HOME PAGE: News - August 25, 2015




Smith Declares for Governor

    by Andrew Martin

    MORRISTOWN—Lamoille County residents could be voting for a local candidate for a state office when Election Day, 2016 rolls around. On Wednesday, August 19 Representative and Speaker of the House Shap Smith (D-Morristown) announced his candidacy for Governor of Vermont at a press conference held in his hometown. Smith’s announcement took place adjacent to the recently renovated and rebuilt Arthur’s building in the revitalized Morrisville downtown.

Representative Shap Smith declared his candidacy for Governor at a press conference held in Morrisville on Wednesday, August 19. Smith is the first candidate from any major party to declare for the seat, which will be vacated by departing Governor Peter Shumlin next year. A large crowd of friends, family, supporters, and media turned out for Smith’s announcement.  - Friedrich Photo

    “Today, I ask you, my family, my friends, and my colleagues, to gather here in the heart of Morrisville, in the heart of Vermont, to announce my candidacy for Governor of the State of Vermont,” Smith stated at the event.
    Smith is the first member of either major party to officially announce his candidacy for our state’s highest office. Current Governor Peter Shumlin announced in June that he will not seek reelection in 2016. A number of other candidates from several parties, including Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, are expected to announce their own candidacy in the coming weeks. Smith made his announcement surrounded by friends and family to a crowd of several dozen community and media members.
    According to Smith he made the final decision to run for governor a few weeks ago after a great deal of discussion with his family and the law firm he is a partner at Dinse, Knapp and McAndrew.
    “There was a lot of discussion with my family, and I had to make some decisions about what to do regarding work,” Smith explained in an interview with the News & Citizen, “I had to give it a lot of thought and make sure my family in particular was completely on board.”
    Smith was introduced at his announcement by Tracy Patnoe, the owner of the local child care center Mud City Kids, who spoke of her experience working with Shap and his family, as well as by his wife Melissa Volansky who described meeting her future husband for the first time.
    During his own remarks Smith praised the efforts that have gone into revitalizing Morrisville and the surrounding community. He used the former Arthur’s building as a prime example of those efforts.
    “I’m running for governor because the success of towns like Morrisville will be a vital part of our future,” Smith explained at his press conference, “And because I want every Vermonter to have the opportunities and the choices that I have had.”
    “I really think our state is at a turning point,” Smith added during his interview, “We need to invest in ourselves…”
    Smith remarked about his own childhood growing up in the local area and the joys that came with it. He went on to praise the work that towns like Morrisville have undertaken with state and community aid to revitalize and remake their downtowns, helping to turn many parts of the state around.
    “Morrisville isn’t alone – cities and towns across the state are leading the way…” Smith continued, pointing to other examples like St. Albans, Winooski, Hardwick, and Barre, “…Together we will build on this foundation, invest in our strengths and keep Vermont a place where people want to live, work, grow up, and grow old.”
    “As Governor, I want our state to be the state of opportunity – for entrepreneurs, for working families, for our young people,” he added, “I will support the local businesses that invest in their workers, invest in their communities, and protect the landscape.”
    During his interview with the News & Citizen Smith added that one of his main goals is to work to ensure that Vermont’s children have excellent educational opportunities and the option of going to college.
    “People are really concerned about whether their kids will be able to go to college and if they can afford it,” Smith stated during his interview when asked what some of the major issues he sees facing Vermont and Vermonters are. Other issues that Smith sees as major concerns for many Vermonters are rising property taxes and continued worries about the economy. Despite these worries he feels there is reason for hope.
    “I feel there are real reasons to be optimistic about what is happening,” Smith explained, “You look at businesses and the economy of towns like Morrisville which are growing.”
    He did add that while many towns and regions of Vermont are seeing economic growth that growth is uneven throughout the state and certain regions continue to have concerns with economic viability. He feels that continuing to identify places where growth can happen in these places and then using public funding to invest in the infrastructure and downtown revitalization efforts in those areas will be a positive step forward. Such investments have been made in nearby towns like Hardwick and Newport and those towns are now stronger economically. Smith believes that if such investments are made in places that are struggling than progress will be made.
    “Those kinds of investments can make a real difference,” he added.
    During his announcement press conference Smith also touched further on the issues of how schools are funded in Vermont as well as healthcare. He explained that he would like to see certain aspects of our education system, specifically those aspects that are working, retained moving forward but that other changes are likely needed. He also added that strides need to continue to be made in the healthcare field. He emphasized the fact that he does not want to be characterized as right or left thinking but wants to get the job done and let his ‘pragmatic, progressive record’ speak for itself.
    “Vermont is the state I grew up in, the state I came back to, the state I love, and the state I seek to lead,” Smith stated as he concluded his remarks at his announcement, “Today I ask for your trust and support in my candidacy for Governor of the State of Vermont.”
    Smith and his campaign staff are currently in the process of putting together a list of events and fundraisers, both local and around the state. He plans to continue in his role as Speaker of the House during his campaign, but after reducing his work schedule in the coming months he will be taking a leave of absence from his law firm beginning on January 1.
    According to Smith he has received a great deal of support and offers to help with his campaign in the last week, even before his announcement.
    “It’s been great,” he stated in reference to the outpouring of support, both locally and around the state. Nowhere was that support more evident than at his announcement press conference.
    “I thought it was a great event,” Smith said in reference to the press conference, “It was a lot of fun to see people I’ve known since I was five or six there to show support…it was a real hometown event.”



This Week's Photos

Area fire departments spent  a large chunk of the weekend at Applecheek Farm in Hyde Park, after a Friday night fire destroyed a reported 1,000 bails of hay. Excavators and a lot of water continue to be used to keep putting out rekindling fires in the massive amount of hay.  - Heather Smith photo




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Lamoille in the News

  • Hyde Park Court House Renovations Continue     by Kayla Friedrich    Following 30 years of discussions regarding renovations to the Lamoille County Court House and three months of work on those renovations, Engleberth Construction Inc. says they’re ...
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