LONDONDERRY >> Rep. Oliver Olsen formally announced today that he will be seeking re-election to the Vermont House this November. Olsen currently represents the Windham-Windsor-Bennington district, which includes the towns of Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, Weston, and Winhall.
Commenting on his announcement, Olsen said, "It continues to be an honor and privilege to serve the people of Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, Weston, and Winhall - with the support of the voters, I hope to continue representing our community in Montpelier."
As an independent with a centrist record of working across party lines, Olsen has put Southern Vermont's economy and education at the top of his legislative priorities. Eschewing the typical campaign hyperbole and lofty platitudes, the self-described "policy wonk" reaffirmed his commitment to pragmatic policymaking.
Olsen highlighted a number of accomplishments during this past legislative session, including the establishment of the "Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone", which encompasses the town of Weston and all of Windham and Bennington Counties. The federal government recently awarded a grant of $230,000 to fund economic development initiatives within the zone area.
"Southern Vermont faces serious challenges, but we have many unique assets that can be leveraged as we work to transform our regional economy," said Olsen.
Other accomplishments included legislation that will draw down an additional $1 million in annual federal funding for Vermont's ambulance services and defeating proposals that would have limited school choice.
Education and education finance policy remains an area of focus for Olsen, who facilitated an extensive public engagement process over the past year to help educate local citizens on Act 46, the state's education governance reform law.
Olsen was first appointed to the Vermont house in 2010, to serve out the remainder of the late Rep. Hube's term in office. He was subsequently elected to the House in 2010 and again in 2014. During his legislative career, Olsen has served on the powerful tax-writing Ways & Means Committee, the Natural Resources & Energy Committee, and the Joint Legislative Information Technology Committee. Additionally, he has served on a number of special legislative workgroups and task forces, including a task force on education reform established by the Speaker of the House in 2014.
Over the years, Olsen has been elected and appointed to a variety of leadership roles within the local community. He has chaired the selectboard and planning commission in Jamaica, and was recently elected Town Moderator in Londonderry. Olsen serves as a trustee of Burr & Burton Academy, an independent high school that many local students choose for their secondary education, and serves on the Weston Playhouse Theater Company board of directors.
A resident of Londonderry, Olsen is married with three young children and is the director of global consulting operations for a large enterprise software company.