(1 seat) Orwell, Shoreham, Whiting, Benson
Terry Norris, 69, is a captain on the Fort Ti Ferry, a retired professional photographer, dairy farmer from 1970 to 2008.
He was born and raised in Vermont, and his parents purchased their farm in 1959 “where I grew up and later farmed with two of my brothers as Norris Farms, Inc. until selling the farm in 2008. I still live on the edge of the farm in Shoreham.”
He served on the Agriculture & Forestry Committee in the legislature after being appointed by Gov. Phil Scott to fill a vacant seat, and feels “that we worked hard to help preserve our agriculture heritage. Agriculture has ties to so many people and businesses in our state, I would like to continue my work there.” Norris says he is qualified because: “My experience as the representative last session has prepared me to be effective in that position again. My experience as a dairy farmer and longtime resident of Shoreham as well as home-based business owner serves me well to understand what our rural towns want and need.
His top priorities: “I have supported Gov. Scott in his goal to hold the line on tax increases and will continue to do so. My priorities would be affordable health care and early education and care, and a balanced budget with no new taxes and fees.”
And, lastly, “I am the youngest child of 15 and I think that I have learned from my parents that hard work and a conservative lifestyle are important in life if you want to accomplish your goals. I think being conservative as a representative will bring some balance in Montpelier.”
Shoreham — Democrat
At 72, Barbara Wilson is a retired lawyer who had a solo law practice in Rochester from 1981-2005. She has also run a bed & breakfast in Rochester with her partner since 1981. She grew up in a military family and lived overseas for a few years. She did most of her schooling in San Francisco, and went to college and law school at U.C. Berkeley, earning a bachelors in 1968 and a JD in 1974.
She moved to Rochester in 1980 because she wanted to live in a real community where people know and care about each other. “I found many opportunities to work with my neighbors, first on the Rescue Squad, then on the Rochester Planning Commission and with the White River Valley Players, where I enjoyed singing, directing and working as a stage manager for 20 years,” she says.
She decided to run for office because: “Having worked for 25 years with laws written by other people, I wanted a chance to participate in the legislative process. I had been working with various boards at the local level, and I wanted an opportunity to work with people from all over the state to address issues facing the state. Vermont has only about 625,000 people, which is fewer that the city of San Francisco, where I lived for many years. That means that we can approach our challenges as a statewide community.”
Her qualifications: “I have been honored to serve in the Vermont House for the past 14 years. Each year I become more effective as my colleagues recognize and rely on my skills in analyzing proposed legislation. I have served as vice-chair of the Human Services Committee for the past 8 years. I have also been appointed to several joint committees and study committees, including Justice Oversight and Judicial Rules. I believe the job requires an open mind and a willingness to listen to all positions on every issue.”
If elected, her priorities would be: “The recent U.N. report on global warming makes clear that we can dawdle no longer. Bold steps will be required to protect the planet for our grandchildren. We need to stop the slow, but catastrophic warming that threatens all coastal populations and economic mainstays, like our maple syrup industry. We need to continue our efforts to address the opioid crisis. And, we need to take effective steps to reduce income inequality, beginning with a gradual increase in the minimum wage.
“I really enjoy the collaborative problem-solving aspect of serving in the Legislature. In our committee, we have an opportunity to take an issue and analyze what does our law say, how well does it work, what doesn’t work, and how do we make it better. With 11 people in the room from all different perspectives and life experiences, the final product is better than one we could have come up with individually. I have developed good working relationships with members of all parties in the House and also members of administration, and I am excited to continue that work.”
(1 seat) Danby, Mount Tabor, Dorset, Peru, Landgrove
Linda Joy Sullivan
Dorset — Democrat
Incumbent Linda Joy Sullivan is running unopposed.
(1 seat) Middletown Springs, Wells, Pawlet, Tinmouth
Middletown Springs -Democrat
Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, 58, has worked as a sailor on tall ships, an apple farmer, a self-employed builder for 25 years, and as a licensed educator working with diverse students ranging from at-risk teens to a college sustainable design program. This summer he earned licensure as a building inspector. His early childhood was spent in Vermont and New Hampshire, and his school years on a farm in western New York State. After college he traveled and worked overseas, returning to the U.S. in 1986.
“Our settling in Vermont was prompted by the early death of several close friends which prompted serious soul searching about how and where we wanted to raise our family. I built our solar-heated home myself. My building business and my wife’s work paid the bills, but community involvement built a life.
“It was really the encouragement and prodding of friends that prompted me to run for office. My family commitment was that I would not run while our daughters were living at home. When the birds had flown and the House seat became open, I stepped up to serve.
“I cut my teeth in a decade on the Select Board, in addition to numerous other boards and committees, and I added a degree in mediation to my toolbox. On a fundamental level it turns out that I am oddly well qualified for the the Statehouse. My diverse set of attributes: attention to detail, curiosity, big-picture philosophy, hands-on problem solving, tenacity, and a desire to see all sides of an issue mesh very well in the position of state legislator.
“My top-three priorities for the coming session are interconnected. In order for Vermont to thrive, we need to attract more young people here. We no longer have cheap land like we did in the 1960s, so we need to be more proactive.
1) Livable wage — Few people will move where they can’t make a living.
2) High-speed internet — This is a new base-level requirement for life — for working, shopping, education, medical care, entertainment, EVERYTHING!
3) Energy and climate change — Living here means making Vermont more resilient in the face of extreme weather events and changing climate.
“One thing about me that is not obvious in this public position is that I am essentially a quiet person. I don’t mind working in the public eye but in many social settings I am that guy standing against the wall in the back of the room. And I don’t dance.”
Pawlet — Republican
Edgar Cleveland, 67, is a retired farmer and USPS rural carrier
“There is a need for change in Montpelier, and I can help drive that change. As a farmer, rural postal carrier and selectboard member, I have heard the concerns and frustrations of my friends and neighbors. I will work for changes to state policy to grow our economy and reduce our tax burden. We need to grow full-time jobs and cultivate lifelong opportunities for all.
“The most critical challenge facing Vermont is multi-faceted. Farms and small businesses are experiencing hard economic times due to low prices, high costs of essential goods and services, plus burdensome regulations. The survival of our farms and small businesses is vital to the livelihood of our county and state. We need to use all forms of energy the most economical way possible. The carbon tax is a regressive scheme to raise the cost of living for Vermonters. We can and should improve school safety without compromising all our Vermont and Federal constitutional rights. As a gun owner and hunter, I support the second amendment.
“As I have stated previously, I know local issues. It’s time to consider simple solutions for complex problems, not complex solutions for simple problems.”
(1 seat) Shrewsbury, Mount Holly, Ludlow
Ludlow — Democrat
At 31 years old, Logan Nicoll is a maintenance technician at a local hotel, and has worked similar labor/building jobs since high school.
He is a third-generation resident of Ludlow. He graduated from Black River in 2005 and from UVM in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Science in community development. He says, “After UVM I returned home and began helping my parents with efficiency renovations to our house, which are perpetually ongoing. I have been a member of the Ludlow Planning Commission since 2012 and a member of the Ludlow Selectboard since 2014. I live in the village of Ludlow in my childhood home with my wife and German Shepherd, Brady.”
What prompted you to run for office? “I have been getting progressively more involved in local and regional governance because I see problems that I don’t think are being addressed properly. I have ideas I know can make a real difference, and I don’t see anyone else effectively representing my perspective. I can see the levers of change that could benefit our region and our state and I want to pull them.”
What makes you qualified for this position? “I listen carefully, think critically, work hard and have experience working with people from all political perspectives to find common ground for the benefit of all parties.
“My primary goal in Montpelier will be to reform our drug policy. My proposal will be to work to get non-violent offenders out of our prisons and improve access to treatment and prevention resources. Given the amount we currently spend in our correctional facilities housing non-violent offenders, this would not result in any more spending, just more effective spending. This effort is strongly related to long-overdue reforms to our health-care system, as the problem often starts with prescription drugs being over-prescribed. We have spent far too long waiting for health care to be fixed at the national level, but in the meantime people are dying and going broke because of this broken system, and we can stop that — it’s long past time we did.
“Reforms to our education system are next on my list, which starts with reforming education funding. I am in favor of a proposal similar to one that emerged last session that would have shifted the homestead tax rate to an income-based tax, thereby eliminating the state-wide education property tax for homestead residences.
“Beyond that, I hope my perspective in Montpelier can have an effect on the mass exodus of my generation, which a lot of my own friends were part of. This issue is complicated and incredibly broad, but my wife and I would love to stay in this area and raise our family here. There are currently a lot of factors that contribute to us questioning whether we will be able to, including the state of educational opportunities in our district. But it also comes back to the cost of living and state of wages in this region. And I hope my perspective and background in economics and community development will help me to see opportunities that others may have missed.”
What he wants voters to know about him: “I want them to understand my commitment to our communities, and my commitment to rebuilding them.”
Mount Holly — Independent
An English and history teacher, Peter Berger, 68, has lived for forty years in Mount Holly, where he currently serves as vice chair of the planning commission.
He holds a degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and before retiring this June taught middle-school English and history for three decades. His column “Poor Elijah’s Almanack” appears in newspapers and professional journals, and is a regular feature locally in the Rutland Herald. In these commentaries, he says, “I try to apply reason, common sense, and a little humor to education and social issues.”
What prompted you to run for office? “I’ve always taught my students that representative self-government doesn’t work unless people are willing to participate. When I retired this June, I decided to take my own advice.”
What makes you qualified for this position? “One of the chief lessons I’ve learned from teaching is the value of listening. Whatever the issue of the day — health care, taxation, education, the environmental climate, or the business climate — a representative has three obligations — to participate in an informed debate, consult his constituents, and adhere to his conscience.”
If elected, his priorities would include: “Thomas Jefferson told us that the ‘government closest to the people serves the people best.’ Vermonters are supremely interested in their town’s development and character. Yet, state agencies exercise increasing jurisdiction over development, often leaving citizens and town governments all but excluded from the permitting process in their own towns.
“No government service is closer to home than the education of a community’s children. Yet here, too, through regulations and laws like Act 46, state officials have granted themselves ever broader authority to manage our schools. The decision to maintain or close a school rightfully belongs to its community. Substantial evidence suggests that consolidation doesn’t save money, and the last thing our schools need is more control by policymakers and bureaucrats farther away from our classrooms.”
What would you want people to understand about you that might not be obvious?
“I’m an independent and a moderate. Governing isn’t winner-take-all. Our government’s decisions and actions should represent both the slightly more than half who are the majority, and the substantial body of citizens who are at that moment the minority. No republic can survive if nearly half the population is routinely denied a share in governing. George Washington warned that political parties would only deepen the divide, with representatives torn between party loyalty and their better judgment. In place of partisanship and polarization, we need to achieve what Jefferson called a ‘workable consensus’ that most of us can accept, even if it leaves each of us a little dissatisfied. This requires moderation.
“Instead extremes seem to rule the day. We suffer discouragement. Our confidence in government declines. It’s my sense, however, that in between those vocal extremes, most of us are seeking moderation in the public space we share.”
(1 Seat) Chittenden, Mendon, Killington, Bridgewater
Chittenden — Republican
A former president of Vermont Retail & Grocers Association, 65-year-old James Harrison is currently state representative for this district. He has lived in Chittenden since 2006 and in Vermont for close to 35 years. His wife Pat and he have two adult children and are “blessed with three adorable grandsons. We love the beauty of the state as well as the small community feel of our region.”
He was president of the Vermont Grocers’ Association (now Vermont Retail & Grocers Association) from 1987 until retiring at the end of 2016. During the same period he was also the administrator of the Vermont Specialty Food Association. Before this, he held various management positions in the retail and wholesale food industry. Harrison graduated from Cornell University with a BS and has an MBA from New Hampshire College. He also serves on local boards.
What prompted you to run for office? “The region’s economy needs help. Housing prices locally are still down some 16 percent on average from where they were ten years ago, whereas they are up in Chittenden County; a clear sign that we can do better. The region and state need to focus on creating good job and job-training opportunities, which in turn will help us attract and retain our workforce. I want to help our existing businesses grow. While we held the line on most taxes and fees the past two years and provided some relief with social security taxes, we need to do more to reduce the cost of living in Vermont.”
What makes you qualified for this position? “I know business. With over 30 years of background working with retailers, distributors and manufacturers, I have the experience to bring to the table. I have been actively involved in the legislative process in my prior career and now as a state representative. I ask plenty of questions to gain insight on issues and work across party lines to get things done. I keep district residents informed through bi-weekly email updates during the legislative session, ‘meet and greets’ and weekly newspaper columns. I know the players, process and understand the politics to best serve our district. I am committed to promoting policies that help our region.”
His top priorities, if elected: “Grow the region’s economy by helping small businesses grow; bring more efficiency to state government and minimize our tax burden; retain and attract people to help grow our workforce in the state. Vermont is a great place to live and raise a family. We need to promote our strengths, while continuing to focus on making Vermont more affordable.”
What would you want people to understand about you that might not be obvious? “I am honored to have the backing of our former representative, Job Tate, as well as former Governor Jim Douglas. I take my responsibility as the district’s state representative very seriously, and work hard to make sure our collective voice is heard in Montpelier. I believe in taking a balanced approach to issues. And I will not promise things we cannot afford.”
Chittenden — Democrat
Gina Ottoboni, 52, is a teacher/college instructor and freelance editor, and has also worked as a public-policy and child advocate. She lives in a small cabin in Chittenden and teaches history and political science at the Community College of Vermont, and is on the faculty at Green Mountain College. Gina holds a BA from Stanford and an MA from Yale. She first came to Vermont briefly in 1989 and always wanted to move back. In 2010, she packed her belongings into a 16-ft truck, put her car on a trailer behind, and drove cross country, finally arriving home in Vermont.
What makes you qualified for this position? “I have the vision, the voice, and the experience to represent my district in the state legislature and to help build a better future for all Vermonters — and I care deeply about doing so. I am cognizant of the balancing act that is Vermont: the need to protect rural, small-town life and yet provide good jobs for Vermonters; the importance of sustaining agriculture while protecting the environment. Maintaining that balance and improving upon it means working hard, thinking outside the box, forging relationships, and communicating effectively —things that I have done every day of my working life, whether teaching or helping craft public policy. I’ve spent that life trying to make a difference: teaching, advocating for children, stewarding the environment. As your representative, I will use my experience and skills to make a difference for you, your children, and your grandchildren.”
What prompted you to run for office? “I am running for state representative because I want to move us toward a future in which all Vermonters thrive, not merely survive — one in which we all have access to affordable health care, dental care, childcare and housing, one in which no one graduates from college under a mountain of debt. It is a Vermont with living-wage jobs, with thriving small businesses, family farms, and working forests, one which is sustainable, equitable, and just. I want to work for all Vermonters, for that future — a future we can be proud to leave to our children and grandchildren, and I will be fiscally responsible while doing so.”
Her top priorities: “I want to help move us toward a future in which all Vermonters thrive, not merely survive. Doing so means tackling a host of issues including access to affordable health care, dental care, childcare, college and housing. It means creating livable-wage jobs and a resilient energy sector, while protecting our environment and nurturing small businesses, family farms and working forests. We can’t do any of these things in isolation because they are tied together — and it is there, in that nexus, that we will find our solutions.”
What else she wants you to know about her: “I have lived in six states, the District of Columbia, and four countries, but Vermont — Vermont is the place that is home, where my boots sit by the door. You know this place and what is special about it, what needs preserving, what needs changing, what needs talking about. We might not always agree, but I will be here to listen to your concerns, to do my best, to represent you, and to do right by this place we call home.”
(1 Seat) Ira, Poultney
Patricia A. McCoy
Poultney — Republican
Incumbent Patty McCoy is running unopposed.
(2 seats) Proctor, West Rutland, Clarendon, Wallingford, Tinmouth
West Rutland — Republican
Tom Burditt, 62, is a lawn-care business owner.
From his campaign literature: “I am a fiscally responsible — socially reliable — liberty-minded — independent-minded Republican. The biggest concerns we continue to face are hard-working Vermont families leaving the state for opportunity, retaining jobs, the high tax burden for individuals as well as business, and our business reputation throughout the region. Also, getting our education system working within a reasonable budget while maintaining our high rating nationally.
Wallingford — Democrat
At 62, Ken Fredette is retired, but over the years has worked as a dairy farmer, truck driver, appliance repairman, commercial electrician, and most recently as a commercial (hard hat) diver. He is an eighth-generation Vermonter, raised in Rutland Town, and has lived in Wallingford 31 years. His wife, Kate, and he live in a modest solar-powered post-and-beam home they helped design and build. Their children are now adults, and all three still live and work in Vermont.
What prompted you to run for office? “People have occasionally encouraged me to run for House, saying that I would do a good job. At the risk of sounding immodest, I agree. I believe I can make a difference…that I can be a positive influence in our lawmaking process, and the time is right for me to come off the bench.”
What qualifies you for the position? “I have a solid history of public service and leadership, including 15 years as Wallingford’s representative on the Rutland Regional Planning Commission and 20 years as a school board member. While on the school board I served as chair of the Wallingford and Rutland South boards for many years, and as president of the Vermont School Boards Association. I have testified to legislative committees on education issues many times, and have helped draft several bills which subsequently became law.”
His priorities, if elected: “Providing a high-quality education for our children at a cost taxpayers can support has long been a top priority of mine; if it benefits kids it benefits everybody. Following that, protecting our environment has now become what I consider to be a critical issue, so I will support efforts to develop more-sustainable energy and keep our air and waters clean. To paraphrase a popular quote, we do not have a spare planet in the trunk. Working to provide the best we can on both those issues can only serve to strengthen our economy. Employers need workers with very different skill sets than when I was entering the workforce, and creating decent, green jobs will be a win-win for all.”
He also wants people to know: “Serving on boards and multiple committees over the years has taught me how to work with civility, respect diversity, stay focused on the issue at hand when distractions are abundant, and that building consensus is the best way to get things done. In short, my experience makes me well-suited to be a productive and responsible representative of the people.”
Clarendon — Democrat
Dave Potter, 74, is a retired USAF Vietnam veteran, a squadron commander in the Vt. Air National Guard, and was a biology, chemistry and driver education teacher for 31 years at Rutland High School. He graduated from Rutland High School, UVM, and has a Masters in systems management from the University of Southern California. He has served on multiple local and state boards and as the Clarendon town moderator.
What prompted you to run for office? “I ran for state representative because of my longtime interest in public service. It is a job requiring intellectual and social skill that is important in working with others to make where we live a better place. I try to work hard along these lines. There are always new problems to solve, or old ones looking for new solutions. Health care, education finance, and economic/workforce development are just a few of the big ones that remain a challenge.”
What qualifies you for the position? “A long, diverse résumé of life experiences, like you see above, perhaps is the best qualification for state rep. Being able to think critically and engage civilly with others is also extremely important. Teaching high school was great preparation for the VT House. Critical thinking, appreciation of diversity, and being able to listen as well as teach the lesson on the floor of the House when called upon, were all skills practiced over and over as an RHS teacher.”
His priorities, if elected: “The particular committee one is assigned to often determines one’s specialty in the legislature. This is because the main work of the legislature is done in committee. As vice-chairman of the House Transportation Committee, my priority is to insure state highway transportation infrastructure improvement projects adequately include Rutland County. Highway safety is another priority. Primary seat-belt legislation, present in 35 other states, would save Vermonter’s lives. New saliva testing technology should replace blood testing as a way to identify drug-impaired drivers. Both concepts have passed in the House, but need to advance in the Senate.”
What else he would like people to know: “I am an approachable country boy willing to listen to anyone, and at the same time, speak up for you in Montpelier.”
Fair Haven — Republican
Robert “Bob” Helm
Fair Haven — Republican
Robert J. Richards
Fair Haven — Independent
Robert “Bob” Richards is 63, and refers to himself as a working person “no collar worker.” He was raised in Fair Haven and graduated in 1973 as a Fair Haven Slater. He studied at Southern Vermont College, and joined the Navy, serving honorably for six years.
Richards married Tracy Waters of North Bennington and raised three boys, mostly in Fair Haven — they all are Slaters. Richards was elected to the Fair Haven Select Board in 1990/91, served all through the ‘90s until about 2004, then was re-elected 2011-12. He served as chairman many years in the ‘90’s and again since 2014.
Richards says, “Our select boards need support of their legislators and that has been lacking, mainly with very little interaction.” He says his years as a selectman qualify him for the job as representative, and his top priorities are infrastructure, renewable energy and jobs. Why is he the best candidate? “I can count I’m a very conservative budget hawk, I expect people to use tax money wisely and effectively.”
(1 Seat) Rutland Town
Rutland Town — Republican
Incumbent Tom Terenzini is running unopposed.
(1 Seat) Northeastern Rutland City
Rutland City — Democrat
What is your age? “I’m 40 years old.”
What is your profession? (if you’ve had several different vocations, please feel free to list) “I’m a teacher, a former manager of an Information Office for the National Institutes of Health, and a primary caretaker for my father, a veteran with disabilities.”
Please provide a brief bio including your background and how you came to choose to live in this region. “I was born in the Bethesda Naval Hospital, the daughter of two corpsmen. The sacrifices that my impoverished family made to send me to college tore us apart, so I truly appreciate the predicament facing young people with the rising cost of higher education. I went on to work as the manager of an Information Office subcontracting for the National Institutes of Health, where I gained a unique perspective on the health-care crisis. When my father’s health began to decline, we moved to Vermont, seeking the clean air that was so crucial to his health, and a liberal atmosphere, where people put other people first.”
What prompted you to run for office? “I am running for office because a Vermonter in one of my classes chanted ‘white power’ in May 2017, the same month that a white supremacist at my alma mater murdered a black Army lieutenant who was a few days from graduating college.”
What makes you qualified for this position? “I have a wide range of real-world experiences beyond my training as an anthropologist and a historian, from scraping for pennies while working two jobs and going to school, from managing an office while navigating bureaucratic red tape and looking out for my staff, to grassroots organizing and lobbying as a co-leader of Castleton Indivisible, to teaching in a classroom and caring for my disabled father.”
If elected, what will be the top-three priorities for you in the coming Legislature? My top priorities will be the introduction of measures to dismantle the systematic racism that’s made Vermont the butt of jokes on a recent Saturday Night Live skit, to expand green-energy initiatives to strengthen local economies, and to make health care more affordable.
· What would you want people to understand about you that might not be obvious?”I’m running for office, not out of ambition, but because if people like me aren’t making sacrifices for the people whose lives are on the line — like the Vermonters of color who are being racially profiled and incarcerated at such a high rate — then we’re not doing enough.”
Peter J. Fagan
Rutland City — Republican
Peter Fagan, 61, is a retired U.S. Army Colonel, and also co-owned, then sold, Henry F. Fagan Wholesale and Bove-Fagan Ice Cream.
“I was born in the old Rutland Hospital, now a Genesis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, located on Nichols Street. I was raised in a house just off Giorgetti Blvd. So, literally, I was born and raised in the district I represent.
“I graduated from MSJ, went to college, joined the Army and later the Vermont National Guard, from which I have since retired as a Colonel. Additionally, I was part owner in a small business here in Rutland. Together with my wife of 34 year, we raised our children here.
“I have represented Rutland for 10 years, and for the past four years I have been vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee. I also served on the Rutland School Board for 13 years. I currently serve on the Starbase Vermont board and the VNA and Hospice of the Southwest Region, formerly RAVNA, board.
“Over the next few years I will work on several issues, priorities, that I know concern Rutlanders because I have heard what you shared with me when I knocked on your doors. They are:
“The drug issue will continue to be my top priority. One aspect I will be focusing upon are prevention efforts of which we must do more.
“Educating our children and preparing them for their future is a priority I have long had, as evidenced by my service on the school board. Interestingly, I have just returned from an hour with the Tapestry students at Northeast School gluing decorations onto pumpkins.
“Working with REDC and the Rutland Chamber of Commerce to streamline Vermont’s land-use law to assist business to expand here and attract other businesses to locate here.
“I am always engaged, and you will continue to have my beast effort to help move Rutland forward.”
(1 Seat) Southeastern Rutland City
Rutland City — Republican
Incumbent Larry Cupoli is running unopposed.
(1 Seat) Southwestern Rutland City
Mary E. Howard
Rutland City Democrat
Mary Howard is running unopposed.
State Rep. Rutland 5-4
(1 seat) Northwestern Rutland City
Jacqueline “Beth” Fleck
Rutland City — Republican
Beth Fleck is the owner of Ruff Life Café in downtown Rutland.
From her campaign page: “Vermont has consistently ranked among one of the worst states in the country for small business. No more misguided legislation that pushes our existing business away and hinders new business growth. Population has dwindled while taxes continue to rise. We are facing an increasingly unbearable load. Our pockets are not endless, and the legislature must stop with the out-of-control spending. Government has gone too far and restrictions on our guns are a violation of the Constitution of Vermont and of the U.S. There are more than enough gun laws on the books already. No more new gun laws!”
Rutland City — Democrat
William Notte, 47, manages Phoenix Books in downtown Rutland and is a freelance book editor. He is a lifelong resident of Rutland City. His father and grandfather were also born here, and it is where Notte chose to raise the next generation of his family. He grew up on Brown Street and Rutland Street, with plenty of visits to Franklin Street where his grandparents lived. He graduated from Rutland High School in 1989 and Castleton State College after that.
Why are you running? “I have served as a city alderman for eleven years, and the longer I serve in local government the clearer it becomes that many of the problems we face locally have to be solved at the state level.”
What qualifies you for the job? “I have lived in Rutland City my entire life; I have served as a city alderman for the past 11 years; and I have also served on the Rutland Redevelopment Authority, Downtown Rutland Partnership, and Rutland Free Library Board of Trustees. I understand the challenges Rutland faces. I know our past and where we need to be in the future, and I have the experience needed to hit the ground running and fight for Rutland as soon as I arrive in Montpelier.”
What are your top priorities if elected? “Rutland faces the dual problems of decreasing population and rising taxes. The legislature needs to work to remove the barriers to starting or growing a business in Vermont. The legislature needs to work on making home ownership something to celebrate, without the dread of ever-rising taxes. The legislature also needs to avoid overextending beyond the means of average Vermonters — this state cannot afford a carbon tax or $15-per-hour minimum wage. I am ready to go to Montpelier and fight for what is best for Rutland on these issues.”
What else would you want people to know? “I am a volunteer editor for the Rutland Historical Society. Once at a Historical Society meeting I had the opportunity to shake the hand of someone who as a boy had shaken the hand of my great-great-grandfather. I will never forget that. My roots in Rutland City run deep. I love it here. I want to see Rutland grow and prosper so that all of our children have the same wonderful opportunities here that I had, and I am willing to work hard for all of us to make that happen.”
(2 Seats) Sudbury, Brandon, Pittsford
Brandon — Progressive/Democrat
Tim Guiles is 59. Trained as an engineer, he started off as a robotics software engineer. Since moving back to Vermont in 1992, he has done many different kinds of work including: small-town librarian, piano teacher, part-time logger, musical theater director, EMT, and tiny-house builder. Currently, he is a professional musician, teaching private lessons and playing for various school and community choruses.
He grew up in Maine, in the small community of North Gorham. After high school, he went to Dartmouth College to study engineering. He then spent several years working in robotics before starting a successful computerized-laser cutting manufacturing business with his brother. He studied graduate-level electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and then moved to Vermont in 1992 to raise his young son. He has extended family in Vermont, including two relatives who were members of the VT House of Representatives in 1880 and 1929. Recently, he built a small home with solar panels that provide all the electricity for his heating, cooking, hot water, lighting, and his electric car.
What prompted you to run? “When I learned that Stephen Carr was retiring, I set up meetings with the Democratic Caucus leaders in Brandon and Pittsford. At the time, they did not have a candidate in mind, so I decided to run as a progressive/democrat. After Stephanie Jerome decided to run, I realized that we are a two-seat district and, as a longtime social and environmental activist, I wanted the voters in Brandon, Pittsford and Sudbury to have the option of voting for a Progressive/Democrat candidate.”
What qualifies you for the job? “I was elected and served on the Washington Electric Coop board during the time when renewable energy credits were a hot topic. Having lived in Vermont since 1992, I have an appreciation for the evolving issues that challenge the state of Vermont. With my educational background, I think that I am well suited to work through the issues that need to be addressed in the next two years.”
What would your priorities be, if elected? “Helping to develop a universal health-care system for Vermont. I believe that we are the right size to prove viability for this necessary step forward; A $15 minimum wage — there is a growing consensus that people who work should have enough money to live. An increase in the minimum wage will make our economy better for everybody; Education funding — I think it is time to shift from an emphasis on the residential property tax towards an emphasis on the state income tax which will allow everybody to pay their fair share.”
What else would you want people to know? For me, this election is about choices. I am grateful to have had many opportunities to knock on doors, talk about my positions, and listen to friends and neighbors in Brandon, Pittsford and Sudbury. We had a good candidate forum — the newspapers have done a good job covering the issues in this race — and I will be sending a final mail piece to each voter. I believe that each voter will know where I stand on the issues — and I trust them to choose which two of the four good candidates they want to represent them in Montpelier.”
Brandon — Republican
Seth Hopkins, 42, has been self-employed in Vermont tourism for 14 years. Previously, he taught public school for five years. He is also a church musician (organist/pianist). He was raised in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, and Ashby, Massachusetts. He was the first in his family to go to college, attending Middlebury after high school, then completing his degree work at a state college while working part-time to pay tuition. He came to Brandon in 2005 for a year-round tourism business opportunity which has evolved into his present family business, Inn to Inn tours. He and his wife have three daughters, 8, 10 and 12, all born at home in Brandon.
What prompted you to run? “My public-service experiences began as a volunteer in several civic organizations (such as my church, entrepreneur organizations, and 25 years as a Grange member), where I learned to work with diverse people to achieve common goals. My first elected-official role was as a selectman in Brandon, which at the time was in need of fresh perspectives on its board and a spirit of collaboration rather than conflict.”
What qualifies you for the job? “My years of service on an effective select board (presently as chair) have seen my town attain a solid financial footing, build an excellent team of employees and volunteers, educated me in the nuts-and-bolts of local government, and prepared me to bring the same clear thinking and calm leadership to solving Vermont’s challenges: safe schools, smooth roads, and growing Vermont’s economy to prosperity.
What would your priorities be, if elected? In the immediate term: School safety is my top priority, both in terms of threats from outside the walls and preventing bullying within. In the longer term, thoughtful economic development is the only way for Vermont to achieve sustainable prosperity. A good first step is investing in improving the roads that carry our commercial, tourism and emergency traffic. Our Legislature simply spends too much. Vermont’s long-term health will benefit from state budgeting limited to actual growth in the previous year, not on optimistic forecasts of future growth. Recognizing limitations on state government will remove limitations from all Vermonters and empower us to achieve our potential.”
What else would you want people to know? “The challenges we face in our rural Rutland County towns are not the same as in Chittenden County suburbs, and won’t be solved with Chittenden County solutions. Our towns deserve an independent thinker who will energetically advance our interests and promote our priorities. I’ve demonstrated an ability as an elected local official to lead and build consensus. As state representative, I will make sure we have our own voice, not an echo.”
Brandon — Democrat
Stephanie Jerome, 55, is president and co-owner of Visual Learning System, an educational science publishing company.
Why are you running for office? “I have loved living in this corner of Vermont and want to see it thrive. With my education and background in public service and business, I have the leadership skills to be the state representative. Over the past twenty years, my husband and I have raised and educated our family here. We successfully operated our publishing company and renovated commercial buildings to provide spaces for small businesses and artists. I am active in our community as the chair of the Planning Commission, member Revolving Loan Fund, past president of the Chamber of Commerce, volunteer at Neshobe and Otter Valley schools, and many other worthwhile organizations. It is time for me to give back in another way — this is why I am seeking a seat in the Vermont Legislature.”
What is the most critical challenge facing Vermont and the Rutland area? “The challenges for our region include economic development and job creation, especially jobs that will entice our youth to stay or to return to the area. We need to provide affordable health care for all income levels, which covers addiction disease, livable and equitable wages, strong local public schools and healthy, economically vibrant communities.”
What makes you the best person for the job? “As a Democrat and a Vermonter with deep local roots, I know these communities well. I am sensible, knowledgeable and hardworking. With my education and experience in business and community service, I have the background essential to represent the needs of our towns. I will work hard for the people of Brandon, Pittsford and Sudbury — making our towns the best communities in which to live, work, raise families and grow old.”
Charles “Butch” Shaw
Pittsford — Republican
Butch Shaw is the 70-year-old retired owner of an electrical contracting firm that specialized in the installation of traffic signals, railroad signals, airport lighting and street lighting. He was born and raised in Middlebury, where he attended high school. He attended post-secondary education out of state, moving back to Vermont in 1968. He took a job at an electrical engineering firm, settled in Pittsford, married his best friend, Mary, and raised their son, Dana.
What prompted you to run? “I am running for my sixth term in the Vermont House. I strongly feel my most important job as a representative is to listen to the concerns of the citizens of Brandon-Pittsford-Sudbury. A week does not go by without a constituent contacting me with a personal issue that needs attention in state government, and it is my number-one priority to help them navigate the maze of state agencies to find answers to their questions.”
What qualifies you for the job? “With nine years of experience in The Vermont House of Representatives, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to represent Brandon-Pittsford-Sudbury in Montpelier. I have proven that I can reach across the political aisle to ‘get things done.’ As a Republican in a Democratically controlled House, I have the honor of being appointed, by a Democratic speaker of the House, to serve as vice-chairman of the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions. I appreciate the confidence the speaker has shown in my ability to bring people together regardless of political party. I am ready to return to Montpelier and continue working for the people in my district and the State of Vermont.”
What are your priorities, if elected? “To continue to make sure state government lives within the budget crafted by the Legislature. Fiscal responsibility in state government is imperative. The Legislature must do some meaningful education tax reform, Montpelier must stop shifting state costs to our local school budgets. Improving the quality of the waters in our lakes, rivers and streams must be the environmental priority for the Legislature and all Vermonters.”
What else would you want people to know? “As the leader of The Rutland County Legislative Delegation I am an ardent advocate for our region. Rutland County is now at a critical crossroad as we move forward into the next decade. Economic recovery is happening, but a daunting challenge that employers face is finding qualified workers to fill the available jobs that are currently going unfilled. The State must provide targeted training opportunities for our workforce. It is important to create opportunities for our young Vermonters to keep them in our state and promote Rutland County as a great place to live, work, enjoy our recreational opportunities and grow a family. Solving the ever-present opioid crisis remains a top personal priority for me. With great partners in the county, like Project Vision and Brandon Cares, we as a state and community are making progress, but we still have miles to go before we can say the crisis is over.”
Progressive / Democrat — Rochester