By Matt Krauss
What, no senator from Barre?
Montpelier’s 2020 census figure was 8,024. The combined population of Barre City (8491) and Barre Town (7923) during the last census was 16,414, over twice the population of Montpelier.
I’ve lived in several locations in Montpelier and worked there as a 30 year state employee. I relished the involvement, spirited debates and eclectic life of Montpelier.
However, the possibility of two former Montpelier mayors representing Washington County as state senators while Barre has none strikes me as fundamentally unfair and wrong for the citizens of Washington County. As does the prospect of all three state senators coming from Montpelier.
What gives me right to make these bold assertions? I was a State Representative from Barre City serving the old North End. And a State Senator for Washington County while living in Barre City. Barre Town and Barre City are totally different communities then Montpelier. They have different cultures, traditions, needs and goals. Barre City is considered the donut hole to Barre Town’s donut and you’ll find friends, relatives and employees living and working in both communities.
To avoid a partisan battle, perhaps Barre City and Barre Town leaders could come together, discuss and then support a unified candidate from Barre regardless of their political party. Perhaps an Independent candidate can be encouraged to run. Maybe someone like former mayor Tom Lauzon could convene a Barre City/Barre Town leadership group to explore ensuring a Barre resident is elected in November. And it would enliven the debate issues focusing on the concerns of Barre.
Barre is known for its service clubs such as the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks (BPOE 1535). Sometimes jokingly referred to as the Best People on Earth (I am a former member so please allow me this small joke). How about an Elk member?
How about a member from the Mutou, known far and wide for their feeds? BTW – Their full name: The Societa’ di Mutuo Soccorso (Yes, I am a former member and loved their feeds).
How about a member of the Barre Youth Sports Association (BYSA)?
Wouldn’t a member of the Barre Fish and Game Club make a great state senate candidate?
How about someone from the Spaulding High School community? There is a wealth of talented present and former employees, board members and parents to choose from.
How about someone from the Canadian Club with its many members of French Canadian descent?
Perhaps a former employee or someone with a connection to the Barre Granite Industry?
How about someone well versed with Thunder Road, the Nation’s Site of Excitement? I seem to remember a former State Senator from Barre who followed me to the Vermont Legislature. I’m told he’s done quite well representing a “slightly” larger audience.
How about a state employee who lives and works in Barre?
I moved to Stowe after approximately 50 years as a resident of Washington County. Ironically the legislature decided Stowe should now be included in Washington County. Finding myself once again part of Washington County in November I will cast three votes for the state senate.
There are many talented individuals living in Barre who would make a great State Senator. I’ll bet they can coalesce around a consensus candidate to fill this open seat. Come November I would love to vote for and see a Barre resident elected and headed to the legislature representing my former home, Barre.
The author, of Stowe, is a happily retired state employee and former Vermont legislator. Feedback is welcomed at email@example.com