Rematch set for Newbury,Vt.-area House seat

  • Joe Parsons (Courtesy photograph)

  • Kelsey Root-Winchester (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 11/2/2022 2:50:36 AM
Modified: 11/2/2022 2:50:17 AM

NEWBURY, Vt. — In a rematch from 2020, Republican Joe Parsons and Democrat Kelsey Root-Winchester are facing off on Nov. 8 for a seat in the Vermont House of Representatives.

Parsons, 38, of West Newbury, and Root-Winchester, 35, of Newbury, are competing to represent the towns of Newbury, Groton and Topsham, which comprise the Orange-Caledonia District.

After beating Root-Winchester by 308 votes in 2020, Parsons has held the seat as state representative for Orange-2 for the past two years.

The two differ in their views on abortion and how to address inflation. Both support school choice.

Parsons, who grew up in Bradford, works as a flooring installer for Valley Floors, a position he’s held for 18 years. He has also served on the Newbury Selectboard for four years and has also been a member of the local board of civil authority, board of abatement and town budget committee.

He’s running for re-election because “diversity of thought is extremely important when crafting legislation,” he said.

Issues that speak to Parsons include the high cost of living in Vermont, overregulation, housing and affordable child care.

“We have to remember that every dollar we spend comes from the pockets of Vermonters,” he said. “No matter how noble the cause that we spend those dollars on, overspending actually makes it harder on the exact people we want to help to become self-sufficient.”

For Root-Winchester, running for state representative of Orange-2 is a natural step to support her community.

“I feel strongly about giving back to the community that’s so gracious to me and my family, and I really just want to have that opportunity to help,” she said.

Root-Winchester, who has lived in Newbury for 12 years, is the co-owner of the Wells River Wellness Hall, where she helps to manage the business and teaches reiki, health coaching and yoga. She’s also been a member of the Blue Mountain Union School Board for the past six years and has been a part of the Wells River Action Program and Little Rivers Health Care board.

As state representative for Orange-Caledonia, one of Root-Winchester’s priorities would be making Vermont more affordable for families. Increasing affordable housing and energy efficiency in homes, along with bringing new businesses and affordable high-speed internet to the area, expanding high-quality affordable child care and access to affordable healthcare are all issues Root-Winchester said she wants to address.

Parsons, who voted against Prop 5, also known as Article 22 and the Reproductive Liberty Amendment to the Vermont Constitution, when it came before the state Legislature said he doesn’t support unlimited elective abortion access but will vote against any future bills banning abortion.

“I feel for anybody having to make that decision and understand that there are many cases where it is the best option, medically or personally,” he said.

Meanwhile, Root-Winchester said she’s in favor of Article 22.

“Everybody has the right to choose what is best for their own bodies,” she said.

The candidates have opposing views on how best to address inflation.

For Parsons, smaller government is the answer. Parsons said he aims for “a government that does not spend beyond the means of the citizens it represents” and an “economy that leads to fewer people in need of government services.”

He also said finding an effective way to “make sure (electric vehicle) drivers are contributing to our infrastructure fund the way most drivers do with the gas (and) diesel tax” is another initiative Parsons plans to pursue if reelected, he said.

For her part, Root-Winchester said she wants to help existing and new programs alleviate financial stress for Vermonters.

“As far as energy, we need to see more initiatives to help people find alternative renewable energy sources,” she said. “We’ve had some great incentives and tax credits for solar. and I’d like to see those continue for several more years to help more people get solar and make that more affordable.

“Although we can’t change the whole global market just from a Montpelier standpoint, we could help support families who are really struggling with the costs of inflation,” she added. “It’s all part of making Vermont affordable and a place that people want to continue to live.”

Parsons, who said it would be more convenient to send his children to school in Bradford, supports school choice. “We are fortunate enough that Newbury has an incredible school that offers amazing opportunities and educators,” he said, adding that “families deserve the choice.”

Root-Winchester also supports having school choice and wants to make sure that towns with high schools are supported and “fully funded and have the resources they need to operate excellent schools,” she said.

Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 in the Upper Valley town of Newbury. Voting will take place in the elementary school gymnasium, 214 Pulaski Street.

Rose Terami can be reached at

Sign up for our free email updates
Valley News Daily Headlines
Valley News Contests and Promotions
Valley News Extra Time
Valley News Breaking News

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy