BENNINGTON -- Rep. Anne Mook, D-Bennington 2-2, will be retiring after 10 years as a Vermont state representative at the end of her term on Jan. 7, 2015. She said there were many contributing factors to not seeking another incumbency, of which are mainly personal.
The five-term representative from Bennington said she would not seek reelection due to other obligations and so that she may spend time with her family. She and her husband, Wesley Mook, have three children who live in western Tennessee and Washington state, with the other ready to move to North Carolina in June. Mook said she looks forward to having some time to travel, read and relax. She said she will continue to be very involved in Bennington and will try to push legislation in Montpelier that she thinks will benefit the education and health of her community and the state.
"I'm up there four and a half days a week during the session," Mook said. "Think about taking that time away from your family five months a year for 10 years: So I think that was a very deciding factor in leaving."
Mook said that she doesn't think she can give the legislature the time it requires from her between meeting with groups, constituents and running campaigns. "I absolutely love what I'm doing, but it's somebody else's turn to step up with new ideas and ways to change things," she said.
Mook said no one person can change anything by themselves, and that she will continue rooting for what she cares about from the sidelines.
"It's more than I ever expected it to be," Mook said. "It's bittersweet: Leaving, making this decision. It is fabulous to know that you can be a part of something greater -- that you can have input into an idea and that you can be a part of making something stronger."
Mook graduated from the University of Hartford in 1970 with a bachelor's of science in education, she went on to be a teacher, served as a justice of the peace and as the director of the Bennington Department of Parks and Recreation. She is currently a member of the board of civil authority. Mook served on the education committee and the committee for government operations in the Vermont House of Representatives.
Mook sponsored many bills with a focus on education such as programs assisting high school dropouts with degree completion, technical education and finding funding for alternative education.
In the four years she spent on the operations committee, Mook worked to rewrite teacher's pensions and to redistrict the state's representation according to population. She said it was the most difficult experience of her years in the legislature: "The one thing I learned in the last 10 years is that you can never please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time."
Mook said her favorite thing about being a representative was working with her constituents. She said it proved very difficult at the same time, because she had to educate people about the process of bill making. She said if there was anything she we she could have made more of an affect on, it would be to mandate the education of civics and financial literacy in public schools.
"People need to be literate to contribute in a very financial world, and to keep from being taken advantage of ... I would like to think that I was able to be the voice for those that couldn't express theirs or didn't know how."
Mook said she hopes town residents will continue to reach out to her with questions -- legislative or otherwise.
On the last day of the spring legislative session, Vermont Rep. Brian Campion, D-Bennington 2-1, honored Mook for her decade of service. Mook's two-year term seat will be sought after in the primary election on Aug. 26, followed by the general election on November 4. The signature-filing deadline for candidates is June 12.
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