LETTER TO EDITOR: Former VT state senator sees Klar as candidate of hope, opportunity

By Mark Shepard

July 6, 2020 – In the race for governor, Vermonters have three very different choices. In the Republican Primary there is a choice between a sound and exciting vision and constructive ideas with reason for hope vs. the directionless flailing in the wind that Vermonters have witnessed and weathered since Phil Scott won his first term as governor. Then in the General Election Vermonters will again have the failed, oppressive ideas of the Democrat/Progressive/Socialist Party.

I served with Phil Scott in the Vermont Senate.  He is easy enough to get along with, never one to make any waves. He generally floats along with the majority in the political world, which in Vermont is the radical left.  He does occasionally take a stand on some budget and tax items giving him some cover as a Republican.  

Phil Scott is a decent race car driver and his political life has many similarities to his car racing. He maneuvers as needed to stay at the front of the pack, but in reality he really goes nowhere, just around and around with no destination in mind. He has no target to guide his decisions.

John Klar is such a welcomed contrast in every respect.  He is a skilled thinker and knows how to capture ideas and transfer those ideas to others.  He has a broad range of experiences that connect him well to Vermonters. I would love to still be in Vermont, just so I could cast a vote for John. 

“So even with deep Vermont roots and enough love for Vermont to warrant the huge personal sacrifice that came with trying to help via elected politics, Rebecca and I determined that it was best for our boys if we raised them somewhere else. Vermont, with its abundance of unhealthy ideas and lack of healthy opportunities, is a very dangerous place to raise a family.” – Mark Shepard

But the reason I am not in Vermont, is the reason you should seriously consider voting for John.  After serving two terms in the Vermont Senate, I ran for Congress. I ran for two main reasons and winning was not one of them.  I ran to ensure that limited government and free-market ideas would at least have some visibility.  I also ran to find the level of support for such ideas. 

Sadly, the national and Vermont Republican Party lined up in the primary behind my opponent who was, out of the gate, an advocate for government control on top of government control. In many ways it was hard to distinguish her ideas from the ultimate winner, Vermont’s current congressman, Democrat Peter Welch. 

The national and Vermont Republican parties were not just pulling backroom maneuvers to ensure their big-government candidate, who had just turned Republican so she could run in that race, would win.  The national GOP put $400K into the primary, sent two Bush women and John McCain to help ensure I lost that primary. The Vermont Republican Party officially endorsed her and many “conservative” Republicans followed their lead, as they focused on winning and had little concern about ideas. 

While that tantalizing trip with a big-government candidate stained the Republican Party, it also sorted out the wheat from the chaff, making it clear that there really was no opposition party willing to stand against the Democrat/Progressive/Socialistic oppressive ideas. The Republican Party was worse than useless; it actually was pushing many of the same wrong-headed thinking.

So even with deep Vermont roots and enough love for Vermont to warrant the huge personal sacrifice that came with trying to help via elected politics, Rebecca and I determined that it was best for our boys if we raised them somewhere else. Vermont, with its abundance of unhealthy ideas and lack of healthy opportunities, is a very dangerous place to raise a family.

The primary race between Phil Scott and John Klar is a new opportunity for the Republican Party in Vermont to show it is opposed to socialism. Republicans should not be just floating down the river of political currents in Vermont. Vermonters have already encountered many destructive rides over the waterfalls of oppressive ideas along that path and there are surely worse ones ahead. 

Vermont needs a governor who will work to get Vermont out of that river of oppression and into a river that flows toward opportunity.  I encourage all my Republican friends to vote for John Klar in the Republican Primary and to work for him and the many people running with him for the legislature.  The Klar campaign is clearly not about John and his run for governor.  John understands that without changes in the House and Senate, the ideas he is championing will go nowhere.   

Help John and those running for the House and Senate with him to win.  I know it can be done, as happened with me when about 100 people volunteered tirelessly to make “unwinnable races” solid victories. Surely it does not have to get even worse than it is now for conservative thinking people to help people like John Klar who have jumped in the ring to give Vermonters real options and reason for hope. 

Not everything can or will be fixed by simply electing good people. After the election, don’t just leave it to those elected to turn around Vermont.  Thousands of Vermonters have been confused by decades of wrong-headed ideas pushed on our little state by people with dangerous agendas.  Help bring a shift in thinking. 

The goals for most people are not that different, but the proposed paths are radically different and the path of the left will never lead to good ends, just more oppression. Have conversations with people in your sphere, starting with the goals you agree on, and then walk down each proposed path while considering the human response to each. History is a great teacher and much less painful than experience.

Photo, taken at the Reagan ranch in California, of former President Ronald Reagan and the author, who represented Bennington County in the Vermont State Senate from 2002-2006. He and his family live in Virginia. He operates an engineering business he founded in 1993.