On Tuesday, the voters of Addison County, Buels Gore, and Huntington voted to elect me as their newest state senator. I am honored to be the top-vote-getter in a heavily contested, two-seat race. I am thrilled that months of hard work paid off and I look forward to serving the people of Vermont well.

Thank you to the hundreds of people in the district, and around Vermont and the country who supported my campaign in big and small ways. You donated time, money, expertise, and endorsements to help me win. It was an incredible team effort.

Please know that all of the notes, messages, and words of encouragement were extremely important to me. Running for office is hard work. It’s not easy to put yourself out there every single day. Thank you for helping me stay on track, hydrated and fed, positive and energetic.

I am fortunate to be among so many incredibly dedicated women in Vermont and around the country who step up, run for office, and support other women too. I am grateful to my fantastic team who helped me plan and execute an effective and thoughtful campaign from start to finish.

Finally, I have a truly amazing family who has been with me 100% every step of the way. There is absolutely no way I could have done this without them.

Together we can do anything. Thank you.

With gratitude and joy,



“It may be a crowded field, but the choice for who to send to the Vermont Senate this November is simple. All you need to do is ask one basic question:

Who do you think will work the hardest for all of us?

Not just for farmers alone, or townsfolk alone, or businesses alone, or teachers alone, or retirees alone, or workers alone. For all of us, together.

Who will show up every day, at every roll call vote, having done their homework, listened to people on every side of an issue, and considered the impacts of what they are voting for on everyone in our community?

Who can we know, by their record, will throw themselves full-force into this work?

The answer, by their record, is very clear. Ruth Hardy and Chris Bray have shown up for this community year in and year out. They have consistently, unreluctantly and whole-heartedly stepped up to serve us time and again. We know their record: it is one of hard work and dedication.

I also know this because I have seen it first hand. For nine years I served on local school boards with Ruth Hardy. I know from experience what it’s like to sit across the table and see her work ethic, her absolute dedication, at work. Whether or not we were on the same side of an issue, I know I can count on Ruth to work very hard, listen thoughtfully, and to really care what I think. We need more leaders like her!

We may not always have agreed on the policy issues of the day, but with each of them, I know that my concerns, ideas and perspective matter. More importantly, I know they are ready, willing and able to dive in and do the hard work of finding tough answers to complex problems.

I don’t need my representatives to get it “right” every time. I don’t need them to agree with me every time. I need them to show up and work hard, and to be willing to work harder still when we don’t get it “right” the first time.

Vote for Ruth Hardy. Vote for Chris Bray. Because showing up, working hard, being willing to keep working, and caring about all of us is what matters most.”

Jason M. Duquette-Hoffman works at the Center for Community Engagement at Middlebury College and lives in Middlebury. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on October 29.

Jason Duquette-Hoffman

“Politics are hard in a small town, and this year’s race for our county’s two senate seats is no exception. I attended a recent forum in Middlebury and got to hear from all candidates. I certainly think highly of all four Independent and Democratic candidates. Marie Audet runs a highly respected dairy farm and has done a tremendous amount for dairy in our state and comes across as a kind and heartfelt person. Paul Ralston is a dynamic businessperson who has grown a great brand. This election, however, I am supporting Ruth Hardy and Chris Bray for our two senate seats and here is why:

These two are workhorses. I have known Ruth as a school board member, leader of Emerge, and now as an extremely thorough, energetic, and ever-present candidate on the campaign trail. It seems as though when Ruth commits to something she lives, eats and breathes it. As our current senator, Chris Bray is probably the most reachable legislator imaginable. Whenever I have had a question, comment or concern Chris responds every time —usually that day! Even if you disagree with him (as I have on occasion) Chris puts in the time to listen and respond thoughtfully and at length. He truly seems to live the role of public servant. If we send them to Montpelier we know they are both 100 percent “all in” representing us.

Secondly, both Chris and Ruth are not afraid to admit when they don’t know something. Early in the campaign Ruth sought out my and others’ advice on issues involving agriculture as she is the first to admit it is not her area of expertise (my husband and I have a goat dairy farm and manufacture cheese). I trust people who choose to seek out answers from those on the front line instead of relying on hearsay or falling in line with party positions. Chris has always been an advocate of agriculture, but when he helped to craft a bill called “Citizens’ Right to Know,” part of it was especially controversial with farmers. He listened to all of our concerns and when the bill came back before him he made changes to the bill which directly addressed our concerns (ask him about it — I can assure you he will get back to you).

I think both Ruth and Chris are very practical and fiscally conservative. I don’t buy that only Republicans (or Independents) know how to promote business. Democrats in Vermont have a record of promoting fiscal and social programs that in my mind are true economic drivers. Our family business, for instance, exists because of Democratic programs like Dr. Dynasaur and various state-funded land and energy conservation programs — not despite of them.

Lastly, and most pragmatically, we have a good system of checks and balances in our state. We also haven’t denied a Governor a second term since 1962, so though this isn’t an endorsement for Gov. Scott, in the case of his re-election we need a strong Democratic voice in the Senate. We need to keep advocating for programs that are real economic and community drivers, and that reflect well on our state on the national scene, and I feel that Ruth and Chris will do this.”

Hannah Sessions owns and operates Blue Ledge Farm in Leicester. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on October 18.

Hannah Sessions