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To the Editor:

On Thursday, May 14, we filed our statements of candidacy to represent the Bennington-4 district — Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate and most of Sunderland — in the Vermont House of Representatives. The primary is on August 11 and the general election is on November 3. This is a two-seat district and we're running together because we believe we can be an effective team for this district.

In her first term as a state rep, Kathleen served on the Education Committee and was appointed to the six-state New England Board of Higher Education. She worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to found the new Tourism Caucus and was elected to the leadership team of the Climate Solutions Caucus. She's also an active member of the bipartisan Rural Economic Development Working Group. Here at home, she helped to form the Southern Vermont Communications Union District, which was approved by 12 communities on Town Meeting Day.

The CUD just won a $60,000 grant and is working to bring broadband to underserved roads and regions in Bennington County.

This groundwork will prove invaluable if the state is successful in directing federal stimulus dollars to broadband expansion across the state. In the House, Kathleen has been an effective advocate for paid family leave, strong schools, climate action, and economic opportunity for our rural communities.

Seth has a long history of local leadership. When he served previously in the legislature, he led work on affordable housing and the environment. He is a well-known community leader, having served as town moderator, helping to found the Manchester Community Land Trust, for his work chairing the Burr and Burton Academy Board of Trustees and as a founder of The Shires, a county-wide organization with the mission of tying the county together both socially and economically. He is perhaps best known for his work as president of Hildene, an organization he helped transform from a house museum to a world-class cultural heritage site that draws thousands and thousands of people to the area each year.

Nobody in the legislature gets anything done by themselves. In the professional workplace of the statehouse, you get results by working well with your colleagues. We both have proven track records — a demonstrated ability to get things done through the right combination of leadership and collaboration. Even as we look forward to working closely together for the benefit of our district, we're also independent people and independent thinkers. We may not always vote exactly the same, and we may sometimes break with our party on a given issue, but we'll always work effectively with each other, with our colleagues in Montpelier, and with the people we serve.

We will work hard to earn the trust and respect of our fellow legislators, and we will work hard to earn that same trust and respect from the people of the towns we represent. We ask for your support in the upcoming election.

To learn more about our campaigns, go to kathjamesforstaterep.com and seth4house.com. Or contact us. Kathleen can be reached by email at kathjames4staterep@gmail.com or 802-733-1435. Seth can be reached by email at sethbongartz4staterep@gmail.com or 802-598-3477.

Rep. Kathleen James,

Seth Bongartz,

Manchester Center


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