Martie Betts, the “redhead with the funky shoes,” is the Town’s Assistant to the Selectboard. She has filled the position three different times, first in the fall of 1999 to around 2003, returning in 2015 to November 2019, and then resumed the job in June of 2020. She became the Assistant Town Clerk in July 2020 too, making her job full-time.
She has lived in Thetford most of her life and is following her parents’ footsteps into town government. Her mother was once the Town Clerk for Thetford, and her father, who died when she was young, was her assistant. When her mother was the clerk, the office was at their home. She said hunters would come at night for licenses, stay a few hours, and leave a quarter for Martie when she was little. She loves coming across old deeds with her parents’ signatures because it brings a sense of déjà vu to her.
Martie says three strong, unique, and ground-breaking women have influenced her life. Her mother, Dell; her older sister, Janet; and her daughter, Clara. She says she tends to live by emotions. Her mother taught her to be independent, while her sister imparted loyalty, faithfulness, and the impact of being a champion for others. Her daughter showed her about diversity, inclusion, and how to stay grounded in today’s world.
Growing up in a small town, Martie knew most of the kids in her small graduating class. She said because Thetford and Vermont were not culturally diverse at that time, it helped her learn acceptance of others. “When there are a small number of kids to hang out with, you learn to accept and grow to love others—even if you don’t see eye-to-eye. The strength of community, regardless of differences, has shaped who I am today.”
Martie volunteers her time as treasurer and contact person for the Thetford Center Community Center. The center, renovated just before the pandemic in 2019, is now open. This building was originally a one-room schoolhouse that was attended by Martie’s two oldest siblings. She can remember the creaks made by the swings outside the TCCC when she swung on them. She can now hear the creaks of the swings if she sits outside her house, bringing back memories of bygone days.
Martie said she is excited to be working in the Town Clerk’s office with Tracy Borst. The commute is perfect, as she lives two houses down from Town Hall, and Tracy is an excellent Town Clerk who has done a great job of taking over the Treasurer position and managing them both during the pandemic. Martie really enjoys the job because she gets to meet and help townspeople and finds local government very interesting, where there is never a dull day.
She has worked with various selectboards, finding they all have different strengths and personalities. The boards have had very different ways of handling issues. Martie says it is fascinating to watch people with such varied backgrounds, experiences, and personalities come together to learn about government, solve problems, and keep the town moving forward. This current board is made up of a majority of female members, and is only the second board with this configuration.
Martie would like to see Thetford grow together as a community. Her wish is for Thetford’s rural character to not be changed while the town becomes more unified in its quest for more affordable housing. She applauds the many people in town who are working to move us forward in terms of climate change initiatives, housing, historical preservation of our villages, and protecting the environment.