A special thank you to longtime Rutland retailer, Bonnie Hawley, for her words of support:
“I worked with Jim Harrison for many years while serving on the Board of the Vermont Retail & Grocers Assn. He is a true professional with the knowledge and experience to serve his district well. And he is a gentleman and man of honor. We could use many more like him in the political world today.”
In April of last year, when I was deployed with my US Navy Seabee unit, I had to resign as the State Representative for Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington and Mendon. When that day came I made it clear to Governor Scott that our district was being afforded the opportunity to send a real game-changer to Montpelier - if he were to appoint Jim Harrison to the vacated seat. Fortunately for the Rutland-Windsor 1 district (and the entire state in fact), the Governor did just that.
There are 3 main reasons I asked Governor Scott to appoint Him.
1. Jim Harrison is Vermont’s preeminent small-business mind. When Vermont is able to reverse the troubling trends of our mounting costs and disappearing youth, it will be because our business community will have regained its footing. Nobody in Vermont understands this better than Jim. During his 25 years as the president of the Vermont Retail and Grocer’s Association, Jim gained matchless insight into what Vermont’s businesses truly need to be successful and the many ways Montpelier can either help or hobble them. His knowledge is not just of the academic and bar-graph variety. It is salted with real world examples, meaningful relationships across the state and a deep understanding of how our business community lives in harmony with Vermont’s values.
2. Jim enjoys deep respect, affection and admiration across party lines. During his years as an advocate for businesses and their employees in Montpelier, Jim established an unrivaled reputation for integrity, original thought, good humor and a love of solutions. That has not changed. He showed up ready to work on our behalf in a legislative body eager to hear what he had to say and never doubting that he meant every word of it – knowing he was working in the best interest of his neighbors and not for anyone else. In this hyper-politicized environment we all find ourselves in, Jim is a welcome antidote to the sometimes rigid and tribal nature of modern day political discourse. He is a man that believes Vermont’s path forward should be paved with universal respect, compromise and inclusiveness – and he lives it every day.
3. Jim gets things done. The obstacles in Vermont’s way are serious ones and they can’t be talked to death. Jim is not only equipped with the skillset, knowledge and temperament to articulate a path forward, he is unusually gifted in his ability to move the ball. He understands the algebra of legislation while still maintaining his clear-eyed grasp of what it all means to you and me…refusing to do anything but work to improve the lives of his neighbors in our beautiful community.
My friends, Jim is a simply outstanding representative. He has raised our district’s profile and worked to bring our concerns front and center. We need him to return to Montpelier and persevere with this important work. I guarantee he will continue to be a results-driven leader motivated by nothing other than being the strong and respected voice our district deserves.
Very Respectfully –
I am both humbled and honored to receive such a strong endorsement from Job, who was elected our state representative in 2014 and again in 2016. Jim
With the November 6 Election Day coming fast, it may be time to take a look at potential issues that may be before the Legislature next January. No doubt, the ones listed are just a sampling of topics. There are also inevitably “sleeper” issues that seem to pop up each session that may not have been on anyone’s radar beforehand. In addition the annual budget plan and spending priorities always garner a lot of debate.
Act 250 – A special commission has been holding meetings around the state to gather input on priorities of Vermonters with the Act 250 land use law. Recommendations to update the 50 year old law are expected to come before the legislature in January.
Affordability – The Governor has made affordability in Vermont a key political issue since the campaign in 2016. The conversation will continue and will definitely be part of the undercurrent for most issues before the general assembly in the coming year. Scott has made it clear in the past two years that he will take a dim view of new tax and fee proposals.
Carbon Tax – Several groups are expected to push hard for enactment of a new carbon tax (or as some now refer to it, carbon pricing). Included in the recently enacted budget for this year was also an appropriation of $120,000 to study the issue, which will bring recommendations back for consideration by lawmakers.
The Joint Fiscal Office of the Legislature contracted with Resources for the Future (RFF), to complete a study of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont. RFF will examine 4 decarbonization policy approaches (including the much publicized ESSEX Plan) and will provide qualitative analysis for other options to reduce carbon.
I do not support a new carbon tax in Vermont that would increase the price of gasoline and heating fuels.
Clean Water Funding – Everyone supports clean water, except perhaps when it comes time to how to pay for it. Scott has indicated he might favor redirecting a current state tax to fund clean water programs, while legislative leaders and a number of advocacy groups want new taxes or fees rather than reduce state spending in other areas.
Dairy – With recognition that the state’s dairy farmers continue to struggle with low milk prices, there will likely be discussions on how to help support this important segment of our state. However, with milk pricing policy coming from Washington and with an estimated 90-95% of Vermont’s output going out of state, solutions are often evasive. Meanwhile, State officials are hopeful the new trade deal with Canada will open up some new markets for Vermont dairy products.
Drugs and Opioid Addiction – Discussions will continue on how the State can best curb to the drug addiction problems and build on some of the current work being done.
Economic Growth – While the legislature attempted to spend some time on solutions for the economic divide that is apparent in Vermont between the more populated areas of Chittenden County and the rest of the state, it is clear much more needs to be done.
I hope to be working with our State Commerce officials to propose support for our small businesses that want to grow and creative new ways to market Vermont through social media and the ThinkVermont initiative. Additionally, more emphasis needs to be placed on the importance and opportunities at our trade schools to prepare for a number of good paying jobs.
Education funding – With Vermont’s system of state funding determined by local budgets, lawmakers grapple every year with how best to contain the growth of per pupil costs while ensuring quality education for our students. Another look at the funding formula and resulting taxes is also expected, although finding consensus is difficult. Compounding the challenges of high per pupil cost is the changing demographics in Vermont, which is resulting in fewer students and therefore smaller schools. The cost of pre-K to 12 education now approaches $1.8 billion and is the largest line item in the overall state budget.
Firearm restrictions – Depending on the makeup of the new legislature, there could be new proposals for gun restrictions beyond those passed this year.
Marijuana – Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Vermont this past summer, there appears to be growing interest in a “tax and regulate” market for cannabis. Additionally, impairment while driving could be revisited. Last session a proposal for saliva testing passed the House but was rejected by the Senate.
Minimum Wage – Another debate on increasing Vermont’s minimum wage to $15.00 over several years from the current $10.50, which is indexed to CPI, will be on the docket. Scott vetoed the measure last year, citing an estimated 2,800 loss of jobs in Vermont as well as the impact on small businesses and consumer prices.
Non-Citizen Voting – The city of Montpelier will have a referendum on the ballot this November that would allow non-US Citizens living in Montpelier to vote on local matters. If approved, it would need to also be sanctioned by the legislature, which could prove to become a politically charged issue.
Paid Family Leave – Gubernatorial candidate, Christine Hallquist, and Democratic leaders have renewed the call for a new paid family leave program funded by a payroll tax on employees. Governor Scott vetoed the measure this past session because of the new tax on workers.
Thank you Bridgewater Grange for hosting last night's candidate forum for state representative as well as the Windsor County Senate. It was great to see some 50 people in attendance who were very engaged on a number of topics.
This Wednesday, September 19, 7:00 pm, there will be a candidate forum for state representative (Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington & Mendon) and state senate (Windsor County Senate). The event will be held at the Grange Hall in Bridgewater Corners (Route 100A just south of the Corners Store on Route 4). All are welcome.
With the fall campaign season now upon us, I will be scheduling a few “meet & greets” at town transfer stations within the district to connect with voters and garner input on how I can best serve you in Montpelier and help grow Vermont’s economy.
Saturday, Sept. 8, 9:00 am-12:00 pm – Killington Transfer Station
Saturday, Sept. 15, 9:00 am-12:00 pm – Bridgewater Transfer Station
Saturday, Sept. 22, 9:00 am-12:00 pm - Chittenden Transfer Station
Also, on Wednesday, September 19, 7:00 pm, there will be a forum for candidates seeking to be state representative (Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington & Mendon) and state senators (Windsor County). The event will be held at the Grange Hall in Bridgewater Corners (Route 100A just south of the Corners Store on Route 4 and near Long Trail Brewery). Come join us.
Lawn Signs now available – email me if you would like one
I appreciate all who voted in the August 14 primary and those in the towns of Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington and Mendon that also supported my candidacy on the ballot for a new term as state representative.
I believe strongly in fiscal responsibility and advancing bills that will improve our economic future. I am also a believer in the legislature getting its work done in the budgeted time allotted. The overtime session this year could have been avoided in my view (I forgo legislative pay to do my small part in needlessly costing taxpayers’ money).
This past session I supported or sponsored legislation to improve the state’s economy, improve the efficiency of the legislative process, lower taxes on Social Security benefits, streamline the Act 250 process, provide consumer protection measures for small businesses and allow pharmacists to disclose the cash price of prescription drugs.
While I don’t have all the answers, I will bring a practical and sensible approach to issues. I will continue to keep district residents informed through various communications. Lastly, I will not promise things we cannot afford.
We have lived in Chittenden since 2006 and in Vermont for close to 35 years. Pat and I have two adult children and are blessed with three adorable grandsons. I am the former president of the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association and prior to that, I held various management positions in the food industry.
I hope you will support me on Election Day, Nov 6. I know the players, the process and understand the politics to best serve our district. And I am committed to promoting policies that will help our region.
For more information on my candidacy, please visit www.harrisonforvermont.com
State Representative for Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington & Mendon
A Meet & Greet is scheduled for Thursday, August 23, 7:30-9:30 am at the Greenbrier Inn, Route 4, Killington. Be sure to stop by for coffee and let me know what issues are most important to you. A huge Thank you to Jennifer Iannantuoni and Steve Nisimblat for hosting the informal community event.
Hope to see you there!
I am an independent minded Republican, who believes strongly in fiscal responsibility and advancing efforts that will improve the state’s economic future. I bring a pragmatic and balanced approach to issues. We have work to do to create opportunities for Vermonters and make sure we do everything to spend public dollars wisely and minimize overall tax burdens. I will not promise things we cannot afford.
I will work tirelessly to promote fiscally sound ideas that preserve Vermont’s unique heritage, help small businesses flourish, and benefit hard-working Vermonters. I feel strongly I can make a positive contribution for our region as the representative for Bridgewater, Chittenden, Killington and Mendon.