By LEE J. KAHRS
BRANDON/PITTSFORD/SUDBURY — The two state legislators representing the Rutland-6 district of Brandon, Pittsford and Sudbury both announced their re-election bids this week.
Rep. Butch Shaw (R) and Rep. Stephanie Jerome (D), are running for re-election to their respective two-year seats come November.
Shaw, 72, of Pittsford, is running for his sixth term in the House. He was appointed to the Legislature by former Gov. Jim Douglas in 2009.
Since then, Shaw has served on the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions and is very active in prison and criminal justice reform here in Vermont. He has also been appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve on the Joint House and Senate Justice Oversight Committee.
“In this unprecedented time of public health and financial insecurity it is imperative to move Vermont forward in a safe, healthy and fiscally responsible manner,” Shaw said. “I am up to this task and now announce my candidacy for re-election for another term to represent my constituents in the Brandon, Pittsford and Sudbury district.”
Shaw is a retired electrical contractor. He and his wife Mary are native Vermonters who have lived in Pittsford since 1968, and it is his wife Shaw said he checks with when considering re-election.
“To do this job, you need the support of your family,” he said, “and without that support it would be very difficult to do a really good job for the people.”
Mary gave her blessing, he said. Rumors about Shaw not running again flew around Town Meeting Day, and Shaw said there was no basis for those rumors.
“By then we had made up our collective minds that we would run again,” he said. “My answer was ‘News of my impending death are exaggerated.’ Then the pandemic hit and we’re in a whole new legislative world. This is not the time to abandon my constituents.”
For Jerome, 57, the decision to run for re-election caps a busy freshman term that saw her on the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee. She is an advocate for Paid Family Leave, raising the minimum wage and workforce development.
After the COVID-19 pandemic began, Jerome was charged with spearheading the House effort to troubleshoot thousands of unemployed Vermonters who were not getting their unemployment checks from the state.
Jerome is president and co-owner of Visual Learning Systems, an educational science publishing company in Brandon, with her husband Brian. She said she’s running again because there is much more work to be done.
“I believe that everyone deserves equal access to jobs, education and affordable healthcare, housing, childcare and a clean environment,” she said. “Every Vermonter should have the opportunity to earn a livable wage, receive high-quality affordable healthcare, get a great education, and retire with security. I believe we can create healthy prosperous communities that are hubs for business, housing and recreation. These challenges are even more important now while we are in the time of COVID-19.”
Both candidates said they have enjoyed working with each other and look forward to continuing that working relationship should they both be re-elected.
Shaw said he knows he’s not done serving in the Vermont Legislature.
“I have a personal litmus test,” he said. “The first day I walked into the State House, I had a chill down my spine, and I still get that. I’ve never lost that feeling and that tells me I have enthusiasm for this job.”