Letter: James, Bongartz make good team

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To the Editor:

I am writing in wholehearted support of the reelection of Rep. Kathleen James and the election of Seth Bongartz to the Vermont House of Representatives in the Bennington-4 district.

As a member of this year's Vermont Leadership Institute, I spent time in Montpelier meeting with legislators from all over the state. Inevitably, when they'd hear Kathleen was my representative, their eyes would light up and they'd enthusiastically praise her. One called her a rising star; others noted her tireless work ethic and ability to work well with other committee members, no matter their party affiliation. I have long admired Kathleen for her willingness to educate herself on the nuances of issues and to seek out perspectives on all sides.

To see her in action over the past two years has only deepened my appreciation for her intelligence, dedication and grit. Here are just a few of the ways she has been serving us: She is on the Education Committee, the Rural Economic Development Working Group, co-founder of the bi-partisan Tourism Caucus, and in a leadership role in the Climate Solutions Caucus. In response to COVID-19, she immediately teamed up with the Vermont Council on Aging to organize volunteers to reach out to those in need, and consistently posts information on helpful resources for us all - a steady, accessible presence in these uncertain times. Kathleen has invested herself in us and it would be crazy not to return her to Montpelier to continue her excellent work.

I can also speak firsthand about Seth Bongartz, as I worked for him for ten years at Hildene. Hardly a day went by when we didn't discuss the pressing issues facing Vermont, our nation, and the world. Seth routinely stressed the importance of being civically engaged. He gets things done. Just look at Hildene: his vision, tenacity, and determination transformed it from a house museum to a fully-operational, multi-faceted 412-acre estate that is now one of the biggest contributors to the economy of southwestern Vermont. If you don't already know Seth, check out the interview on GNAT-TV, recorded last January.

Both James and Bongartz have the ability to see all the moving parts while envisioning the larger picture: just what we are going to need in our representatives as they tackle the many challenges before us, safeguarding our collective resilience and ultimate prosperity. What a team!

Stephanie Moffett-Hynds,

Arlington

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