I spent my early years in Vermont and New Hampshire, and then grew up on a farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York, tending sheep and grapes, and learning the trade of woodworking.
In 1991 Melissa and I found our home in Middletown Springs. We jumped feet first into the town, raising our two daughters in a large and active homeschooling community. We started the town newsletter; I served on the Fire Department and the Select board (where I’m currently serving again), and we were among the key organizers of SolarFest, a renewable energy festival providing education and solutions to combat climate change that earned renown in New England, and has been credited by Bill McKibben as one of the reasons for solar’s success in Vermont.
During this time I worked as a self-employed builder for a couple of decades; I understand the challenges of both small business owners and people working in the trades. After earning an associate’s degree in conflict mediation, I earned my teacher’s license, working with at-risk teens and teaching students at Green Mountain College.
We built our current house in 2003; we raise pigs and chickens, and many of our own vegetables. Melissa taught music at Long Trail School for 11 years. A professional singer, she now teaches privately, is the assistant librarian in town, and is the administrative director of Theater in the Woods.
In 2014 I was elected to the Vermont House for the first of three terms, serving on the Natural Resources and Energy Committee. I then served two terms on the new House Energy and Technology committee (HEAT), the last as Ranking Member, also serving two terms in House Leadership as chair of the Progressive Caucus. I was appointed to serve on the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, and became chair of that committee in 2018.
I am proud of the reputation I earned in the House for being pragmatic, open minded, principled, and willing to cross all the aisles to work with people. I forged productive relationships with Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, and Independents alike to get things done, and had no problem bucking my own party when it was the right thing to do.
Since 2020 I have worked at McChesney Real Estate in Pawlet, and I serve on the Vermont Association of Realtors Government Affairs Committee, tracking housing legislation and policy. Together these roles have given me an inside view of Vermont’s housing crisis; as a realtor, as a policy advisor of sorts, and as a parent whose daughters are unlikely to be able to buy a house here. This is precisely the multifaceted view that a legislator should have to fully understand the issues and to craft thoughtful solutions.