For the two Rutland-2 seats in the Vermont House of Representatives, which includes Wallingford, West Rutland, Clarendon, Proctor and the eastern side of Tinmouth, there are two incumbents and two challengers, two Democrats and two Republicans pursuing the position.
The two candidates with the most votes will win the seats.
Ken Fredette, 64, is running as a Democrat.
He is retired from a carer that included time spent as a commercial diver originally working in the offshore oilfields in the Gulf of Mexico.
He spent 20 years as a School Board member, some of it as chairman of the Wallingford and Rutland South school boards, and was also on the Mill River Unified Union School Board when it was first formed. He served one term as president of the Vermont School Boards Association and spent 15 years as Wallingford’s appointed representative to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission.
Fredette has run for the House seat before in 2012 and 2018 and said he “missed it by a couple votes each time out of about 7,000 votes cast.”
Fredette said he had been encouraged to run for office again.
“At the risk of sounding immodest, I would agree with them that I would do a good job representing the people,” he said.
Fredette said he believed he was particularly interested in education and the environment. His own home is off-the-grid and he said he keeps his carbon footprint pretty low.
“I recognize a clear and present danger of climate change,” he said.
Fredette said he believes climate change is the most important issue facing Vermont now.
“If we don’t have a habitable planet, nothing else really matters. As they say, ‘We don’t have a spare planet in the trunk,” he said.
Rep. Dave Potter, 76, a Democrat, is seeking re-election to the Legislature after 16 years.
Potter said he has been a member of the Vermont House of Representatives since he retired from his full-time teaching position at Rutland High School.
He has been a member of the Clarendon Select Board for 14 years and serves as the moderator for town and school meetings. He has been a trustee for the University of Vermont for six years.
Potter was also Vermont Tree Farmer of the Year in 2008 and served in the U.S. Air Force, becoming a veteran of the Vietnam War. After 30 years in the Vermont Air National Guard, he retired as a lieutenant colonel squadron commander.
Potter said he wanted to return to Montpelier to help with the pandemic.
“It’s a problem, and it’s a problem impacting all of us. The Legislature has been there to try to resolve it as best as we can and try to get through it safely,” he said.
He added it would be “good to continue that work” of securing funding to help people and Vermont businesses who have been affected.
If he is re-elected, Potter said he hoped to stay on the House Transportation Committee.
Potter said he has worked on a lot of safety issues on the committee including a ban on using handheld devices like cellphones while driving.
Potter encourages the use of saliva testing to identify drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.
Rep. Thomas Burditt, a Republican, is asking voters to support him for a sixth term in the Vermont House of Representatives.
Burditt, 64, owns a lawn maintenance business. He admitted that there are challenges right now as lawmakers continue to meet in Montpelier during his busy season.
Burditt said he’s campaigning again because he truly enjoys representing the people in his district.
“When I originally started, I never thought I would be up there that long but I do enjoy it. Not that I went to Montpelier to enjoy anything. It’s not any specific legislation, but when you can, you pass some legislation that’s going to do some good for some people,” he said.
Burditt, vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he wants to continue working on some legislation, being developed with members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force to protect children from predators.
Burditt’s son is an ICAC detective in Seattle, he noted.
The ongoing issue of the pandemic is what Burditt said he expects to be the biggest issue in Vermont as no one knows what the upcoming session will look like. He said he’s even heard there’s a possibility the lawmakers may not be meeting at the State House.
“There’s other things as far as the state goes like taxes and budgets and schools and those things which we deal with every year,” he said.
Burditt, speaking to voters, said he noticed a lot of representatives are retirees, lawyers and people with trust funds. Burditt said he’s one of the few blue collar workers in the Legislature and understands the needs of working people.
Burditt is a justice of the peace and served as a Select Board member in West Rutland in the past.
Arthur Peterson, 68, is seeking the House seat as a Republican.
Peterson worked as a contractor for the telecommunications industry but said he is now semi-retired.
He said he was a member of the Mill River School Board many years ago.
He is pursuing the Rutland 2 seat for the first time.
The primary motivation for his campaign is the Global Warming Solution Act. The bill is currently in the Legislature but it has received strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
Peterson said he thought the act went “far beyond the activities in which the state should be involved.
“I think it will be bad for Vermont and when I heard that was on the docket, I said, ‘I’ve got to run to try to put my finger in the dike a little bit,” he said.
Another issues of importance to Peterson is the “size, scope and cost of state government.”
“I think the scope is too large and the cost is too great for Vermonters to bear. I think we need to look at ways to consolidate agencies, eliminate agencies and overall trim our state government,” he said.
Peterson described himself as strongly pro-life.
Addressing the voters, Peterson said he was a “proven leader” who’s been involved in many local issues.
He said he’s been a leader of local youth sports program, including the development of football at Mill River, and said he was dependable and the “background I think it takes to make a good legislator.”