City Officials Challenge Incumbents in VT House Race
PAUL MONETTENEWPORT CITY – Mayor Paul Monette is seeking a seat at the House of Representatives in Montpelier. Monette is running as an Independent.“The time is right,” said Monette. “I feel we need some changes, some new blood in Montpelier.”Monette feels he can bring some new ideas and thoughts to the Statehouse. He’s running as an Independent because he’s never belonged to a political party and feels the two party system isn’t working well. “You need it more at the national level,” he said. “I think people forget they should compromise.”Monette would like to see the permit process streamlined. Monette is against outside individuals who try to have influence through the Act 250 process.“We need to do more in Vermont to make it a little more business friendly,” said Monette. He added energy costs are of concern to many companies. Monette is concerned about health care costs, especially for the small business owner who has to buy coverage from a pool.Monette calls himself a fiscal conservative and doesn’t believe in starting projects unless the funding is there to back them up. The governor, he said, didn’t raise taxes, but did raise fees, which is harder on those who are struggling. Monette said he’s one to look a and analyze issues, and ask people what they think.Monette said he would not resign from his mayoral duties. He has not decided if he will run when his term ends in 2013. Monette, who is in favor of renewable energy sources, said the state is moving too fast and there is no way the utilities can move as fast as the state wants while keeping customer costs down. He feels Vermont Yankee should stay open and favors a natural gas pipeline through the Northeast Kingdom. “It’s cheap, it’s reliable, it’s clean energy and I believe it would help the economy,” Monette said of the pipeline. Monette wants to see the state become more business friendly and see unemployment in the Newport area drop. “I’m a firm believer you can have the development and the environment,” he said.There needs to be controlled education costs while not over regulating schools, Monette said. “We need to let the teachers teach and not have so many regulations on things,” he said. “Over the past couple years, they asked the schools to cut, cut, cut, meanwhile all the supervisory union budgets went up. I want to see it where the voters vote on the supervisory budget. If a school budget fails, the supervisory union also has to make the same cut.”Lawmakers need to look at the property tax, make sure it doesn’t sky rocket, keep control of the fiscal budget and not implement programs unless there is money to support them, Monette said. He also wants to make sure the state keeps up the infrastructure, like roads.TIM DE LA BRUERENEWPORT CITY – Council member Tim de la Bruere has decided to throw his hat into the ring and seek one of two House Seats for Orleans-2 that’s comprised of Newport City, Newport Town, Irasburg and Coventry. Duncan Kilmartin and Mike Marcotte, both Republicans, currently hold the seats.De la Bruere, who is running as an Independent, has been thinking about seeking higher office for a couple of years. “I think that was probably what was entrenched in me working as a state commissioner in Montpelier,” said de la Bruere, who served as the Commissioner for Native American Affairs. “We were working with legislators and other state officials crafting legislation.”De le Bruere, who felt he needed more experience, built his skill set before running for higher office. Even if he wins, he plans to continue to sit on the city council. “I love that job,” he said. “I’m proud of the work I do on city council.”De la Bruere doesn’t feel holding two offices will create problems and said some Vermont lawmakers are already doing that. He feels being on the city council is more than half of what would make him a good legislator, because council members are the ones who face the issues before legislators face them. De la Bruere said people who know him know he’s a fiscal conservative and know where he stands on issues. “I think being an Independent is going to be a valuable thing in Montpelier,” he said. “I can go to the Golden Dome, speak the way I truly feel I need to speak and not worry about party repercussion.”De la Bruere, who was an Eagle Scout at 14, said parks and recreation are important assets to the state’s economy and there needs to be money to keep those assets great. He describes himself as a positive thinker and views the glass as half-full, at least as far as the economy goes.“We need a fresh start in Montpelier,” he said. “We need someone who can walk into that and not get burdened down with the nitty gritty. We can do better.”There needs to be more creative people to solve economic problems; money isn’t always the issue, de la Bruere said. “It’s important the state fund projects, but they need to be the right projects and they have to be the right programs to help.... We really need to target what is important when it comes to spending and make sure Newport City, Newport Center, Irasburg and Coventry can benefit the best way we can, but in a responsible way, not just spending everybody’s money, because that’s what Montpelier wants to do."There are some wonderful stores in the area but there needs to be a “hub” store, said de la Bruere, who wants to ensure that smaller stores survive.De la Bruere supports being self-sufficient and having renewable energy on a small scale, but is cautious about clearing ridgelines.De la Bruere, 30, has lived in Newport City his whole life and is proud he comes from a large French-Canadian community in the rural Northeast Kingdom. He said someone’s handshake means a lot. “I really believe when you give someone your word, you should stick with it,” he said.