Fairlee, West Fairlee and Bradford to elect state representative next month

  • Zachary Lang (Courtesy photograph)

  • Monique Priestley (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 10/27/2022 8:40:30 PM
Modified: 10/27/2022 8:40:16 PM

Residents of Fairlee, West Fairlee and Bradford will vote to elect a state representative for their three-town district — Orange-2 — at the polls on Nov. 8.

Voters will choose between Republican candidate Zachary Lang, 28, of Bradford, and Democratic candidate Monique Priestley, 36, also of Bradford. Priestley won the primaries in early August, and Lang was the only Republican to file for the seat.

General election results will determine a replacement for the district’s seat in the Vermont House of Representatives, which has been occupied by Democrat Sarah Copeland Hanzas, who is now running for Secretary of State.

Lang, who ran for the same seat two years ago, says he’s running again for essentially the same reasons.

“I love our state, and I love our community even more,” he told the Valley News. “I want a chance to be the voice of Bradford, Fairlee and West Fairlee and to be sure that they are heard.”

Lang, who attended Bradford-area schools, now works as an EMT for three local ambulance services, including Upper Valley Ambulance in Fairlee, First Branch Ambulance in Chelsea and South Royalton Rescue. Lang has been serving the area and the Town of Bradford as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical responder for about 10 years. Last year, Lang became town health officer in Bradford.

Among Lang’s top priorities if elected is improving the state government’s efficiency by addressing Vermont’s dependence on taxes.

“One of the most common issues I have come across in my district would be taxes,” he said. “No one wants to pay (them).”

Lang’s goals to alleviate this tax-related stress include supporting the growth of existing local small businesses and farms, as well as encouraging more businesses to come to the area. Enhancing local commerce will help alleviate taxes and make Vermont more affordable, he said.

For Priestley, this is her first time running for state representative, but she’s served as a justice of the peace, auditor and chairwoman of the Bradford boards of civil authority and abatement. She’s also volunteered for a variety of public service positions, including the Bradford Conservation Commission, the Bradford Merchants Association and the Cohase Chamber of Commerce. She also is the founder and executive director of a Bradford-based nonprofit community workspace called The Space On Main, as well as the director of digital for Seattle-based CampusCE Corporation, which provides web-based education management software to educational and corporate training institutions.

Running for office feels natural given her experience working with communities and local government as a volunteer, Priestley said.

“I am very excited to jump in and learn,” she said. “I am also very excited to engage community members who have never felt like government is accessible.”

Economic prosperity and community development are important to Priestley. Housing, child care and workforce development are other issues that have been voiced by constituents, she said.

Priestley has targeted these topics in the past through her volunteer work, and getting in touch with legislators about potential bills being written for the coming session is one of her current initiatives to help address these issues as state representative for Orange-2, she said.

Priestley said school choice hasn’t come up while speaking with constituents, but she’ll continue to inquire about it if elected.

Lang supports school choice. “Parents know their children best,” he said. “(They) should be able to choose a school that best suits their children.”

When asked about her stance on abortion, Priestely says she’s “committed to defending people’s rights to make decisions about their own health, body, sexuality and reproductive life.”

Lang didn’t comment on his stance on abortion.

When asked about inflation, Preistely told the Valley News that “there are bigger systems at play” like growing demand for goods and services, global supply chain problem, and pandemic-related recovery, she said.

“This recovery has been incredibly uneven, driving an increase of wealth for some and resulting in lost income and suitable jobs for others,” she said. “In the short term, people are going to need assistance with things like fuel and (rent). In the long-term, we need to make investments in career training and education, child care and our workforce.”

To combat rising energy costs, investing in local and efficient renewable energy sources is necessary, Priestley added. A Burlington initiative that focuses on green technology solutions and other “homegrown startups” throughout Vermont could serve as models, she said.

On the topic of inflation and rising energy costs, Lang said that prices are out of control.

“This is why Vermont needs to focus on growing our businesses so we can be less dependent on other states,” he said. “If elected, I promise to reach across the aisle and work with colleagues to reduce taxes and lower fuel and electricity prices.”

Polls in all three towns will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.

In Bradford, polling will be at the Bradford Academy Building, 172 North Main Street.

In Fairlee, polling will be in the Fairlee Town Hall Auditorium, 75 Town Common Road.

In West Fairlee, polling will be at the Community Building/Town Office, 870 VT Route 113.

Rose Terami can be contacted at rosoterami@gmail.com.

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