I met Ruth Hardy 30 years ago this fall. We were both in our first semester of our first year of college, and we both knew we’d major in Government. Ruth and I had grown up in different families in different communities in different states. But even as 18 year olds, each of us recognized the importance of good government and the honor of public service.
Over the years, and despite our different paths, Ruth and I have continued to work in public and non-profit organizations and have continued to recognize the difference that public policy and collective action can make in improving individuals’ lives.
Ruth’s work has provided her with knowledge and expertise in a wide array of subject areas: public education and education finance, access to primary health care for all, reproductive and other health care for women, complex budgeting, and making it possible for women to run for elected office.
Throughout all of these endeavors, and, maybe most of all, through being a mother to her own three kids, now all teenagers, Ruth has remained committed to her belief that public policy and public service can change the world for the better. No matter the area in which she has worked, Ruth’s lifelong striving to help as many people as possible gain access to necessary services, whether education or health care or support from their communities, has shown through.
Having watched Ruth for the past three decades, I feel extraordinarily lucky to be able to vote for her as my Vermont State Senator. When I cast my vote for Ruth on Tuesday, November 6th, I will be doing my civic duty to have voted for the best, most effective, most committed future legislator I have ever known.
As we all know, voter turnout in the United States remains shockingly low. In the 2016 Presidential election, just under 60% of eligible voters cast votes. Turnout in midterm elections is traditionally much lower. And interest in non-statewide elections, such as those for state senate, is lower still.
Yet, in this time and even in this small state, our votes could not matter more. The issues that Vermont’s Senate addresses in any given session touch each of our lives in a multitude of ways.
During the last session, I testified before several legislative committees, and while I have subject matter expertise in very specific areas in which I work, Vermont’s legislators must get up to speed on a wide and varied set of complex issues. I was impressed, during my time before the legislative committees, with many legislators’ questions and quests for greater and more in-depth understanding. It is a job with a great deal of homework, and it is a job that requires legislators to listen carefully, analyze complex information from various perspectives, predict the impact of certain decisions, and then work collaboratively with legislators of various political persuasions to chart a course that is best for Vermonters.
We are fortunate to have so many in Vermont who desire to do this work. We are fortunate to live in a state in which our legislators are so accessible and connected to us. We are also fortunate to live in a state in which each vote carries as much weight as it does. Our individual votes represent our individual values at work. When we cast a vote for a candidate who shares our values and priorities, we bring the best parts of democracy to our homes and our communities.
Given our meandering paths over the years, it is serendipitous that Ruth and I have ended up living so close to one another again. But it is even more serendipitous that my Vermont town, Huntington, is part of the Addison County Senate district in which Ruth is running.
I am urging you to vote, and to do more than cast your individual vote—I am urging you to speak to or email or text or call your friends and neighbors to make certain that they are voting. I am urging you to help those who won’t have time to vote on a Tuesday to vote early.
But most of all, I am urging you to do your duty as a citizen of this great country and this brave little state. I am urging you to vote for the person who I am certain is the most qualified, committed, creative, knowledgeable, and compassionate elected official I’ll ever have the privilege to vote for—Ruth Hardy, my dear friend and fellow lover of public service and good government.
Kate Lucier is an attorney; she and her family have called Huntington home since 2006.