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Campaign Season Begins with Legislative Dominos

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photo: Sims for Senate Launches
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Rep. Katherine Sims launched her campaign surrounded by supporters at Butterworks Farm in Westfield, on April 29.

WESTFIELD – Rep. Katherine Sims (Olreans-4) has announced her intention to run for the Orleans County Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bobby Starr.

Sen. Starr recently announced his plan to retire at the end of his current term. He has served in the Vermont Legislature since 1979.

Sims made her announcement at Butterworks Farm in Westfield, on Monday morning, April 29

photo: Kelley Announcement Photo
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David Kelley of Greensboro has announced plans to run for Rep. Sims’ legislative seat.

Samuel Douglass, chair of the Orleans County GOP also announced his decision to run for Starr’s seat as well. His kickoff party is planned for 6 p.m., on May 3, at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport.

Sen. Starr is supporting Rep. Sims in her bid for his seat, introducing her at her Monday announcement.

Rep. Sims recently wrote, “Bobby Starr has served our rural communities for nearly five decades with his maverick spirit and signature sense of humor. His impact, especially on Vermont agriculture, is undeniable and his legacy will continue to shape Vermont for years to come. . .His retirement marks the end of an era and his absence will be felt at the Statehouse.”

She concluded, “He is leaving behind big cowboy boots to fill and whoever succeeds him will be in a position to get a lot of work done for the Kingdom.”

In announcing her run for a seat that she would be the first woman in 60 years to hold, she said, “As State Representative, I’ve collaborated across party lines to make policies, programs, and funding work for residents of the Northeast Kingdom. Now I’m running for Senate to do more for our communities.”

“We face tough challenges, and I’m ready to give the Northeast Kingdom a voice as we work to increase housing, revitalize our rural economy, and make life affordable for working Vermonters,” added Sims.

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Samuel Douglass, chair of the Orleans County GOP, is a candidate for Sen. Bobby Starr’s seat in the Vermont Senate.

Douglass, on his campaign website writes, “I see the NEK getting forgotten in legislation.    The cost of living in Vermont is rising, taxes are rising, the price of heating fuels are slated to rise, and all while the legislature votes to raise their own salaries. Many families in my region struggle to afford basic necessities or childcare. It’s heartbreaking when I go door-to-door and hear stories of families choosing between food and heating. I will not be voting to raise my own salary or benefits when the people of the NEK struggle to afford groceries or fuel.”

With Sims’ current seat open for the November election, Greensboro’s David F. Kelley and Glover’s Leanne Harple have shared their plans to run for Rep. Sims’ House seat to represent Greensboro, Craftsbury, Glover and Albany.

Kelley kicked off his campaign with a letter sent to voters of the district on April 24.

Harple made her announcement Monday, April 29, via email, which noted, “With a deep-rooted commitment to the well-being of rural Vermonters, her campaign will reflect the pressing concerns of affordable housing, climate action, education, healthcare, and mental health support.

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Leanne Harple will run for Rep. Sims’ House seat to represent Greensboro, Craftsbury, Glover and Albany.

“These challenges resonate deeply across our state, and I am especially attuned to their impact on rural communities,” she says. “Having been born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom, I am deeply invested in ensuring its sustainability for generations to come so that our children can continue to reside here and flourish.”

Rep Sims is endorsing Harple, saying, “Leanne Harple is a committed citizen of the community, She’s a former select board member, teacher, journalist and mother. She gets involved and works to make her community better.”

In the letter announcing his candidacy, Kelley wrote, “Along with nurturing a new emerging agricultural economy, reducing property taxes, and defending small rural schools, my other primary concerns would be developing new housing opportunities for young families, protecting the water quality of our lakes, ponds and rivers, our ridgelines, and wildlife habitat. I believe we can do better in all of those areas. I know Vermont. I know Vermont’s government and I believe I have the experience to be an effective advocate for our district.”

Rep. Joseph “Chip” Troiano has decided to retire. He has served the Caledonia-2 District, representing Hardwick, Walden and Stannard for five terms, almost 10 years as this session winds up. Troiano now serves on the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions, has been deeply involved in veteran issues and taken the lead on pollinator protection efforts.   

At the April 18, Hardwick select board meeting Mike Southworth announced he intends to run for Troiano’s seat. He said he is “looking forward to having the opportunity to serve the people of this community.”

Paul Fixx is editor of The Hardwick Gazette and lives in Hardwick.

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