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Voices / Legislative Update

A change of plans

‘I once again ask for your support. This time, I ask for your support of my decision not to seek re-election.’

Mike Hebert, a Republican, represents the Windham-1 district (Guilford and Vernon) in the Vermont House of Representatives.

Guilford

That time has once again arrived for candidates to announce their intention to run for office and get signatures on petitions. I have been honored to have your support and the privilege to serve as your representative in Montpelier.

I once again ask for your support. This time, I ask for your support of my decision not to seek re-election.

People have often thanked me for my sacrifice of living in Montpelier for almost half of the year and being away from home and family. It is not my sacrifice; it is indeed my choice, honor, and pleasure to do so with the blessing and understanding of my family. They have made the sacrifice, for my absence has indeed at times created hardship and difficulties for them. I especially thank them for their love, support, and understanding.

As many of you know, not long ago I was critically ill and if not for the love, support, and care of my extraordinary wife, Debbie, I would not be here today. Deb retired this past July and unfortunately was diagnosed with cancer shortly before Christmas. This significantly changed our plans as to when I would retire.

Deb’s courage, faith, and positive attitude will not only provide her with a victory in this fight, it will strengthen me in my ability to support and care for her. We know we will win this new campaign, move on to our plans for retirement, live together full-time year-round, and enjoy some date nights along the way.

* * *

While representing you these past four terms, I have developed some warm friendships with people with vastly differing political views; however, we found we shared the common goals of moving our towns forward, of providing our children with educational opportunities best suited to their individual needs, of maintaining a healthy environment, and many other things.

Through these common goals we found common ground. I will always be grateful for this blessing.

Whether working on broad community issues of great impact that take enormous effort by testifying in various committees, crafting legislation and debating in the Representatives’ Chamber in the Statehouse in Montpelier or making a few phone calls to resolve a problem dealing with issues of health care, education, taxes, or simply helping you to navigate the complexities of our state government, serving you has been one of my life’s greatest honors and pleasures.

In Guilford, with the help of the entire community, we were able to save Sweet Pond for future generations to treasure and enjoy. While I did some heavy lifting in Montpelier to get this done, the citizens of our community banding together to testify, raise money, and demonstrate the love of this resource lightened the load. Thank you for your efforts.

This same type of community effort helped me to move the Agency of Transportation to improve the emergency access to the south end of Vernon by upgrading the I-91 ramp to allow access for emergency vehicles to serve that area of the community.

In Vernon again, after the sudden closure of Vermont Yankee, with the cooperation and understanding of the community, I was able to go to Montpelier and fight for a five-year tax program, which saved our property owners millions of dollars in education taxes to the state.

Also, I was able to craft and get passed legislation that allowed Vernon to vote to continue with school choice by leaving the BUHS #6. This not only allows the parents of our students to make decisions for the best educational opportunities for their children, it has also lowered our per-pupil costs and hopefully will continue to slow the rate of tax growth in our community.

Again, thank you for your support, and know that I will continue to serve our communities in any way I can.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #454 (Wednesday, April 11, 2018). This story appeared on page D5.

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