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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.

As a representative, and again a candidate for office, it is an honor and a privilege to get to know the towns and the people I represent, and I don’t take it for granted. When I listen to my constituents, I learn what the pulse of the state is, at least in this area. Visiting a cemetery and paying respects to a member of the founding family of Buels Gore is a rare experience, and I am grateful that I stopped and was able to read the epitaph and snap the photo.

I expect to snap a number of photographs that will represent my campaign, the people I meet and the places I see throughout the fall. I’ll share them here.

 

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