Welcome Rochester to the now 27 towns in the Addison Senate District! If re-elected in November, I will be one of two state senators who will represent Rochester in the Vermont Senate. Rochester voters will see my name and the name of my district-mate, Senator Chris Bray, on the ballot, rather than the three senators from the Windsor District. The Addison District includes all of Addison County, plus Huntington and Buels Gore from Chittenden County, and now Rochester from Windsor County. I am looking forward to representing this lovely town in the Vermont Senate!
Every ten years after the U.S. Census counts the number of people in our state, Vermont legislative districts are redrawn to account for changes in population around the state. In order to ensure each legislative district is relatively equal in population, this process often shifts towns or portions of towns into new House or Senate districts as the population grows in some areas of the state and shrinks in others, creating a ripple effect across the state. This past decade, the population in Chittenden County grew substantially and the population of the Northeast Kingdom shrank, so many legislative districts in other areas shifted as a result. While the new districts may be surprising or disappointing to the residents of some towns, the reapportionment committees do their best to make the districts and process fair and transparent. Visit the Legislative Reapportionment (Redistricting) website to see the new Senate district map and new House district maps.
In order to get to know the town better, I spent a wonderful few days up in Rochester knocking on doors, attending events, and introducing myself to folks. I met many Town leaders, including each of the Selectboard members, at the Repurposing Rochester meeting where folks gathered to learn about the current status of efforts to repurpose the Rochester High School building into a community center to house arts, social service, health & wellness, and small business groups. I was incredibly impressed by the level of civic engagement and thoughtful planning that has gone into this project thus far.
I talked with vendors and shoppers at the Friday Farmer’s Market, including an adorable calf and goat kid. I visited the lovely Rochester Public Library and learned that it’s an important community hub in a gorgeous historic building that’s been lovingly restored inside, but still needs some work outside to preserve the windows and siding. I toured Pierce Hall and was really impressed by all of the work that’s gone into the building over many years. The new floor is gorgeous and the fitness center & dance/yoga studio are fantastic facilities. Rochester is fortunate to have these gems, and the people who nurture them, in town.
I knocked on doors throughout central Rochester, introducing myself to people on their front porches, at their door steps, and in their gardens. I had great conversations about state, local, and national politics, and heard about house projects and summer plans. People may have found my flyer stuck in their door when they arrived home from work or vacation. I love to meet with constituents at their homes!
I also enjoyed a delicious milkshake at the Rochester Cafe and a burger & beer with my family at Doc’s. Finally, I was thrilled to listen to the dozens of young musicians who attended this year’s Green Mountain Suzuki Institute. My family has been a part of this wonderful music camp for over a decade; each of my three kids has been a camper and both my daughters have worked at the camp. This year, my younger daughter was the assistant teacher for the fiddle classes and helped lead an adorable fiddle performance on the Rochester Town Green at the end of the camp. Family musical experiences like this, every July in Rochester, helped cement my love for the Town, long before I became a senator.
I plan to spend more time up in Rochester knocking on doors and meeting people in town over the next several months. If you live in Rochester, let me know if there are events or meetings I should attend. I look forward to representing Rochester in the Vermont Senate next session and beyond.