"I've been a member of the Progressive party for a number of years and there isn't a very active progressive party in Rutland party," he said. "There was an opening to run as a Democrat, but I didn't want to be opportunistic about it and turn my back on the Progressive party."
John Malcolm, also a democrat, previously held the seat for 10 years. He said he chose not to run this time around because 10 years seemed like long enough.
Chesnut-Tangerman has previous political experience, serving as a selectman in Middletown Springs for ten years. He chose to run because he was brought up to participate. Vermont, he said, has a lot to be proud of, but there is still more to build on. He mentioned the recent Wash ington Post article that rated Vermont number one in children's health.
"[Now that we have] Making sure that affordable health care is available for everyone, in terms of finding fair and equitable ways of educating those children now that they're healthy and able to go to school, to develop a healthy economy that provides jobs to those children after school," he said.
Like many others running in this election cycle, Chesnut-Tan ger man is focusing on education and healthcare, two major issues to be discussed in Montpelier in January. With education, he said he is not locked into one position. With the diversity of Vermont's system - with independent, religious, homeschooling and hybrid educational alternatives - there isn't a one sized fits all solution, he said.
"Willing to listen to anybody that has a good idea I want to note that education funding as a percentage of gross domestic product has remained pretty steady," he said. "The percentage of the money we're spending on education has stayed largely the same over the past 30 years or so. So it maybe a means or question of where that money comes from and less reliant on property tax."
As for healthcare, Chesnut-Tangerman said he is a strong supporter of the move towards single payer health care. He said he believes that physical well being should not be linked to where someone is employed.
"It's almost like your health insurance being related to where you go out to eat," he said. "I think they need to be decoupled. We need to break that link because the two shouldn't be dependent on each other."
Along with these issues, Chesnut-Tangerman wants to be an advocate for energy and renewable energy. As a builder in the remodeling business, he said he's been involved in energy efficiency for nearly 25 years. He also said while the GMO labeling bill has past and been signed, there may still be work to be done due to the suit being brought against the state. Finally, he hopes to advocate for students and families regarding the issue of student loans.
"I think it's crazy that a student graduates from college and is expected to build a life, buy a house, settle down and raise children and they start with $100,000 in debt," he said.
Next week there will be a feature piece on the Republican primary between Valerie Legh Harriss and Eric J. Mach.
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