John Langhus—Candidate for Norwich Selectboard
"We deserve a town government that reflects all that is best about Norwich."
I am running for the 2-year vacant seat on the Norwich Selectboard. I think we deserve a town government that reflects all that is best about Norwich. That works in harmony to the extent possible, and at the very least with mutual respect. That greets our new Town Manager with the expectation that he or she will be our best one yet, and then does everything in its power to make that true. That modernizes the way that we do business, so that more people can access government more easily. I have spent my entire life building relationships and working in teams. Teams that don’t always agree but that have to cooperate and reach decisions to pursue common goals. And most importantly, teams that will be coming together again, week after week, month after month and making further decisions together. That task cannot be taken lightly. It is what makes democracy work. It is the difference between forcing majority will and reaching collective agreement. Between building a place where people are horrified at the prospect of running for Selectboard and building one where people are happy to serve and enjoy doing so.
I moved here in 2013 with my wife Jenn and our sons Gunnar and Gideon. We traveled the country looking for the right place for our family, and visited our dear friends Pam and Bill Miles in Norwich along the way. The decision was an easy one. Two months later we had moved from Cape Town, South Africa back to the US and had bought Morano Gelato in Hanover with the Miles family. In addition to this partnership, I began working with Norwich Technologies, one of our three local solar energy companies, developing solar energy projects in VT and NH. We joined the Norwich Congregational Church, played in the Christmas Revels and Gunnar tried out almost every rec league sport on offer.
We were drawn to Norwich, a place where we knew almost no one, by several things: A cultural setting with music, art and theater all well beyond what a small town can normally offer; A thriving school system; a functional town center, with people walking about and visiting local stores, rather than driving by on their way to some big box store; and a functional small town democracy, where citizens are still accountable to one another for their mutual well-being, the nurturing of their children and the preservation of their quality of life. Nowhere had we seen such a great balance of all of the things we valued most. We are proud and grateful to be a part of this community
The key policy issues that I see facing us at the moment is the tension between amenities wanted by townspeople and their cost in terms of tax burden; the proposed zoning changes that have been suggested by the town Planning Commission; whether to promote a new Norwich Pool; and how to make the arrival of a new Town Manager as successful as possible.
I bring 20 years of experience in business and non-profit leadership to this endeavor. I am equally comfortable studying budgets and making difficult personnel decisions. I seek to be fair-minded and open-minded. Mostly, I am excited to give back to a town that has already given me and my family so much. I hope to have your vote, but regardless, look forward to seeing you around town!