbor” lease agreement. Some residents were told that I was running to protect the lease holder’s interest. While a majority of the leaseholders are good friends and/or former clients of my father, they were not my primary motivation for running.

The leaseholders, myself included, have our own contracts. They don’t need a representative on the Board to protect their interests. Their contracts are independent of the town’s negotiations. Others were told that the project can still be stopped.

Even though Tom and I believe in global warming and support green energy, our understanding was that the application was already in Albany and no further actions were required by the town. If the state does approve the project, (as is highly likely given NYS’s commitment to green power) we both believe you get more with sugar than salt.

We wanted to have a civil relationship with a business that was going to be in our backyard for years to come and to ensure the town got the best deal possible. This is the main reason Tom and I decided to run a write-in campaign. We wanted to protect the interests of everyone in the town regardless of the project. We believe there is more to Barre than windmills and lots of other areas need attention.

One thing is for sure though, along with good planning, all projects require revenue! Whether it be a new firehall, improved town park, affordable internet access, or improved infrastructure, they all require funds to pay for them. Tom and I were focused on ensuring that whatever the new project was, the revenue that came in was handled in a prudent manner to benefit all residents through capital improvements and/or lower taxes.

I realize some may view this letter as bitter grapes, and truthfully I was disappointed with the outcome. However, as I always tell my family, don’t give me a problem, give me a solution, and if you want to see change, you have to get involved. Tom and I did our best to run solely on our merits. We wanted to personally tell our story to as many residents as possible.

One thing I learned from entering the political arena, well two things, never let someone else tell your story (hence this letter) and never call into a radio station thinking it’s not political. I still believe that the best thing about Barre, NY is the neighbors. A good neighbor is priceless, and I am blessed to have many.

I truly hope that young adults like my running mate Tom Decker continue to get involved. They are the ones whose kids are going to inherit this world. I realize that change is intimidating, but as my boss used to tell me, “get on the train or get left behind because it is leaving the station with or without you.”

I have seen firsthand while campaigning how welcoming the residents of Barre can be. My hope is that this attitude can be maintained going forward. Green energy projects are not going away. While not perfect, they are necessary to make up for the continued depletion of natural resources. These green energy initiatives will continue to increase and improve over time, and we will all need to decide whether to get onboard or be left behind.

Thank you again to all those who voted and to all of those who continuously get involved to make the world a better place.


Steve Harling