Two candidates from each major party will appear on the Aug. 14 primary ballot.

Republicans Clark Sweeney and Deserae Morin will face off against incumbent Democrat Curt Taylor and newcomer Seth Chase in the Nov. 8 general election. Chase did not respond to our emails by the deadline Tuesday.

So voters can get to know the candidates, the Colchester Sun posed them a series of questions, giving a 400-word limit to split between three answers. They were also asked to provide a short biography. Chase did not respond by the Sun’s Tuesday deadline.

Another round of questions will be posed to the primary victors before the general election.

Here are the questions and each candidate’s responses:

1. Why are you running for office, and why are you qualified to serve?

2. If elected, what will be your main priority and why?

3. How should the state address education funding in the future?

 

DESERAE MORIN
Republican

Bio:
Born and raised in Stark, N.H.

I spent my young adulthood working and traveling the country.

My husband and I have two young daughters and we have happily settled in Vermont, calling this our home for the last five years.

Work History:
LNA, elderly home care, youth snowboard instructor, logistics manager, software development, freelance writer.

Currently:
UPS, pursuing my pilot’s license, building a charity and publishing a children’s book.   

I am a worker bee and I love keeping busy but most of all I love being a wife and mother, our favorite things to do together are camping and fishing.

Responses:
1.To properly represent its people the legislature needs a variety of individuals, lest the representation becomes an echo chamber for one set of interests. I represent the hardworking, freedom loving Vermonters who want small government, lower taxes, individual accountability and a voice at the table. The design of our government was to have average citizens from all walks of life holding the various positions so that the people’s voice would be honored. I consider my most shinning qualification to be the fact that people have been asking me to seek office for several years now and I am honored to oblige.

2. If elected my main priorities will be securing the future of Vermont by protecting our natural resources from pollution and exploitation. Addressing the needs of our children and faculty in our school systems. Reduce spending so that we can lower taxes for all Vermonters. Nurture the business and job climate to ensure growth, prosperity and employment. Protect Social Security. Achieve financial solvency. I have outlined a multifaceted plan of action to address all of these concerns without slashing programs or burdening Vermonters. My plan has been examined by economics professionals, legislatures, teachers, business owners and tax lawyers and has been met with widespread praise. I am confident in my ability to serve Vermont and improve our state of affairs.

3. Colchester has some of the best schools in the state and yet one does not need to look hard to find students, staff or taxpayers who are unhappy. To fund education we need to either raise taxes or reduce costs. Reducing costs does the most to help Vermont. The monopolization of early childhood education has created an artificially inflated market, allowing school choice is the solution. Much of the money that we spend on education comes from the burden of getting all children to fit into the same box. This also has documented damaging effects for children and their teachers. When we focus on finding an environment and learning system that fits the child we reduce the need for individualized aid and costly intervention as well as improve student and faculty wellbeing. Healthy free market competition reduces costs and improves outcomes by providing more opportunities for students and teachers to find the environment in which they thrive. It is socially and economically imperative that we manage schools locally and honor the needs of our students and teachers.

 

CLARK SWEENEY
Republican

Bio:
My roots and concern for the town go deep. I was born and brought up in Colchester Village. I am a seventh generation Vermonter.

I have been married for 41 years so far to my wife June. I have one son and four grandsons.

Work History:
Since 2010, I have been a self-employed small business owner of Sweeney Refrigeration & HVAC Services.

I served as a firefighter for, and currently am a life member of, the Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Company since 1974.

Responses:
1. This will be another step along for me in helping people. I started working in this town in 1974 and helped a lot of people with their automotive problems. My HVAC career started in Colchester in 1984. So this will be the next step for me in working for the people of this town.

2. Water quality. With the miles and miles of shoreline this has to be the most important thing to keep on top of. The Lamoille River empties millions of gallons of water daily into the “Outer Bay” and this water comes from miles up through Vermont. This water impacts us at its end, even though it’s pollutants are a hundred miles up the road.

3. I don’t have a good answer. I so wish I had the one but I don’t. I look forward to hearing and considering ideas that we have not heard yet. Maybe there are some that we can work with.

 

CURT TAYLOR
Democrat, Incumbent

Bio:
Born into military family – 1950

International and domestic assignments with family until 1963

High school – Concord, MA. Graduated Beloit College, WI – 1972

Various employment until marriage in 1980: Dairy farm hand, sawmill worker and foreman, teacher, computer operator, radio announcer, newspaper reporter, child care worker

BS in computer science from Washington State University, 1985

Became father 1985

Work History:
Programmer, IBM, Boulder, CO

Programmer/consultant, West Virginia University

Computer science instructor, Helsinki University, Finland

Dairy application developer

Database programmer – University of Vermont

Colchester School Board – 2013

State legislator representing Colchester 2016

Responses:
1.For the past two years I have represented Colchester in the State House. I thank the voters of Colchester for that opportunity. I have made a serious effort to represent Colchester as an honest, transparent and dedicated legislator. My website (CT4VT.com) details how I voted and why. There is also a link to my weekly summaries of this year’s session.

I am seeking re-election because I truly enjoy the work. The experience I have gained will enable me to be an even more effective Representative of Colchester. The important challenges facing Vermont need solutions crafted by hard-working, thoughtful, open-minded legislators. As your representative I will continue to demonstrate those important characteristics.

2.My top priority is that I continue to be a responsible and effective member of my committee. On the Corrections and Institutions Committee I contribute to decisions allocating over $130 million in State Bond revenues. Bonded money is a significant contribution to cleaning up Lake Champlain. It also funds mental health facilities, protects our landscape, maintains corrections facilities, supports historical sites and helps make our schools safer.

There are serious challenges facing Vermont. Our aging population, our reliance on property taxes to fund public education, our lack of affordable housing and our inability to provide the skilled workforce employers require are high priority issues I will continue to address.

3.No one is happy with the way the state funds public education. We all agree something must be done. But Vermonters can be stubborn. We like our small towns and rural countryside, our town meetings and local school budgets. Yet we have a state constitution that requires all Vermont students to have a roughly equal opportunity for a quality public education. That conflict (local control vs. a state-wide standard) is the basis for our complex education funding system.

Last session serious steps were taken to address the cost and funding of public education. A new approach to special education funding should result in the more efficient delivery of those services. Proposals to reduce property taxes by moving some revenues to an income-based formula were made by members of both political parties. More school districts were consolidated. We should continue this important work.

But we must be careful. Quality education benefits more than just the student. It also contributes to lower crime rates, lower health care costs, reduced unemployment rates, improved mental health and the promotion of healthy, productive lifestyles.