Stacey Mercure wears many hats—physical trainer, massage therapist, master figure pro, board member, yoga instructor, business-owner—the list continues.
Despite also being the brain (and muscle) behind Colchester Health and Fitness, Mercure doesn’t seem to sweat between roles. One of her mottos in business is to plan for your plan to change; roll with the punches. “Things may not always come out the way you want but you gotta be flexible. Literally,” she said laughing. “That’s where yoga comes in.”
This March, Mercure hopes to pick up another hat—as well as an empty seat—as the newest member of the Colchester selectboard. Three seats are up for reelection and only two incumbent members are running, leaving the third seat wide open.
“I definitely see both sides of the coin, as a resident and as a business owner,” Mercure told the Sun. With her experience as a business owner, a board member of the Colchester Community Development Corporation (CCDC) and a veteran of the service industry, Mercure hopes to add a fresh voice to local issues while revamping communication channels between town government and residents.
“We have to think long-term as a community: What’s going to be important to the community 20, 50 years from now? It’s going to change a million times so let’s come together with the best solution for everyone,” she said.
While Mercure seriously started to consider running about a month ago, the seat has been on her mind since last summer. According to Mercure, sitting members of the selectboard as well as Senator Richard Mazza suggested she consider running after former selectboard chair Nadine Scibek resigned her post. Ultimately, former chair of the Planning Commission Pam Loranger was appointed to Scibek’s vacant seat in August of 2019 and is running for reelection this March, but the position stayed in the back of her mind.
“It was a very big compliment,” said Mercure when her colleagues suggested she run. “I’m not that political of a person so this is a new platform for me. But I was recommended by people who I admire. That’s why I started thinking about it and it just kind of snowballed from there.”
Mercure was born and raised in the Green Mountain state. One hundred percent “Vermont made.” She has lived in Colchester for over 20 years and owned a small business for 13. “So I’ve paid my fair share of taxes,” she said smiling.
One of her favorite aspects of Colchester is the lake. As a selectboard candidate, water quality is on Mercure’s mind.
“Wastewater is an issue and I think it’s really going to be important to listen to what everyone has to say about it,” she said, regarding the Malletts Bay Initiative, one of the town’s most controversial topics relating to water quality in Lake Champlain. While Mercure did not support any specific solution, she emphasized the need to find a long-term solution.
“If we’re going to dig the roads up, how many times do we want to have to do that? Is that going to cost taxpayers more money?” she asked. “I think there needs to be a lot more education with what the town plans on doing. I think a lot of people hear, ‘increase in taxes,’ and that’s all they hear. We need to communicate better; we need to help people see both sides of the coin.”
As a veteran of the service industry, Mercure considers herself a top-notch listener. “There’s so many different types of people that communicate really differently. Being in the industry has helped me know people,” she said. In the political forum, Mercure considers listening and open-mindedness to be necessary.
Sitting on the board of CCDC has also bettered her listening and problem-solving skills. “When you sit on a board it’s not just you making decisions. You’re working together as a group and you’re able to get feedback from one another of the pros and cons; looking at the whole scenario, situation, whatever that may be,” said Mercure. As a business-owner she’s a veteran budgeter. And as a boot camp instructor, she’s not afraid of hard work.
“It’s just about doing your best,” she said smiling. “I’m excited and I would be very grateful for the opportunity if it’s meant to be.”
While Mercure hasn’t submitted her petition for election yet, she hopes to collect enough signatures and run for the seat being vacated by selectboard member Herb Downing who has served on the board in various roles since 2011. Candidates for selectboard must collect at least 30 signatures and submit a petition to the Town Clerk’s office by Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. According to Assistant Town Clerk Wanda Morin, only incumbents Jeff Bartley and Pam Loranger have submitted petitions for reelection so far.