Tom Kelly of Barre City announced May 26 he is a candidate for the House of Representatives.
“I intend to represent the citizens of Barre City by bringing a more conservative voice to Montpelier and to the legislative process,” Kelly, a former Army officer and Vermont deputy prosecutor, said. He and Brian Judd, both Republicans, will seek to hold seats now held by Reps. Peter Anthony and Tommy Walz, both Democrats. Walz is not seeking re-election, but Anthony is and he’s joined by Democratic candidate Jonathan Williams.
Kelly is also taking aim at the “super-majority” in the Legislature that has resulted in ill-advised legislation.
“The House and Senate are both controlled by veto-proof two-third majorities. If the two-third majority in either holds together on any piece of legislation, any bill can become law even if the Governor opposes the legislation,” he said. “In my view, the lack of balance in Montpelier has resulted in ill-advised policies and proposals.
He cited as examples:
- the introduction of a proposed “personal reproductive liberty” amendment to the Vermont constitution which is unnecessary and vague. If approved by voters in November the amendment will enshrine late-term abortion and lead to parts unknown – wherever clever lawyers and the courts may try to take the undefined and open-ended language of the amendment.
- overbearing government overreach in response to COVID.
- a proposal to address climate change which if successful would have risked job losses and dramatic increases in the cost of heating homes with little or no demonstrable impact on the global environment, “except to perhaps create more open spaces as Vermonters fled,” Kelly said.
- a proposal to legalize prostitution in our state.
- a proposal to eliminate qualified immunity for police which will only hinder the ability to recruit and retain officers, and
- a proposed statute to permit the administration of gender-blockers without parental consent.
“I believe my life experience, education and career qualify me to represent this community in the legislature and provide that more conservative voice,” Kelly said.
He has called Barre City home since 1965, graduating from local schools and in 1976 from Norwich University with degrees in government and criminal justice. Kelly’s 29-year military career (active and reserve) as an MP and an Army lawyer saw active-duty stints in Germany and Kuwait.
After graduating Notre Dame Law School in 1984 and clerking on the Vermont Supreme Court with Justice Louis Peck, Kelly spent over 30 years as a Vermont prosecutor, including five years as a drug prosecutor and two four-year terms as the elected Washington County State’s Attorney. He was recently appointed to serve on the policy committee at the Barre Unified Union School District.
“I am committed to principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence and our national and state constitution,” Kelly said. “I draw further inspiration from a book by Eric Metaxas, If You Can Keep It (2016). The title refers to an anecdote about Benjamin Franklin when he was exiting the Constitutional Convention in 1789 after 100 days of deliberation on the new constitution for the United States of America. As related by Metaxas, Franklin was reputedly asked by a Mrs. Powell, ‘Well doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?’ Franklin replied, ‘A republic madam – if you can keep it.’ The survival of that republic depends upon citizens in each generation participating in the preservation of the republic.”