Just in case readers missed it, there are some spirited races going on around the region and the state. Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen all of the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor make whistle stops in the area. But there are also a number of other races for seats up for grabs. Lieutenant governor appears to be as wide open a race as the governor’s race. Locally, there are a number of primary races where real competition appears to be taking place. Most intriguing is the Democratic primary for Windham County senator, due to a number of strong candidates, but there are also challenges for incumbent local representatives and the Bennington County senate seats as well.
It will be an interesting political season to watch and participate in. Already, groups like the Tritown Economic Development Committeehave taken a proactive approach by hosting the gubernatorial candidates in a series of discussions centered on economic development.
What we really hope, and regular readers of this space will recognize as a repeated theme, is that we can elect leaders who will pay attention to the needs of the residents of the Deerfield Valley.
For all the lip service paid by candidates as they pass through the area, very few are equipped with the will, or understanding, to take on our region’s critical issues. That’s because so many of those issues run counter to the larger voter blocks in the state. Education reform? Sure, everyone says it’s needed, but the devil is in the details, and currently local towns are part of a tax redistribution program that sees millions of dollars taken out of the region every year. It will take a rare leader indeed to challenge that status quo. Economic development and job creation? Again, all agree on the principal, but when push comes to shove most new ventures are pointed toward Chittenden County or some of the larger population centers of the state. Very little traditional development activity trickles down to southern Vermont, and even less to the Deerfield Valley. We need to see some change on that front.
Vermont voters will have their say again this year, and with so many wide open races, results of this year’s elections could shape the state’s course for the next decade. That’s why we feel it is so critical to vote in the primary, either on August 24 or anytime up to then with an early ballot.
It all starts with a vote. It all starts now.