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John Gregg: Races Taking Shape

  • Ron Miller is a legislative candidate to represent Woodstock, Plymouth and Reading. (Courtesy photograph)

Published: 5/18/2016 11:23:46 PM
Modified: 5/19/2016 12:18:00 AM

A race is taking shape for the Woodstock-area Vermont House seat long held by state Rep. Alison Clarkson.

Ron Miller, a former educator and bookseller who has been active in civic life in Woodstock, said this week he has filed petitions to run as a Democrat for the House seat representing Woodstock, Plymouth and Reading.

“Although I love the work I’m doing in the community, this is an opportunity to help find solutions to some of the challenges facing Vermont,” Miller, 60, said in a news release. “Too many people are struggling to meet basic needs such as housing, health care, nutritious food and education. And we need to continue working on long-term responses to climate change and other environmental issues.”

On the Republican side, Plymouth resident Keith Cappellini plans to run, according to GOP County Chairman John MacGovern. Cappellini, who has worked as a television producer, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Miller has lived in Vermont since 1992, taught history and education at Goddard and Champlain colleges and was the founder and board president of the Bellwether School in Williston, Vt.

He owned Shiretown Books in Woodstock from 2011 to 2014, and has served on the board of Sustainable Woodstock and on the planning team for the Bookstock Literary Festival, among other activities.

Clarkson, who took office in 2005, is running for a Vermont Senate seat from Windsor County.

The filing deadline for Vermont legislative races is next Thursday. According to MacGovern, former state Rep. David Ainsworth, R-Royalton, plans to challenge Rep. Sarah Buxton, D-Tunbridge, in a rematch for their two-town seat.

On the statewide front, Caledonia County Republican Deborah Bucknam, of Walden, Vt., this week said she plans to run for Attorney General. Bucknam graduated from Vermont Law School in 1979 and has been active in legal and political circles in the St. Johnsbury area.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan is running as a Democrat in the bid to replace Attorney General Bill Sorrell, who is not seeking another term.

Brock’s Plans

Several prominent Vermont Republicans, including gubernatorial candidates Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman, will be at the VFW in Hartford tonight for a dinner and speeches hosted by Hartford Republicans. Among the attendees will be former state Sen. Randy Brock, a former state auditor and gubernatorial candidate now running for lieutenant governor.

The 72-year-old Brock, a Swanton, Vt., resident who was an executive vice president responsible for risk oversight at Fidelity Investments, says he sees the lieutenant governor’s office as offering a platform to use his business and political skills to help the state.

He wants to help build an economy “that works and that is, in fact, economically vibrant and affordable.” Among Brock’s ideas are creating new financial and insurance instruments — akin to the state’s captive insurance industry — to capitalize on the coming transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth that baby boomers will be passing on to their children in the decades to come.

Brock, who in September 2013 presciently warned of problems with the Shumlin administration’s Vermont Health Connect system before it launched, also said he thinks Vermont could develop more home-grown information technology jobs, especially to address up to $700 milllion in “legacy IT systems” that state government will be replacing in upcoming years.

Brock also has a hand in a key Upper Valley institution. He is on the board of trustees at Vermont Law School and serves as chairman of its audit committee.

N.H. GOP Governor’s Race

State Sen. Jeanie Forrester, the Meredith Republican running for governor, has set a conservative course in her campaign. This week, she announced an economic plan that includes “one-stop shopping” for entrepreneurs starting a new business in New Hampshire.

Forrester, whose district includes several Haverhill-area towns, is also calling for a “one-stop center” to guide development projects through the permitting process, and for a property tax incentive to encourage business expansion for employers that make capital improvements.

Forrester’s plan drew a stinging response from the campaign of state Rep. Frank Edelblut, a first-term lawmaker from Wilton and former accountant and entrepreneur who is also running for governor.

“Longtime politician Jeanie Forrester’s plan is long on pretty pictures and short on solutions,” Edelblut’s campaign said via email. (In case you wondered, it’s pronounced ED-el-blue.)

A third Republican candidate for governor, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, is taking a more moderate course. The former Senate president announced the endorsement of 11 former state senators, including Bob Odell, a well-regarded centrist from New London.


John P. Gregg can be reached at

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