Why I'm Running

Charlene Perkins Cutler


Why I am Running for First Selectman

Charlene Perkins Cutler

My decision to run for First Selectman of Woodstock comes from a strong conviction that those who benefit from living in a community carry a responsibility to serve that community. I have previously served as a volunteer on the Land Use Study Committee, Land Use Board of Appeals, What-the Heck-to-Do-With-the-Old-Town-Hall Committee, and now on the Board of Finance. After a long career in administration, I feel this is the right time to offer my service as First Selectman.

I grew up in Pomfret. My Dad ran for everything over the years (Boards of Selectmen, Finance, Education, and IWWC). As kids we were told that Dad’s service was because our family benefited from living in such a wonderful town and it was our obligation to give back in whatever way we could. Many years later I married a man who spent 43 years of his life in public service, beginning with federal and state, and ending in municipal government. Our dinner table conversation always included some element of government or community service. Doug and I raised our two sons here and they went through K-12 grades in our school system. We tried to instill the importance of knowing your government in our kids. I am very thankful for my life of 50 years in this beautiful town.

Tragedy hit our family when Doug died suddenly 5 years ago. The people of Woodstock closed around us in a layer of protection, sustaining us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was our neighbors who yanked us back from the abyss of grief and pushed us along a path of healing.

I can never repay that gift of empathy and kindness. But I believe that I have experience and abilities that can serve Woodstock at this point in time. For decades I have worked in nonprofit (NPO) management. NPOs and town governments are very similar - each operating to serve a mission or a population and not to gain profit, and invariably operating with limited resources. The elements of organization, inter-departmental function, human resource management, financial accountability, legal compliance, public relations, and program/service development and delivery are the same. I have built complex partnerships among municipalities, NPOs, state and federal agencies to complete projects like the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center in Worcester. Limited resources always meant that projects had to be completed on time and on budget. My experience also includes serving on many state and regional committees/commissions, giving me a unique perspective that would be beneficial to our town.

I promise I will work hard every day on behalf of my fellow Woodstockians. I will listen to everyone. I will respond to everyone. I will find answers to questions. I will do the necessary research on the scope of any problem before proposing solutions. It would be my privilege to serve my town as First Selectman. I would greatly appreciate your vote on November 2nd.