Teresa Ellsworth, a Londonderry resident, has announced she will run as a Progressive candidate for the district that includes Londonderry, Jamaica, Stratton, Weston and Winhall. Ellsworth moved to the area in 2009 and has previously run for political office in New York and worked on campaigns. "I've always been involved in politics, all my life," she said. "I decided to be involved on the progressive side of politics, I'm not running as a Democrat, because I believe it gives me a lot more independence. I've met all the progressives up in the state house and I love them ... they want to help me to get started."
Ellsworth said she has thought about running for about a year and chose this election cycle because Oliver Olsen, who represented the district from 2009-12 was currently running uncontested. Olsen, who ran as a Republican in 2010 after filling out the unexpired term of his predecessor, Rick Hube, announced a bid to return to the statehouse two weeks ago. This time, he will be running as an Independent candidate.
Ellsworth said she did not want him to run without some opposition and choice for the voters.
An issue Ellsworth thinks is important for Vermont is the lack of affordable housing. While the minimum wage has been raised, something Ellsworth said is great for the state, it is still not enough.
"Young people can't stay here, they get out of college and it's just too expensive to live. There aren't enough jobs to pay the rent," she said. "A lot of people are leaving Vermont and that's something that I want to really be on top of. I want to make it comfortable for young people to stay here and for the elderly as well, to have some kind of help with the taxes, whatever it takes to keep people in Vermont."
Property taxes and their relation to education spending, she said, are difficult to change because education is a necessity and Vermont does not have an industrial base to tax. The other issue with education prices, she said, is the population is declining. Health care, however, should not add to the tax burden, she said.
"When we go to single payer, the taxes should go down actually because it's going to spread the money across everyone," she said. "There will be a much bigger pool and it's well known that when you have national health care or single payer that the prices just go way down."
Now that Ellsworth has made her decision to run and filed the paper work necessary to do so, she wants to listen.
"I'm going to do a door to door knocking campaign, a listening tour and I will listen and I will go up there and work my butt off to help my neighbors in Vermont. We deserve it," she said.