When longtime Barre Town legislator Rob LaClair opted to not seek re-election, businesswoman Gina Galfetti threw her hat into the ring. She and incumbent Francis “Topper” McFaun are the only Republicans on the ballot for the two-seat district. The following questions were submitted to candidates by another newspaper. Galfetti’s reponses are published below. – Editor.
Q: Tell us about yourself and your priorities.
A: I am a native of Barre and graduated from Spaulding High School and the University of Vermont, majoring in political science with a minor in history. I am the owner/employer of G-Force Painting and a “hands on” employee as well. About my priorities, I am concerned about the lack of affordability of living in Vermont, the need for greater employment opportunities, and the changing issues regarding public safety.
Q: What are your thoughts about Prop 5?
A: Vermont’s laws regarding abortion are among the most liberal in the nation, and I don’t see that changing. The question will be put to the people of Vermont and I will stand with what the people decide in this matter.
Q: Are there ways you’d like to see Vermont’s gun laws changed?
A: Vermont already has the best gun laws in the country, and we don’t need to change them. I am very concerned about public safety, but we need to concentrate on the people who abuse firearms or should not have them in the first place. Better enforcement of the gun laws and criminal laws that we already have will help to keep firearms out of the wrong hands. I also think that we need to focus on hardening our schools to prevent gun violence.
Q: Real estate prices in Vermont have increased significantly in the past couple of years, and the housing inventory is low; do you see a solution in the legislature to make home ownership affordable to Vermonters?
A: We need to define “affordable housing.” It should mean “housing that is affordable to the average working Vermonter,” but it has come to mean “government subsidized housing.” I support the former but not so much the latter.
Much of what the legislature has done in terms of passing new regulations has raised the costs of construction; we can de-regulate and streamline the entire permitting process to have something far more efficient. Our landlord-tenant laws make it so difficult to evict a bad tenant that few people want to be landlords in Vermont anymore; we can speed up court processes to eliminate delaying tactics by delinquent tenants.
Q: What’s the most important thing you can do as a State Representative related to climate change?
A: Realize that Vermonters cannot afford to solve the problem of climate change by ourselves. Make sure that anything we do is affordable, reasonable, and will produce measurable results. Use common sense.