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Washington-Chittenden: Waterbury, Bolton, Huntington & Buels Gore

The Day Before Election Day

November 3, 2014

reptomstevens

It’s just before 6:00 AM on the Monday morning before election day. I’m having a quick cup of coffee and a small breakfast before I get in a car with Rebecca Ellis and motor over to Huntington (35 minutes over the hill) for a honk and wave — you know, one of those candidate chores where we stand on a corner and wave to the folks as they go to work, or as they drive their kids to school, or both. We’ll get a lot of thumbs up, a few thumbs down, some waves, some smiles, and a handful of folks who keep staring ahead.

Does this feel important? No, or at least not in the same way as helping to write legislation that will help Vermonters, be it a raise in the minimum wage or shoreline protections or renewable energy. But we do it because we would like to return to the State House to do the best job we can for our constituents and for Vermont. And whether it FEELS important is beside the point — it IS important, because we need to let people know that there is an election, and that the time to vote is now.

I’m honored to have had the opportunity to serve, and the opportunity was made possible by the efforts, dedication and service of others, from veterans in the battlefield to our predecessors in the legislature, to the people who implement our laws. Please vote. Your vote is your voice, and many people have worked extremely hard to make sure, here in Vermont especially, that your vote, and your voice, matter. There are many excuses not to vote, but you only need one to get out there and do it — it is a privilege and an obligation, and I hope, no matter if you support me or not, that you will vote in the election tomorrow.

Best.

On the Campaign Trail No. 1, 2014

August 26, 2014

reptomstevens

 

Headstone of Catherine Buel, Huntington

The primary in Vermont is today, August 26, and Rep. Rebecca Ellis and I do not have an opponent in this election. We will face an opponent in November, a candidate running as an Independent. And with the passing of the primary, we truly begin the fall campaign. In Vermont, our tradition is to knock on as many doors as practicable, or as possible. Our district, Washington-Chittenden, is not an easy walking district — it stretches from the Waterbury-Stowe border to the edge of the village contiguous to Moretown and Duxbury through Bolton until one nearly gets to Mount Mansfield Union High School, and out to Buels Gore, just over the mountain from Mad River Glen. The kids who live in Hanksville, at the far end of the Main Road, have a 23 mile drive to high school if they go MMU. It’s a big area, much like many legislative districts in Vermont and, like many of them, there seems to be a town on the other side of a mountain that has little connection to the main town in the district, in our case Waterbury. Overall, we represent nearly 8,500 Vermonters. 

Knocking on doors or, as I did this past weekend, participating in a fundraiser called Bike for the Barn, gives us the opportunity to listen to our constituents and to see parts of the towns we may not see if we are coming out for Town Meeting, or for a spaghetti dinner.

This photo was taken in a cemetery in the Upper Village in Huntington, and it is the headstone of Catherine Buel, consort of Elias Buel, Junior. Elias was the son of Major Elias Buel, who was awarded the grant for the small piece of land called Buels Gore. I like to stroll through old cemeteries — though not as much as my friend, Dan Barlow — and while I was biking on Saturday past, I stopped to see some of the stones in this cemetery. Soon enough, I found Catherine. I didn’t notice she was a Buel at first.

What stood out was her epitaph: 

“She died in charitable hope of a happy exchange of worlds.”

I thought that a rare and beautiful sentiment, and a mature way to face earthly mortality. Read more

Before We Forget, Let Us Remember

August 9, 2014

reptomstevens

2014 Accomplishments

As we quickly approach election season, it will be easy to forget some of the major accomplishments achieved by your Vermont Legislature. Election season is a time where we stop being “legislators” and become “politicians.” As someone who enjoys representing my constituents, as well as shaping legislation that benefits all Vermonters, it is always a bit sad when our office is reduced to “politics” and the good and hard work we did in the winter and spring is forgotten, replaced by the “could haves” and “should haves” and “will do” of campaigning. It need not ever be different — we do our work in the bright lights, if you’re looking — so I would like to take a moment to highlight some of the things we did these last two years, and provide you with a list, mostly but not wholly prepared by the executive branch, of the things that passed through the legislature and became law, as well as some of the economic successes we’ve seen. You can click here to get a view of the list that I’ve produced for this site.  Read more

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