Vt. County Senator to Run for House Seat

By ROSS SNEYD | AP Political Writer | Jan 2, 2006

Vermont County Senator Mark Shepard Gets Into U.S. House Race

MONTPELIER, Vt.  (AP)— State Sen. Mark Shepard said Monday he would be filing this week with the federal government to become an official candidate for the U.S. House, setting up the near certainty of a Republican primary for the open seat.

Shepard has been sending signals for several weeks that he was likely to get into the race and he said it would be official as soon as his paperwork reaches the Federal Election Commission via the mail.

"I've moved from the point of testing the waters for the U.S. House to being a candidate for the U.S. House," he said.

The decision by Shepard, who has represented Bennington County for the past two terms, to run sets up the likelihood of a primary with Gen. Martha Rainville, commander of the Vermont National Guard. Former Burlington restaurant owner Dennis Morriseau also has gotten into the race.

"I think it would bring good things to the public if we're both in there," Shepard said of the possibility of a primary.

Rainville has said she is talking to Vermonters as she weighs whether to get into the race, but she has said she will not announce her decision until some of the Guard members now preparing to return from service in the Middle East get back to Vermont.

Shepard, 45, is halfway through his second term in the Senate. He serves on the powerful Finance Committee, where he has been involved in debates over education funding, health care and other leading issues.

Born in Hartland, he's an engineer.

Although he says he doesn't like labels, Shepard is generally a conservative. "I'm a believer in people," he said. "I think solutions, I think job creation and all of that comes from the private sector. I think as a government we can remove barriers and make opportunities easier."

Other than Morriseau and now Shepard, the only other declared candidate for the U.S. House is state Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch, a Democrat. State Rep. David Zuckerman, a Progressive, also is seriously considering getting into the race.

The seat will be vacant because Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is running for the U.S. Senate that will be vacated next year by the retirement of Sen. James Jeffords.

"... many politicians talk the talk about doing something tangible about new jobs and it doesn't go much further. Sen. Shepard walked the walk."
"Sen. Shepard's big accomplishment, and it is a significant one, lies in the major role he played in bringing the Bennington Microtech Center into being."

Bennington Banner State Senator Endorsement Editorial, October 29, 2004

Paid for by Shepard for Congress Committee

Copyright © 2006, Shepard for Congress Committee. All rights reserved.