I've been poking around electoral politics here in Vermont since the early 1980s, when I began helping others get elected, chairing the county Democratic committee, and even serving as state field coordinator for a successful gubernatorial reelection campaign. People have asked me from time to time if/when I would take the plunge, but I never could because of my work. However, in the jobs I have had over the past 25-30 years, I have spent a whole lot of time at the Vermont State House. In recent years, it was on energy issues. Before that when I was in state government, it was anti-poverty issues, community action programs and energy efficiency and payment assistance programs too.
Well I retired a year ago, June 2013 to be exact, and one of the two incumbent Representatives in my two-member House district is not running again. He's been asking me for three years when I was going to retire. (Our other Representative is the Speaker of the House.) So last week I made it official with a press release, and this week I'm filing my petitions to get my name on the Democratic Primary ballot in August!
Vermont has a citizen legislature; it's part-time, meeting from January through sometime in May. Neither Representatives nor Senators have offices or personal staff. Each House member represents about 4000+ people. (In my case, two Representatives share an 8000+ person district.) So while I will be gearing up my campaign over the summer, going to events like two (2) July 4th Parades, and raising money, the real retail campaigning and door-to-door stuff starts around Labor Day.
So I'm not completely giving up my day job-- which as I said, is retirement, plus some freelance consulting work here and there. Putting it together, I will not be looking for new hobbies.
Although I am keeping my screen name/alias here at Daily Kos, because I like it, if you read further or follow the link below, my true identity will be revealed. Oh well. Big deal. But a word about why I like it. I also sing & play drums very part time in Vermont's finest (only) klezmer band, and one of our songs is a well known Yiddish tune about a father who's youngest daughter is getting married. Here are a couple of verses with translation, emphasis added:
Hekher besser,But I digress... Back to the hurly burly of local electoral politics.
Di rod, di rod makht gresser,
Groys hot mikh Got gemakht
Glik hot er mir gebrakht
Hulyet kinder a gantse nakht -
Di mezinke oysgegebn.
Higher and better,
Make the dance ring bigger,
God has made me great,
Has brought me good fortune:
So rejoice children all night long.
I gave away my youngest daughter tonight...
Vos shvaygstu mit'n shmitshik
Oyf di klezmer gib a geshrey
Tsu shpiln zey tsu shlofn zey
Raysst di strines ale oyf tsvey
Di mezinke oysgegebn.
Itzik, you lazy one,
Why are you so silent with your bow?
Yell at your musicians,
Are they playing or sleeping?!--
I want you to rip the strings apart!
I gave away my youngest daughter tonight...
Here's my press release:
June 5, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AVRAM PATT TO RUN FOR LAMOILLE-WASHINGTON DISTRICT HOUSE SEAT
Avram Patt has announced that he is a candidate for Representative from the Lamoille-Washington district comprised of Worcester, Woodbury, Elmore and Morristown. He will be filing petitions to have his name placed on the ballot for the Democratic primary ballot. The district is presently served by Rep. Peter Peltz of Woodbury and Speaker of the House Shap Smith of Morristown. Peltz has announced that he is not seeking re-election.
Avram Patt has been a resident of Worcester since 1989 and a Central Vermont resident since 1970. He has held a number of positions in management and public administration and has been involved in a range of policy and legislative issues for over 25 years.
• General Manager, Washington Electric Co-op (WEC), 1997-2013. WEC is a consumer-owned utility serving over 10,000 households and business in 41 towns in Orange, Washington, Caledonia and Orleans Counties. WEC was an early leader in energy efficiency and conservation programs, and in moving to cleaner, sustainable energy sources.
• Director, Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (and other state government positions), 1987-1996. Appointed position with oversight of community action, weatherization and food & nutrition programs under three Governors.
• Co-executive Director, Central Vermont Transportation Association, 1981-86. Helped develop regional public transportation, volunteer driver and rideshare services.
Patt retired from his position at WEC in June 2013 and is presently providing consulting services in the areas of energy, non-profits and cooperatives.
“The job of a Representative is to bring experience to the table, to listen, to learn, to find common ground whenever possible, and to take action on legislation that helps the State of Vermont serve its people best,” Patt said. “I expect to call on my own background and experience on some issues. And on many issues, I will learn from others’ testimony and debate as the Legislature grapples with the complex and often difficult issues that face us.”
In addition to the positions noted above, Patt has long been active in community activities and has served on numerous boards in Vermont as well as at the regional and national level. He is presently Chair of the Board of Trustees of Goddard College and a member of the board of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. He is a Justice of the Peace and on the Board of Civil Authority in Worcester. Boards he has previously served on in Vermont include: Hunger Mountain Co-op, Energy Co-op of Vermont, Washington Electric Co-op, Vermont Foodbank, Vermont Community Development Board, Vermont Job Start board, and Chair of the Plainfield Selectboard.
He cited several principles that will guide him as a member of the House of Representatives:
• A fair and equitable tax system that raises sufficient revenue for the government services, and schools that we all benefit from
• A sustainable energy future that focuses on efficiency and conservation (transportation, heat and electricity), and on responsible development of all forms of renewable energy sources.
• Making sure Vermonters can make a living, and that those who need our help don’t have to choose between eating and heating.
• Creating and keeping jobs. Continued focus on economic development strategies that work for Vermont: clean energy, agriculture and food products, information technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, the arts and Vermont-friendly tourism.
• The democratic process and public involvement.
“I’m committed to working with others on behalf of Vermont and our communities,” Patt noted. “Over the past 30 years, I have held jobs that allowed me to get to know the legislative process well. I look forward to serving the people of Morristown, Elmore, Woodbury and Worcester at the State House.”
Although this is not a big bucks campaign, I do need to raise some money, and if you want to help a kossack, there's instructions on the website.
Despite everything, I still believe in the democratic process. Well, in Vermont anyways....
(My parents would've been so proud of me.)