BRATTLEBORO—House candidate Kate O’Connor has felt amazed by the personal stories that voters have shared during her primary campaign.
Jobs stand at the top of many people’s lists. Others have spoken about witnessing more crime in their neighborhoods, some have expressed concern about increasing the town’s accessibility, and seniors have talked about facing selling their homes and leaving Brattleboro because they can’t afford to remain.
O’Connor calls the conversations “eye opening” and valuable to her as someone looking to represent her community.
Door knocking takes longer than people think, said O’Connor, who has rapped her knuckles against District 2-3 doors for the past month.
“I’m so close to knocking on every door,” she said.
O’Connor is running for the seat held by outgoing incumbent Rep. Sarah Edwards, who, after 10 years, decided not to seek a sixth term. O’Connor is running against fellow Democrat Tristan Toleno in the Aug. 28 primary.
Gov. Peter Shumlin has endorsed O’Connor’s candidacy. According to O’Connor, she is the only candidate in the primary he has endorsed.
O’Connor said she wants to bring the needs of Brattleboro to Montpelier and find resources that could help the town achieve its goals. She said that, on issues, she tends toward being socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
In conversations, voters have asked O’Connor to make sure the people in Montpelier pay attention to Brattleboro.
On that issue, O’Connor describes herself as passionate.
“I want to be an advocate for Brattleboro,” O’Connor said about why she’s running. “I really believe in Brattleboro. This town has been a big part of my family’s life.”
O’Connor doesn’t see her family history as a dynasty.
“‘Dynasty’ seems too grand,” she said.
According to O’Connor, her grandfather was orphaned as a teen. Instead of being shipped off to an orphanage in Rutland, neighbors took him in.
“But for the kindness of neighbors,” said O’Connor. “[Community] is one of the things that really drives me to do this.”
O’Connor grew up in politics. Her father, Tim, was elected to the Statehouse when she was four, and later became the first elected Democratic Speaker of the House.
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