Candidates face off to represent Orange-1 in Vt. House

  • Carl Demrow (Courtesy photograph)

  • Samantha Lefebvre (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 10/19/2022 10:15:02 PM
Modified: 10/20/2022 9:26:16 AM

Two Vermont House candidates are vying for one seat to represent Orange District 1, Republican candidate Samantha Lefebvre and Democrat Carl Demrow.

The Nov. 8 election will determine who will represent the Upper Valley towns of Corinth and Vershire, as well as Orange, Vt., and Washington, Vt., in the Vermont House. This is a new district. Previously, these towns, as well as Chelsea and Williamstown, Vt. had two representatives.

The two candidates, who also faced each other in 2020, differ starkly in their views on abortion, school choice and the high cost of energy.

Incumbent candidate Lefebvre, a 27-year-old Orange resident who as a legislator has served on the House Committee on Government Operations and the Government Accountability Committee, does not support Article 22, an article on Vermonters’ ballots this November which would amend the state’s constitution to protect Vermonters’ reproductive rights.

“I am not in favor of the language that this was presented with,” said Lefebvre, who is the assistant director at Little Flock Nursery and Preschool in Barre, Vt., is a licensed nursing assistant on the maternity unit at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, and a rental property owner and manager.

Though she accepts that there are times when abortion might be necessary, she said she has some unanswered questions about the proposed amendment, “What age does this start? Who will be informed if a minor is involved? What does this cover? What is ‘State interest’?”

Meanwhile, Demrow, a Corinth resident and a carpenter and construction worker who represented Orange-1 from 2019-20, supports Article 22.

While in the Legislature, Demrow served on the Institutions and Corrections Committee. After losing his seat to Lefebrve in 2020, he became a member of the Corinth Selectboard last year.

“I am an unequivocal supporter of Article 22,” formerly Prop 5, Demrow said in a telephone interview.

In the 2019 session Demrow co-sponsored H.57, which grants Vermonters the right to abortion. Even so, when Prop 5 was first proposed, he said he was unsure it was necessary, but his thinking has changed.

“At the time I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know if this proposition is important or needed when we’ve got a law,’ but I think the (U.S.) Supreme Court has proven me to be wrong about that. It’s very much needed, and if we’re going to have these protections for women in our state to make their own health care choices and consultations with their doctor, we need this constitutional amendment so that a future legislature can’t undo it with a week of work,” he said.

The two also differ in their views on education. Lefebvre supports school choice.

“As a student who excelled in a technical career center, I fully advocate and support families being able to decide what is a good fit for their child,” she said in an email. “No two students are alike, and it is important that we are giving Vermont children the best foot forward to be able to learn not only in the classroom but tools for life outside of it. I believe that the dollars should follow the student.”

In contrast, Demrow said he does not support school choice, at least at the elementary level, and instead advocates for communities to support their local schools.

“I think what it does is lets communities off the hook for taking responsibility for making sure their school is a good place for their kids to go,” he said. “I would like to much more see communities that are 100% behind making their school a great place for their kids to get educated, I think … that’s the responsibility we all have.”

The two also would take different approaches to address high costs of heat and energy amid inflation.

Lefebvre said she would like to see increased support for local businesses. In particular, she said she “really would love to see regional agriculture distribution centers.” At such facilities, farmers could bring their products to be processed and sold, she said.

“Some of the biggest complaints I have heard from vegetable and produce farmers is that they don’t have the time and resources to do the extra work to get the product to the shelves,” she said. “If we are able to raise our own beef, pork, chicken, and more without the added unwanted chemicals and could do so here, we could cut down on the transportation from states so far away.”

In addition, to address the high cost of energy, Lefebvre said she would like to see more hydropower.

For his part, to address high energy prices, Demrow said he’d like to make sure that people who need access to support get it.

“One of the things I’ve seen over and over is it’s very difficult for people in Vermont to access services if they don’t have a computer,” Demrow said. “Finding ways to get the word out whether it’s to social agencies or the local senior center about ways that, particularly elderly people that are struggling with high costs can get help if they need it. That’s what I would focus on, making sure there’s help for those who really need it, particularly the elderly.”

Polling places on election day, Nov. 8, for the Upper Valley towns in the Orange District 1 are as follows:

Corinth: 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. at the Corinth Town Hall, 1387 Cookeville Rd.

Vershire: 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. at the Town Center Building, 27 Vershire Center Rd.

Vermont permits same-day registration. All registered voters should have received a mail-in ballot.

Laura Koes can be reached at

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