Freilich campaign has local touch

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MANCHESTER - As Vermont politicians crisscross up and down the state looking to gain votes in the upcoming November elections, Burr and Burton Academy students and teachers will see some familiar faces on the campaign trail.

Daniel Freilich, an independent candidate running against Sen. Patrick Leahy and Len Britton, has a current and a former Bulldog on his team. Campaign manager Kevin Molduene is a former BBA student and Corbin Chase is a junior at BBA and a campaign intern.

Molduene, who was known as Kevin Griesing when he attended BBA, was a student at the local high school for his freshman and sophomore year, from 1996 to 1998. Molduene then moved to Washington state where he graduated from high school and college.

Molduene returned to Vermont for Freilich's campaign this year, hoping to help the independent candidate get his message across.

"I heard about Dan Freilich through some various family and friends here in Vermont that he was looking for help," said Molduene. "I thought a tour back east would be fun."

Molduene returned to Burr and Burton this summer and was walking around campus when he ran into an old teacher, Rob Hunter. As the former teacher and student got to talking, Molduene expressed interest in getting students involved in the campaign.

"I remembered Corbin [Chase] had expressed interest in getting involved," said Hunter. "Then I bumped into Kevin and thought of Corbin and told her to call him."

Chase, who just began her junior year at BBA, knew very little about Freilich before getting involved in his campaign. She was interested in getting involved in a political campaign and jumped at the chance.

"I kind of took the opportunity that [Hunter] gave me as a way to get involved," said Chase. "That was what I was really interested in doing. I've learned so much."

Despite not knowing much about Freilich, she is now a bonafide supporter of the independent candidate.

"I believe in Dan and I really think he will win one day," said Chase.

Freilich, a Wilmington resident, is a doctor and U.S. Navy captain who is running as an independent in the general election after losing the Democratic primary to Sen. Patrick Leahy for Vermont's Senate seat.

Freilich earned 11 percent of the Democratic primary vote, the most that any candidate has gotten against Leahy since the 1970s, a fact that Molduene is very proud of.

Freilich is running in the general election because he wants to return a sense of fair play, reasonableness and equality to the government. The candidate believes that a change is needed to fix what he believes has become a flawed system. Freilich has run on a campaign of a progressive tax system, turning away from special interests and pork spending and developing a sustainable enery policy, according to his Web site.

"10,000 people voted for him [in the Democratic primary], that's a something that should be at least listened to," said Molduene about his candidate. Molduene said that a particular teacher at Burr and Burton, Joe McClellan, helped spark his interest in politics by having students read Newsweek every week and learn about the outside world.

"At the age of 16, 17 that played a big role in thinking about politics, thinking about life, thinking about what's going on" said Molduene. "That got me started on that trend of trying to keep up to date, I would say that got me started on that path."

Chase agreed with Molduene's sentiment and said that BBA does a good job at encouraging students to get involved in any interest.

"Burr and Burton does do a good job at getting kids involved," Chase said. "All the teachers all encourage it, they're always there if you want to get involved."

Chase, who is also a varsity tennis player, has always been impressed with the time and effort that teachers put in to helping the students. That showed in the way that Hunter, an English teacher and Chase's advisor, helped steer her to an opportunity she might be interested in.

"I remember when Corbin first got here, she really jumped in with both feet," said Hunter of his impression of Chase. "

Molduene remembers his time at BBA and was always impressed with the school, where he participated in the drama programs.

"Burr and Burton is a very loving school. You feel protected," said Molduene. "You feel like the teachers really care about you. They do an excellent job."


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