Thoughts: 8-Town School District Merger
Thoughts: November11, 2023
Thoughts: September 9, 2023
Thoughts: August 9, 2023
Thoughts: July 23, 2023
Thoughts: July 7, 2023
Thoughts: June 16, 2023
Thoughts: May 28, 2023
My Closing Statement
at Saturday's debate
I say to you: when it comes to this town, this oasis of community and beauty and tranquility, we control our destiny. Whether you are our oldest voter at 102, or our youngest at 18, we all are the future. You get to make the choices to determine what direction this town takes.
You are empowered to choose community. You are empowered to protect our neighborhoods. You are empowered to preserve and protect the character of Stockbridge.
I urge you, don’t accept that we can do nothing to counter the forces of the market. Don’t accept as inevitable the idea that our elderly neighbors are on their own. Don’t accept the cynical and defeatist notion, often lately repeated, that “that ship has sailed,” not when it comes to the needs of your children and your grandchildren and others like them to live their lives in the town of our predecessors. The ship does not choose the course it sails; people do. It matters who is at the helm.
You know, it’s always easier to do nothing, to let the garden go to seed. I stand for the hard work it takes, to do whatever it takes, to make this garden bloom. I say yes to the ideals that have guided this town for 300 years. I say yes to hope. Please join me and embrace with optimism our future’s potential.
A record of strong leadership for Stockbridge
Hello. My name is Patrick White and I am running to continue to serve as your Stockbridge Selectman.
First, a little about me. I live on Hawthorne St. over by Tanglewood in the house my parents purchased in 1960. I am a guy who grew up in Stockbridge and am grateful for that experience. I am a hard worker and an optimist. I own a small business that provides communications services. I also am the Chief Financial Officer for Berkshire Waldorf High School on Pine St. in Stockbridge, where I am in charge of budgeting, finance and business affairs for the school. I've founded several start-up businesses funded by venture capital and have spent a career accountable to boards and investors.
My parents arrived in 1957, when my dad got out of the Army. Three years later, they were able to buy a house in Stockbridge. He had an entry-level job at GE while my mom worked at Music Inn and Wheatleigh. In Stockbridge, they would build lifelong friendships with locals and seasonal residents alike. My mom volunteered at the tourist information booth on Main Street. My dad coached high school hockey and one of our little league teams. I attended the Plain School and graduated from Monument Mountain in 1980, as did my brother Michael (1979) and my sister Kathy (1985).
You may know me from the years I spent volunteering at the Swap Shop, or the time I spent running the book sale at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, or the years I spent as Treasurer and then Vice President of the Laurel Hill Association, or from my work as the CFO, part of the leadership team at the Waldorf School that has grown to the point where we plan to renovate the Old Town Hall, giving it a new life as a high school for up to 80 teenagers.
My vision for Stockbridge
I am running for reelection to demonstrate what we can accomplish when we work hard and with resolve in service of something larger than ourselves.
At the heart of the Stockbridge story, there is a balance between a diverse population with disparate needs. I reject zero-sum thinking where more for one means less for another. I embrace the traditions that guided us and helped us maintain that balance.
It’s always easier to do nothing, to let the garden go to seed. I run to reassure the skeptical, to give hope to the cynical, to demonstrate to all what we can accomplish if we work hard and with resolve in service of something larger than ourselves.
Three years of work on your behalf
To preserve the beauty of Stockbridge:
- I worked to identify the dying old-growth trees at Ice Glen and took action to save them.
- I proposed successfully that the Agricultural and Forestry Commission and the Kampoosa Bog Stewardship Commission be revived and personally recruited many of their members.
- I submitted an application on behalf of Stockbridge and the AFC for the Ice Glen project. The town won the Kenneth E. Pickard Municipal Innovation Award from the MMA, the first Berkshire town in ten years to receive this state-level distinction.
- I proposed the addition of a Conservation Agent to last year's town budget to assist our Conservation Commission and our Planning Board.
- I pushed to get our infrastructure fixed — no more delays.
- I shepherded the renovations of both the Civil War Monument and the Chime Tower through Town Meeting, with repairs completed on the former and proceeding on the latter.
To work collaboratively for the best outcome:
- I work diligently on the regional school district merger committee to provide our children with the best possible schools, including a new vocational program, while reducing the school budget, the largest item in our town budget.
- I regularly attend meetings of our boards and commissions so I can be sure every town committee, board and commission knows that, as a Select Board member, I have their back.
- In addition to serving on our Select Board, I currently serve on Community Preservation, Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Commission, Regional School District Planning Board, Cemetery Commission, and our Affordable Housing Trust Fund. In the past, I also served on the Cultural Council and the Conservation Commission.
- I spent last summer visiting and speaking with all of the lake communities, over 500 folks, mostly seasonal residents. I enjoyed listening to their concerns and exchanging ideas.
- I work closely with surrounding towns' Select Boards, with our State Senator and State Representative, the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohicans, and others, because good ideas and partners come from many places.
- I've started conversations around sensible shared public safety services with Lee, and have expanded those preliminary discussions to include West Stockbridge, Great Barrington, Lenox and others.
- I worked both publicly and behind the scenes last year to save the Josh Billings race, efforts for which I was thanked by both the Josh board and the race director.
To protect the character of Stockbridge:
- I championed the creation of the Affordable Housing Trust to invest in Heaton Court and Pine Woods, while working with Habitat for Humanity to identify older homes that may fit their model of volunteer-driven renovation in our town.
- I championed the Residential Tax Exemption (RTE) to make it easier for first-time homebuyers to afford to live here, while protecting the ability of our elderly on fixed incomes so they won’t be pressured to sell by high taxes and inflation.
- When there wasn't support for RTE, I found another way to lower your taxes, proposing a town budget that controlled town costs, raised town income from other sources, and lowered property taxes for all.
Some of the lessons I learned as your Selectman over the past three years.
- Change is inevitable but it can be planned for and managed
- Problems are complex — a sound bite won’t solve them
- Solutions are not easy and sometimes call for pitching-in
- Together we can figure this out — let’s talk
- Leadership requires one to put forth ideas to address our short- and long-term challenges.
- I am a hard worker, consistent in my goals, and optimistic that good results can and will be achieved.
- I will support changing the name of the Board of Selectmen to Select Board in my next term.
My promises from three years agoWhen I first ran for Select Board, I introduced myself with the website you can view here. That web site is still up — click here. If you read it, you will see that I am consistent. For three years, I worked hard to accomplish the goals I stated and the promises I made. I have accomplished some — read on — and there is still more to do.
The Long Version
To read the long version of why I am running, click here.
Some of My Photos
Happy Easter. Happy Passover.
Checking out the renovation of the Milk Barn at Gould Meadows. Thanks to all the Gould volunteers!
Attending a ZBA meeting.
Canoeing on the Stockbridge Bowl.
Working with the Housatonic Valley Authority to inspect every culvert in Stockbridge. I co-managed the MVP grant on behalf of the town that led to funding for this effort.
Walking the Stockbridge Golf Course. How great that the SGC allows public access off-season.
I supported the Bear Bylaw. Not sure if this guy has read it, however.
A regular sighting on the Stockbridge Bowl!
The Butler Bridge. This is on my list of infrastructure to be evaluated this year so that we can ensure the long-term viability of this historic gem!
Found this on eBay and gave it to a Laurel Hill board member.
I've worked my entire term to strengthen our relationship with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans.
One of our new trucks at the Beach!
Watching them move the Agrippa Hull house. Thank you Kate and Hans Morris for your stewardship of this historic treasure!
What would Abe do?
Lock him up!
One of the first signs of a Stockbridge spring.
Having fun on Lily Pond.
Ice Glen is so special it made the cover of Smithsonian Magazine last year.
I worked behind the scenes to help ensure the Josh Billings was able to proceed last year.
I volunteered to run the harvester for a few seasons. So much fun!
This guy lives in my basement, so I suppose I have an ADU.
Attending town meeting as a selectman.
It's nice to have friends when you are down!
Stockbridge family circa 1969. And yes, my Dad was a better gardener.