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State representatives, clockwise from above left: Michelle Bos-Lun, D-Westminster; Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham; Laura Sibilia, I-Dover.

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Redistricting prompts big decisions for local lawmakers

Partridge won’t seek 13th term; Bos-Lun to run for seat in new district

Two Windham County House members who found their current districts radically altered have made their decisions on what they will do in the 2022 election season.

Rep. Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, first elected to the House in 1998, will not seek re-election, while Rep. Michelle Bos-Lun, D-Westminster, will run for her second term in the House to represent the newly created Windham-3 district of Westminster, Brookline, and Rockingham.

The recently approved House redistricting map sought to create one-member districts, which led to some scrambling of current districts.

In Bos-Lun’s case, the present two-member Windham-4 district that consists of 95 percent of Westminster, Putney, and Dummerston has been pared back to just Putney and Dummerston for the 2022 election.

Bos-Lun. who has worked in restorative justice and directed youth programs, serves on the House Corrections and Institutions Committee. She said she will host a formal re-election launch campaign on Saturday, June 4 at her Westminster home.

Rep. Mike Mrowicki, D-Putney, the other current Windham-4 representative, has yet to declare his candidacy for 2022.

Another Windham County House member who also had her district drastically redrawn — Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-Dover — has not yet announced her intentions for the 2022 election.

Dover, Wardsboro, and Somerset will move from the Windham-Bennington district, which also includes Searsburg, Readsboro, and Stamford, to the Windham-2 district, which will also include Jamaica and Stratton.

In testimony to the House Government Operations Committee in February, Sibilia gave a blistering critique of the redistricting, which scrambles and reassigns what now are two districts with towns that are connected geographically.

“I remain deeply opposed to the prioritization of the addresses of incumbent legislators in developing this final proposal as well as the deconstructing of legislative districts in the population-stable Deerfield Valley in order to maintain districts along the Route 7 corridor that have lost population,” she wrote in a legislative update to her constituents on March 12.

Gov. Phil Scott signed the reapportionment bill into law on April 6.

Partridge bows out; Chase declares as candidate

Partridge, who has served as chair of the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee for 14 years, has shared Windham-3 — Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Rockingham, and Windham —with Rep. Leslie Goldman, D-Rockingham.

Redistricting placed Windham, Grafton, and Athens into a new district — Windsor-Windham — with Chester, while placing Brookline into the new Windham-3 district with Westminster and Rockingham.

Windham-3 will remain a two-member district; however, Goldman has not announced whether she will seek a second term.

In her weekly “Notes From Montpelier” column in the Brattleboro Reformer on April 26, Partridge said that “it is time for me to direct my energy elsewhere.”

“For that reason, I will not be running in the next election,” she continued. “I have been thinking about this for the last several years but with the turnover of my district mates, I haven’t wanted to leave the Windham-3 district without an experienced legislator.”

Partridge started in the House as the district-mate of longtime Bellows Falls representative Mike Obuchowski and served alongside the former House Speaker for more than a decade.

“I have been humbled by the trust my constituents have placed in me and thank you all for that honor,” she wrote. “Coming from one of the smallest towns in the district, I have always been honored by the opportunity to serve.”

Heather Chase, a Chester Democrat and vice-chair of that town’s Selectboard, has announced she will be running to represent the new district.

“Heather ticks all the boxes in terms of community service, as well as business experience,” wrote Partridge of Chase, the founder and president of Corporate Lactation Services, a consultancy that works with top companies in developing workplace policies about breastfeeding.

“I feel confident that, if elected, she will do a fabulous job,” Partridge said.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #662 (Wednesday, May 4, 2022). This story appeared on page A3.

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