NEWPORT, VT- Incumbent Mark Higley narrowly survived a challenge by Progressive candidate Katherine Sims to win a third term to the Vermont House of Representatives.
Unofficial results have Higley receiving 920 votes in the five-town district of Orleans-Lamoille counties on the western side of Orleans County. Sims garnered 887 votes in her first run for a state office.
The outcome of the race may have been affected by the controversial development of the Lowell Wind Project, which Higley supports and Sims opposed. In a debate held at IROC two weeks ago, Higley said that 75% of the voters in Lowell favored the development and he would work to make sure they get a fair deal with Green Mountain Power, which will buy the energy produced. Sims favored a moratorium on wind development, citing the divisive debate between neighbors over the benefit of â€śbig windâ€ť projects.
Higley received 265 votes vs. 112 for Sims in Lowell, which enabled him to overcome Sims' advantage in the Town of Troy.
Higley is originally from Gilford and moved to northern Vermont after several years in the U.S. Navy, and then lived in Brattleboro where he served on the select board. He moved to Northeast Kingdom with his wife, and four children.
Interviewed after the election, Sims stated she was proud of the results and is grateful for the support she received. Sims said she will talk to her supporters and think hard about her future plans. In the meantime, she will continue her work as director of the Green Mountain Farm-To-School program, which she founded. The program's objective is to provide access to farm fresh produce, educate students and the general community about the benefits of fresh nutritious food, and connect producers with consumers.