Three vie for two Hanover Selectboard seats

From left, Hanover Selectboard candidates Kari Asmus, Jarett Berke and Joanna Whitcomb. (Courtesy photographs)

From left, Hanover Selectboard candidates Kari Asmus, Jarett Berke and Joanna Whitcomb. (Courtesy photographs)

Kari Asmus (Coutesy photograph)

Kari Asmus (Coutesy photograph) —

Jarett Berke (Courtesy photograph)

Jarett Berke (Courtesy photograph) Name here—Copyright 2018 Rob Strong

Joanna Whitcomb (Courtesy photograph)

Joanna Whitcomb (Courtesy photograph) —

By PATRICK ADRIAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 05-06-2024 5:01 PM

Modified: 05-06-2024 6:45 PM


HANOVER — Three people are vying for two three-year terms on the Hanover Selectboard in Town Meeting voting next week.

Voters will be asked to choose from a slate including Kari Asmus, Jarett Berke and incumbent Joanna Whitcomb, the acting Selectboard vice chairwoman.

Board member Nancy Carter, whose term is expiring, is not seeking reelection.

The candidates mentioned housing, downtown vibrancy and the cost of living as key priorities.

Asmus, 63, is a 25-year resident and serves as chairwoman of the town Finance Committee. She also is a former Hanover School Board member and trustee of the town trust fund.

Asmus said she takes a fact-based, research-driven approach to problem solving by learning government policies, weighing past outcomes and listening to other ideas and perspectives.

“A good Selectboard member needs to have a positive attitude, an open mind and the ability to think independently to make sure that the best ideas are on the table,” she said in an interview.

Solutions should pose minimal costs on taxpayers and use resources efficiently, she said.

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Berke, 42, is an 11-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps who has lived in Hanover for nine years. He owns Lou’s Restaurant and Bakery on Main Street and serves on the town Planning Board and Master Plan Committee.

“I interact with our community members on a daily basis and I (understand) the best attributes and the most frustrating aspects of visiting, living in, working in and doing business in our town,” Berke said in an interview.

Berke said he would like to see initiatives and policies to support the downtown business district, improving pedestrian and cyclist safety in traffic, expanding high-speed internet to the rural outskirts and land conservation practices that promote biodiversity.

Berke said he wants to help make Hanover a more affordable place to live with a vibrant downtown.

Whitcomb, 61, is seeking a fourth term on the board. She also has served on the Hanover Improvement Society Hanover Conservancy Lands Committee, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission and the Upper Valley Business Alliance. She is the director of campus planning at Dartmouth College and has lived in town for 30 years.

“I have a solid understanding of the town budget and how town and regional works,” Whitcomb said in an interview. “I understand that change takes time and dedication.”

Hanover’s biggest priorities are making the town more affordable and growing a more diverse community, Whitcomb said.

“Town government needs to help address the high cost of housing and child care and to help to create a vibrant community by investing in infrastructure and sustainability — safe sidewalks and roads, water and sewer, revised land use regulations and fast broadband internet,” Whitcomb said.

Candidates are running unopposed for positions of town moderator, Etna library trustee, trustee of town funds, supervisor of the checklist and three cemetery trustee seats.

The ballot also includes five questions pertaining to proposed zoning changes, including to allow a maximum building height of 55 feet in the downtown center — a 10 foot increase — and removing a regulation that restricts building’s maximum square footage.

Voting for officials and zoning changes will be held May 14 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hanover High School gymnasium on Tuesday. The results of the Selectboard election will be announced during the town’s business meeting, which will begin in the gym at 7 p.m.

Patrick Adrian may be reached at padrian@vnews.com or at 603-727-3216.