“What does Livin’ the Vermont Way mean to you?”

 Mark Shepard, CANDIDATE FOR U. S. HOUSE (R)

A reporter recently pointed out that not since before the Civil War has Vermont elected a U.S. Senator who was not born in Vermont and asked me if I thought it mattered. The short answer is “no.” However it is very important that those people we elect understand, respect and work to preserve the traditions that have made Vermont the special place it is.

 Before I elaborate, I happen to be a native Vermonter, born in Windsor, in 1960. My dad and grandfather were born in the same room in the same farmhouse in Hartland, just across the dirt road from where I was raised. This is where I gained my appreciation for Vermont traditions and character–independence, an industrious work ethic, ingenuity and actively working the lands through farming and forestry. We have a tremendous heritage of producing independent, industrious and innovative people; yet we are always ready to help a neighbor in crisis.

 This kind of character brings to mind an event in our history. Nancy Bazilchuk wrote on the aftermath of the 1927 flood that decimated over 1400 bridges. She stated that “[Vermont] did something it had never done before: It borrowed money, and it accepted help from Washington.” Under such dire circumstances, with flood damages estimated at $100 million, Vermont accepted $2.6 million in federal aid.

 What a sad contrast to today, where more often than not our elected state officials, led by my opponent for Congress, first priority is to hold out their hands for more and more federal money as a means to expand our state government.

 During the 1990’s Vermont State hired expert consultants to develop programs based on leveraging federal money. This greatly expanded the services provided by our state government, while hiding the real cost of these programs from the Vermont taxpayer.  The result is that we have become so dependent on Washington that every time the federal government sneezes, Vermont catches a cold.

 Understanding the very real tragedy that comes with being over dependent on government is key to strengthening our state and nation. The hurricane destruction in New Orleans clearly exposed the despair that results when people are over dependent on government and cannot help themselves or their neighbors.

 For a more secure future, it is imperative that Vermont returns to our independent and industrious ways and elect leaders that will work for opportunity for Vermonters, not dependency on Washington.

"... 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

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