By Guy Page
Former Gov. James Douglas has endorsed the Republican candidate for state senate in Orange County – 2020 gubernatorial candidate John Klar.
Klar is the sole Republican in the race. He is challenging longtime incumbent Democrat Mark MacDonald.
“Vermont is the greatest place in the nation to live and work, but we still face serious challenges: a shrinking workforce, declining enrollment in our schools, a huge unfunded pension liability and controlling state spending after Federal COVID funds dry up,” Douglas said in his endorsement statement. “We need balance in Montpelier. We need real-world experience. John Klar has the energy and the background to tackle our problems. I hope he’s the next Senator from Orange County.’
Douglas seems to be taking aim at the Democratic/Progressive supermajority that currently controls the senate. During the last biennium, only rarely could the Republicans rally enough independent and/or centrist Democrat votes to muster even the 11 votes needed to sustain a gubernatorial veto. Also, Republican senators have complained that their voices are ignored during committee discussions.
Klar ran an “outsider” primary campaign for governor in 2020 that, while failing to gather much opposition to incumbent Phil Scott, did attract many candidates for the Legislature – including several ‘unknowns’ who were elected. Among them were Sally Achey, who defeated the head of the Progressive House caucus in the general election and as a legislator sounded the alarm about H715, the Clean Heat Standard bill; and Samantha Lefebvre of Orange, an emerging leader in the House GOP caucus.
Klar isn’t the only member of his household running for the Legislature. His wife Jackie, a nurse, is seeking the Orange/Washington/Addison seat in the House of Representatives. Wayne Townsend is the other GOP candidate for the two-district seat, which is held by incumbents Larry Satcowitz and Jay Hooper.