By Guy Page
Vermonters bemoaning the lack of political balance, common sense and new blood in the Vermont House of Representatives may be encouraged by the decision of four newcomers from Lamoille County.
Nichole Loati lives and operates a small business in Morristown. A candidate for the Lamoille-Washington (Morristown, Elmore, Woodbury, Worcester) district, she wants to help small businesses recover from “the pandemic economy.”
“My business closed for a while,” she wrote to Vermont Daily Chronicle. “Thankfully most of the companies around here did reopen, but then came the labor shortages, supply chain delays and increasing costs of materials. It’s been a rollercoaster. It’s sad to see how many of our local businesses who thought they’d made it through the worst faltered from the post-Covid aftermath and closed due to lack of staffing or skyrocketing material costs.
Governor Scott has faced unprecedented challenges,” she said. “Our approach needs to remain flexible and shift as the world shifts around us. I’m looking forward to working alongside Governor Scott and our other elected officials to fix what’s broken.”
Loati considers herself non-partisan. If elected she promises to “make sure everyone in the room has a chance to hear my community’s voice. Vermont isn’t just Chittenden County and Montpelier. That’s something I feel our state legislature forgets sometimes.”
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Both Loati and Ben Olsen are Republicans running in a two-seat district where one incumbent, Dave Yacovone, is not seeking re-election.
Olsen, a young businessman, believes the legislature is falling short on addressing core issues-of-concern for middle class and generational Vermonters. “As a lifelong Lamoille county resident, I intend to spend my time on addressing Vermonters’ needs using common sense. We have become so focused on our differences that we have forgotten how much we have in common.”
Married 15 years to his high school sweetheart, Nakysha from Jeffersonville, and raising four young children, he understands the importance of local families as the building blocks of society. Ben points out, “It is becoming impossible to fill your gas tank and continue to afford food for your family, let alone find the shelves stocked with what you need.” Ben and his wife have a new baby, and the thought of no baby formula for folks in Morristown should concern everyone, he said. “There is no reason we should not be able to afford and enjoy a great life right here with our families,” said Olsen.
He and his wife purchased their small business in 2017 and he keenly understands the difficult situation Vermont employers face with “Help Wanted” signs everywhere. The sky-high taxes and cost of living for everyone doesn’t help. Ben believes, “We need to get back to work and to pursue more “Yankee ingenuity” solutions and fewer Golden Dome laws which few can explain.”
Ben’s number one goal is to make Vermont a more affordable place to live for all its citizens. As the campaign continues, he will offer some detailed solutions on other critical issues including:
- expanding local farming and food cultivation
- protection of 2nd amendment rights
- upholding parental rights
Ben is a lifelong Lamoille county resident. He grew up on an Elmore tree farm, learning how to work with bees, wood and mechanics, and wandering the forests. He attended Morristown Elementary, Bishop Marshall School, and Stowe High School. He has an undergraduate degree in Communications and a MBA from Franciscan University. He has visited over 20 states, volunteered on two mission trips to impoverished countries, spent months traveling Europe, and walked the concentration camps in Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Rebecca Pitre is running for the Lamoille-3 seat covering Waterville, Cambridge and Belvidere. She recently wrote this letter to people in her district:
“I’m Rebecca Pitre, and I’m running for Lamoille County District 3 State Representative. I read recently that the Constitution of Vermont is the shortest state constitution in our nation. So, I’m going to follow suit and not waste your time with a bunch of idle chatter.
“My husband Tom and I are blue collar through and through. We are self-employed and a team in every way – from construction to sugaring to caring for livestock. A strong work ethic and frugal living have benefitted us well through nearly forty years of marriage. I apply those principles to every task I take on.
“My life has always revolved around serving my family and community. Through more than sixty years of living, I’ve acquired a ton of experience, an abundance of education and, more importantly, common sense. I’ve always considered myself a bit of an independent. But when a friend asked me if I would consider running as a Republican, I decided to read the party platform. The Vermont Republican Party platform is beautifully written. It truly sums up my feelings and the reasons why I am running for office.”
Jed Lipsky, an independent and professional logger, is seeking the Stowe House seat vacated by longtime Republican Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, who has declined to seek re-election.