Hear what Ruth’s constituents and colleagues have to say about her!

“I enthusiastically support both Chris Bray and Ruth Hardy to be our state senators from Addison County. Both of them are honest, and both of them are smart. Chris realizes that we won’t clean up Lake Champlain without expending some effort and some money. His proposal for a per parcel annual fee to support lake cleanup would spread the cost among all Vermont landowners, not pointing fingers at any one group, even though we know that manure runoff from dairy farms is a major source of the phosphates feeding vegetation growth in the water. For her part, Ruth Hardy is one of the few people I know who understands, and more importantly, can explain Vermont’s complicated system of school funding. She has guided the Addison Central Supervisory Union through its consolidation process and presented school budgets to local town meetings with remarkable clarity.

I have followed the two ”independent” candidates with interest. To the extent that they have taken actual positions on the issues (not much), they seem to be essentially “Republican lite.” But most of the time, they express themselves in generalities, which sound warm and appealing but don’t actually reveal how they would address the specific and often complex decisions that our legislators must face. I don’t see that electing them would do anything to alleviate gridlock in Montpelier. Far better, in my view, to increase the Democratic majority in both houses so that some of Governor Scott’s vetoes can be overridden.”

David Andrews is a retired United Church of Christ minister, living in Middlebury. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on November 1.

David Andrews

“Like many of us, I have felt both impatient to see Election Day 2018, and anxious about the potential outcomes. Two ideals that I thought were widely valued in our country — democracy and equality — feel threatened by powers far beyond that of my single ballot, which I will cast in a fairly small town, in a very small state. It’s been easy to feel powerless.

Then I remember that Vermont has safeguarded the values I hold dear since its inception. One ballot at a time, our communities choose to elect public servants with integrity, commitment, and drive, demonstrating that democracy and equality remain our cherished ideals. Right now, we have the opportunity to do so again, by electing Ruth Hardy to Vermont Senate.

Through her experience with Emerge Vermont, Ruth has shown an unflinching commitment to equality, inclusion, and fair play. She is indefatigable in her willingness do the work we need, knowing when to be flexible and when to stand firm. She is a relentless listener, a quality that will serve us both in Montpelier as well as here at home.

This election, I am choosing to believe that one more voice can make a difference. I hope you will join me in casting a single ballot, in a small town, in a small state, for Ruth Hardy.”

Lindsey Fuentes-George lives in East Middlebury and serves on the Middlebury Selectboard. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on November 1.

Lindsey Fuentes-George

“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

“I’m writing to encourage you to join me in voting for Ruth Hardy for Vermont Senate. There are lots of reasons why Ruth will be a great representative for us in Montpelier but my favorite one is her budgeting and number crunching abilities. As the Chair of the ID4 School Board and then as a member of the consolidated ACSD board and finance committee, Ruth has repeatedly demonstrated to Middlebury residents her prowess with numbers and budgets, especially ones that are very complicated and require detailed knowledge of multiple issues. I think this is a skill that we could definitely use more of in Montpelier.

In addition, Ruth has repeatedly demonstrated superb public speaking skills while presenting very complicated budgets to the voters. I have been repeatedly impressed by Ruth’s ability to accurately articulate the details of these budgets to voters. She’s also a champion at answering voters questions and making sure they have the information needed to make an informed decision.

I’m looking forward to knowing our money and financial decisions in Montpelier are in Ruth’s capable hands. Please join me and vote for Ruth Hardy for Vermont Senate on Tuesday, November 6th.”

Heather Seeley lives in Middlebury, where she has served on the town’s Selectboard since 2016.

Heather Seeley

“The Middlebury area town meeting on March 5, 2018, was the first time many of us heard Ruth Hardy present the Unified School District budget. We were impressed with her preparation, understanding of the budgetary process and how the committee she chaired or co-chaired treated all attending the Middlebury member towns. She answered all the questions clearly and directly and to the apparent satisfaction of all attending the Middlebury meeting. Ruth Hardy attended every member town meeting and the budgets were passed by every town.

Her experience in presenting these budgets and passage of the budgets throughout the district are a testament to the skill of her work in our school funding. Her budget skills will be needed when it comes to the protection of Lake Champlain and our environment.

Ruth Hardy needs your support so that she may represent Addison County in the state Senate.”

Karl Neuse of Middlebury is a retired attorney, former Selectboard member, and longtime volunteer and community leader. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on October 25.

Karl Neuse

Dave Sharpe“I enthusiastically support and endorse Ruth Hardy to represent Addison County along with Sen. Chris Bray in the Vermont Senate. The job of Senator requires an individual with a broad understanding of the needs of Vermont citizens and the ability to collaborate with a relatively small number of colleagues who must cooperate in order to create quality and effective legislation. And, after the work is done, to be able to come home and explain what the legislature has accomplished to Vermonters at their doors, and in meetings such as the annual Town meetings.

Ruth Hardy has demonstrated those qualities as an educational leader, and policy maker. Perhaps the most difficult community service that a citizen can contribute to our life in Vermont is service on a school board. Ruth is an experienced school board member who has served as chair of the elementary school, various study committees leading up to the formation of the Addison Central School District, and improving the educational opportunities for Addison Central school students.

Furthermore, her financial expertise has helped the new school district create good financial policies that have formed a responsible budget. She is a former Legislative analyst overseeing all areas of education finance including Pre-K, K-12, and higher education. These are exactly the skills we need as we try to figure out how to deliver cradle-to-career education for our children in a way we can afford to pay for it.

With my retirement the legislature needs Ruth Hardy to move forward with good financial planning for education. Please join me in voting for both Ruth Hardy and Sen. Chris Bray for Vermont Senate.”

Dave Sharpe lives in Bristol. He has served in the Vermont House of Representatives since 2003. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on October 22.

Dave Sharpe

“When my husband and I moved to New Haven, more than four decades ago, It was common practice to visit regularly with people in the community we didn’t know well. Some of us would be collecting for United Way, some for the Heart Fund, some just keeping the doors of neighborliness open. It seemed as if that way of connecting had gradually disappeared.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of driving Ruth Hardy around the eastern side of my town while she visited with voters, many of them people I had never even met. I was so impressed by the way she listened deeply to each and every person. She talked over the issues that were most important to them, shared her own views when that was appropriate, and promised to continue listening and responding if they elected her to the VT Legislature.

I had known of Ruth’s deep experience with the issues people seemed most concerned about: Health Care (she was a director of the Open Door Clinic) and Education (she served on the school board). During these discussions I also learned of her thoughtful approaches to economic vitality and supporting the working families in our state.

Finally, I have first-hand knowledge about how effective Ruth is in bringing good ideas to fruition and supporting the hopes and dreams of others. As Executive Director of Emerge VT, she has already made a tremendous difference in our state. She has promoted civility, engagement, and opening the doors of democracy to everyone.

I loved and admired the work of Claire Ayer for many of these same reasons: thoughtfulness, experience, and effectiveness. As our new Senator, I am certain that Ruth Hardy will bring that same energy and wisdom to the State House. She has my vote. I encourage you to support her as well.”

Cheryl Mitchell, a long-time advocate and policymaker for childcare, housing, and health care in Vermont, lives in New Haven. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on November 1.

Cheryl Mitchell

“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

“When we look for people who will represent us in government, shouldn’t we look for people with a “can-do” spirit? I am thinking about leaders who look for ways to actually get things done instead of telling us that our idea is good and then going on to list reasons why it can’t happen.

There are six candidates who are running to represent Addison County, Huntington, and Buel’s Gore in the Vermont Senate. Ruth Hardy and Senator Chris Bray are both candidates who stand out ahead of all the rest. Sen. Bray, in his years in the legislature, has been tireless in his efforts to find innovative ways to protect the environment and provide jobs for Vermonters. Remember his program, Farm to Plate, which brought better food to us and created thousands of jobs. Ruth Hardy, in her professional life and volunteer service, has worked very hard to help communities provide the best educational opportunities in the most economical way. She was executive director of the Open Door Clinic for several years. But, that only begins to tell their stories.

Here’s an example where leadership is needed now: the high cost of health care, which is a constant worry for the many people who cannot afford good health insurance. Expensive insurance drives up the budgets of school boards who provide health insurance for teachers and other employees. And, businesses, especially small businesses, that try to provide attractive benefits for their employees struggle with high costs of health insurance. There is something that can be done about this, and Ruth Hardy and Chris Bray are the only candidates here who understand this and are ready to do something about it.

Universal Primary Care is a proposal that makes sense. It is the idea that public financing would make it possible for anyone to go to a doctor, a primary care physician, without having to pay. Hardy and Bray know that this would save lives AND SAVE MONEY.

How? Think about it! People whose budgets are tight would not put off seeking help when they are ill or have troubling symptoms. Earlier treatment often prevents more serious illness from developing and, in some cases, even saves lives. Easier access to doctors would keep some patients from waiting till they had to go to an emergency room for help. Clearly, universal primary care would save money and even help everyone live happier lives with less worry about getting help when ill.

It would take too much space to write here about all the excuses other candidates give for saying that this can’t happen now here in Vermont. I’ll just say that I do not believe them. These naysayers also ignore the fact that since 1989, Vermont has successfully operated Dr. Dynasaur, a universal public health care program for children. I believe Hardy and Bray, who give careful attention to what citizens want and need, and who apply a can-do spirit to find ways to do it. They will apply their energy in the Vermont Senate to work for universal primary care. Not only that, they will approach other needs of Vermonters in that same spirit.

Please join me in voting for Ruth Hardy and Senator Chris Bray.”

Reverend George Klohck is a retired Methodist pastor who lives in Middlebury. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on October 18.

George Klohck

“I urge voters to support Chris Bray and Ruth Hardy for Vermont Senate. Though they’re not paired on the ballot as a twosome, we’d be well served to have Chris and Ruth at our State House as a team. Chris, our incumbent Senator, has served us well in Montpelier for 10 out of the last 12 years and has an impressive record of moving legislation forward in such areas as energy, education, job creation, and preserving environmental health. Ruth is known for her leadership of Emerge Vermont, her passion for helping families thrive, her service to our local school boards, and her impressive financial skills.

Some of the most important things we need in elected officials are the ability to listen to constituents, conscientiousness in investigating matters of legislation that impact Vermonters all around the state, and the capacity to collaborate with a diverse group of other leaders and lawmakers. These are qualifications that both Chris and Ruth have in spades.

Our county has two senators representing us in Montpelier in the Vermont Senate. There are only 30 people in the Senate, and my understanding is they work really hard and put a tremendous amount of effort into reaching agreement. It’s important that those we elect have a collective breadth of knowledge and work well together. These two leaders complement each other well in terms of experience and knowledge, and in many ways they already make a great team. Join me in voting for these capable, dedicated public servants.”

Amy Mason lives in Weybridge. This letter appeared in the Addison Independent on October 15.

Amy Mason