Olsen throws hat in ring
Olsen, a Jamaica resident, was appointed to the Legislature in 2009 to fill out an unexpired term of his predecessor Rick Hube and then won a seat in the state legislature in 2010 to represent the towns of Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, Winhall and Weston. He is returning to politics after choosing not to run in 2012 due to the conflict of juggling professional and family life with his responsibilities in the Legislature.
Charles "Tim" Goodwin (Ind.), who currently holds the seat, announced earlier this year he would not be running for re-election.
Olsen officially announced his decision in an email over the past weekend.
"It was an honor and a privilege to represent our community in the Vermont House from 2010 to 2012, and I hope to earn the privilege of representing you again," he stated.
Originally, Olsen was elected as a Republican but this time around he has chosen to run as an Independent. He said he has always been fairly independent and considers himself a centrist.
"I have been encouraged to run by, and have support from, a number of Republicans and Democrats in our district as well as Democratic and Republican elected officials," he said in an email. "With the challenge of having to juggle full time work responsibilities, I simply don't have time to deal with overhead that comes with a party label."
Olsen said he has received overwhelming support for his candidacy after having discussions with individuals in the community. Like many other candidates, Olsen is also focusing in on the problems facing Vermont's education finance system.
"There will be a lot of pressure to fix Vermont's Education finance system in the next legislative session; I have the experience and ideas to help shape a solution that could be more favorable to our community," he said in an email. "Earlier this year, the Vermont House expressed its intent to look seriously at an education finance formula modeled on legislation that I introduced in 2012."
Other priority issues included education governance, health care and economic development, which Ol sen said he is sure will be a focus of the 2015-16 legislative session.
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