LONDONDERRY - Lawn signs are proliferating across the "mountain towns" district that includes Jamaica, Weston, Londonderry, Winhall and Stratton. The one contested race for a state representative seat in the area pits two independent candidates against each other, and they will meet face to face at a candidate's forum to be held at Flood Brook Union School on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Both Emmett Dunbar and Charles "Tim" Goodwin hope to get the nod of a majority of voters as they seek to replace incumbent legislator Oliver Olsen, who held the Statehouse position for three years as a Republican and chose not to run for re-election this year.
Emmett Dunbar has been a local farmer and owner of Anjali Farm in Londonderry for the last 15 years.
Dunbar served for three years on the West River Montessori School Board, is a volunteer educator with the Four Winds Nature Institute, formerly known as the Environmental Learning for the Future (ELF) program at Flood Brook Union School, and is also a volunteer with the Collaborative and Food Pantry's community garden project in Londonderry.
Dunbar said running as an Independent will be an advantage in this year's election.
"I am and always have been an independent. I don't want to have to identify with any political party," said Dunbar, "As a independent, I would be able to go to Progressive, Democratic, and Republican caucus meetings. This would give me a distinct advantage while state rep."
If elected, Dunbar said he will tackle major issues by such as lowering property taxes, economic growth, promoting quality education, supporting local businesses and preserve family farms and early childhood education.
All issues point toward one thing, young people and their families, Dunbar said.
"I have been going door-to-door to spend time and talk to the locals," Dunbar said. 'What I have noticed is there is a staggering reality in the depth of poverty and the height of wealth. Are the poor getting what they need and are the wealthy putting in more than their fair share? I will be taking a very close look at Vermont's tax laws and see how they impact the people in this district."
Dunbar said he is confident that he is gaining support from the local community and that he is a people person who is worried about the issues that effect his district the most.
"What does matter is what I have done and how I have brought people together. I make things happen," Dunbar said.
For more information on Emmett Dunbar can be found on his web site; www.emmettforhouse.org.
Dunbar's opponent, Charles "Tim" Goodwin, of Weston, has logged many years of service to local organizations and civic boards. Goodwin believes he has the knowledge and experience to make a difference in Montpelier. That experience includes being a school board member at Flood Brook Union School, and more recently, Weston. He is currently a lister for the Town of Weston, and spent a number of years as an accountant for the federal government.
Goodwin is running as an independent and believes it's the best choice since he has received high praise and support from individuals within both the Democratic and Republican parties.
"I have learned as I've gone around and shook hands with people and chatted with them that there is a lot of disenchantment with both parties in Washington," said Goodwin, "and people seem to admire a person that wants to break from that and be able to act as an independent."
Among the top priorities that Goodwin finds the most important is property tax reform, economic growth, and community advocacy.
His main concern about property tax reform is in regard to the shifting burden on K-12 education onto the property tax over the past two years.
"We in this district, when that rate gets raised and funding fails to come over, we won't be getting a good deal. The first thing we have to do is take a defensive stand against that. Rick Hube did it, Oliver did it, and I will continue to do it," Goodwin said.
Hube was Olsen's predecessor as the district's state representative, who passed away unexpectedly in December, 2009. Olsen was appointed by then-Gov. Jim Douglas to fill the remaining year on Hube's term. Olsen then won election to the seat in his own right in November, 2010.
Regarding economic growth, Goodwin believes that young Vermonters need to be given more opportunities to find and create rewarding careers in the state. Affordable college education is an issue he feels needs to be addressed in helping keep young Vermonters in Vermont.
"Post-secondary education is not as readily available in Southern Vermont as it should be," said Goodwin. "Young people do leave southern Vermont and go to UVM and stay up there because there are more opportunities, or they leave the state."
For more information on Charles "Tim" Goodwin and his campaign visit www.goodwinforhouse.com.
The forum at Flood Brook Union School will start at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10.