Archive

Fourteen candidates vying for Vermont Senate

Fourteen candidates are running for Chittenden County’s six seats in the Vermont Senate. The Observer provided each candidate with a brief questionnaire; responses appear below. Election Day is Nov. 6. Independent candidate Sean Selby did not return his questionnaire on time.

 

Tim Ashe

City/Town of Residence: Burlington

Profession: Project manager at Cathedral Square, an affordable senior housing organization. I’ve managed construction projects creating or renovating nearly 400 affordable apartments with combined budgets totaling more than $30 million.

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 18

Running as: Democrat

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

Providing long-term, affordable health insurance and energy to residents and businesses. This year, Vermont hospital budgets have increased by a combined $101 million, while private insurance continues to soar. The health care industry is out of touch with Vermont’s economic reality. I’ll pursue reforms that provide heath insurance to every Vermonter and lower small businesses’ costs by taking a firm stance against these increases.

Federal stimulus funds spurred the deployment of solar and wind technology the past few years. Those dollars are now gone. Moving forward, we need to strike the right balance between investing in renewables and still more cost effective weatherization and electrical efficiency.

 

Philip Baruth

City/Town of Residence: Burlington

Profession: Teacher

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 20

Running as: Democrat

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

We’re in the fourth year of the great Recession, and the number one issue is still jobs. On the Senate Agriculture Committee, I worked to strengthen the Sustainable Jobs Fund and to implement Farm-to-Plate—450 jobs added to the state’s food sector so far. I also helped draft the Working Lands Bill, to capitalize businesses in sectors that keep open lands open, like forestry and value-added agriculture. If reelected, I’ll continue to push for growth that leaves Vermont looking like Vermont.

 

Patrick Brown

City/Town of Residence: Burlington

Profession: Small business owner; educator

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 31

Running as: Independent

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue? 

There are several issues facing Chittenden County today, which are of significance, e.g. affordable housing, job creation and high tuition for in-state students.

The most important issue, however, is health care. If elected to the Vermont Senate, I will be advocating for single-payer health care, but with a slide. Those who can pay more based on income should do so and those who cannot must be covered. It is similar to the coverage offered by the veteran’s administration.

 

Larkin Forney

City/Town of Residence: Milton

Profession: Self-published author

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 33

Running as: Green

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue? 

There is a serious problem in the world, not just the country or the state. We need to make Vermont more business-friendly by reducing the business and corporate tax as well as the regulations. Eliminate the property tax. Stop being part of wars on terror, drugs, the poor. I plan to address these issues by seceding and keeping our money in Vermont. Put more money into education. There is no reason one school is less or more from one town to the next. Put philosophy, sociology, psychology and real history back in schools, not just colleges. Legalize marijuana and decriminalize all drugs to stop the cartels a little bit.

 

Sally Fox

City/Town of Residence: South Burlington

Profession: Attorney (not currently practicing)

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 36

Running as: Democrat

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

The most important problem we face is the condition of the economy. Although we are better off than the rest of the country, we still have an unacceptable rate of unemployment and underemployment. People are struggling with the high costs of everything from energy to health insurance. The number of hungry children eligible for subsidized meals has increased by 30 percent.

The legislature and the administration must work with the business, education and non-profit sectors to strengthen our infrastructure, provide access to capital, institute a predictable and progressive tax policy and make a more responsive government in order to create and retain jobs in Vermont.

 

Debbie Ingram

City/Town of Residence:  Williston

Profession: Williston Selectboard member, Executive Director of a non-profit (Vermont Interfaith Action) that addresses community issues, business owner in film production

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 10

Running as: Democrat

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

The most important issue is health care reform. Evidence shows a single-payer system is the most efficient, cost-effective and humane system possible. One important component is that insurance is decoupled from employment, freeing our businesses from exponential increases in premiums. Vermont is off to a good start, and I’ve been involved in mobilizing concerned citizens for reform. The next phase will require many tough decisions, including how we finance the new system. In the state senate, I will use my knowledge, experience and common sense to work with others to develop the best health care system in the nation.

 

Richard “Terry” Jeroloman

City/Town of Residence: Burlington

Profession: Retired New York lawyer

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 6

Running as: Progressive

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

Single-payer health care is the most important issue. I will work to make it more inclusive, including dental work and hopefully dental implants, too. Health care should be financed with a progressive graduated income tax and I will work to make the Vermont income tax much more progressive so that the rich can begin to pay their fair share and normal people making less than $250,000 can pay less tax than they do now. To finance other state programs, I will work to decrease the property tax for homes valued at less than $500,000 and to greatly increase property tax on more valuable properties. I believe in using the tax system to redistribute the wealth.

 

Bob Kiss

City/town of residence: Burlington

Profession: Twenty-year career in non-profit administration, human services and advocacy with additional six years as a State Representative and six years as mayor of Burlington.

Years in Chittenden County: 39

Running as: Independent

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

We must create sustainable economic development that builds good jobs with good pay. But, economic development can’t come at any cost—it must be balanced with values that respect and protect our environment. Successful schools, comprehensive mass transit, educational and training opportunities, affordable housing, decentralized energy solutions and accessible healthcare are the building blocks of sustainable economic development and good jobs.

As your state senator, I’ll work to create and support this infrastructure so that we can achieve sustainable development that brings and keeps good jobs in Chittenden County. This will ensure a bright future for all of us.

 

Robert Letovsky

City/town of residence: Jericho

Profession: Professor/Chairperson, Deptartment of Business Administration & Accounting at Saint Michael’s College

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 26

Running as:  Independent

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue? 

Vermont is an amazing place to live. However, I fear that everything we value here is at risk unless we confront a major challenge facing us in the next 20 years: Vermont is the second-oldest state in the country. We are losing young Vermonters at a faster pace than ever. We must preserve Vermont’s future tax base. That means tackling the challenges facing young Vermonters, particularly the relative lack of good jobs and the high cost of living. If we don’t, how will this state pay its bills and honor its future obligations? If elected, I will work to alter the conversation in Montpelier to address this critical question.

 

Virginia “Ginny” Lyons

City/Town of Residence: Williston

Profession: College Professor

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 41

Running as: Democrat

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

Cost of living is a core concern for Chittenden County residents. This stems from increased cost of fuel for homes and businesses, transportation and food. Legislation can link education and workforce development for 21st century jobs—thermal efficiency, fuel development, transportation options and farm-to-plate initiatives. Local food production saves money, enhances tourism and improves nutrition and health outcomes. Legislation can soften the blow of fuel cost increases and help people through expansion of thermal efficiency, coordination with heating assistance programs and fuel diversification. Cost savings for homes and businesses, improved comfort, economic security and job creation result. My leadership improves cost of living for Chittenden County residents.

 

Shelley Palmer

City/town of residence: Williston

Profession: Construction worker

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 17

Running as: Tea Party Independent

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue? 

The State wants to run the health care system. This is a very bad idea. They can’t manage a 45-bed mental health facility in Waterbury. Taxing services will kill businesses and jobs. We need smaller government and less regulation so my children can afford to remain here. The largest tax increase in our state’s history is coming. If you like that, you can vote against me. We are destroying our freedoms and liberty. More taxation will not fix our problems.

 

Diane Snelling

City/Town of Residence: Hinesburg

Profession: Artist, caregiver

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 59

Running as: Republican

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

Preserving and creating a healthy economy is the most important issue facing Chittenden County. We need jobs and opportunities to maintain the community we value. I will continue to work to balance the State budget and to create a regulatory environment that protects Vermont and also welcomes new business. I appreciate your past support and ask for your help in realizing a positive future for Vermont and Chittenden County

 

David Zuckerman

City/Town of Residence: Hinesburg

Profession: Vegetable and meat farmer

Number of years living in Chittenden County: 23

Running as: Progressive/Democrat

What is the most important issue facing Chittenden County today? If elected, how will you address that issue?

As a small business owner for 14 years, I am aware of many challenges. The most important issue is the economy. This includes healthcare, transportation, start-up businesses and housing. Each is related to the next. We must get healthcare costs contained, access expanded and quality maintained. This will save money and allow for increased entrepreneurship and thereby increase jobs.

Through better transportation options, we will also reduce individual costs, while creating opportunities for business creation and expansion. With better economics, we can focus on building more housing, including affordable housing, which will also keep our construction sector better employed.