Nigro seeks Bennington 2-2 House seat
BENNINGTON — Michael Nigro says he's been thinking about running for legislative office for some time, and he has now officially launched his first campaign.
The 42-year-old Bennington resident is a Democratic candidate for the Vermont House in District 2-2 race, seeking one of the two open seats.
Nigro, the co-owner of Green Mountain Concessions, and incumbent Reps. Jim Carroll, a fellow Democrat, and Mary Morrissey, a Republican, all have essentially qualified for the Nov. 3 ballot, barring any write-in challenge in the August primaries.
"I've been thinking about running for some time now," Nigro said in an interview.
He had expressed interest to local Democrats in 2018 in running for the House-2-2 seat being vacated by Rep. Kiah Morris, who was dropping her campaign for re-election citing racially motivated harassment.
The town Democratic Committee interviewed Nigro and others as they were choosing a candidate to take Morris' spot on the November ballot that year, eventually choosing Carroll to run for the seat, which he won.
"The divisive political times that we are in have certainly been a big part of what has compelled me to run," Nigro said. "That division is most evident on a national level, but I see examples of it in our state and community as well. I believe that we draw strength from a diversity of ideas; I believe in collaboration, and think that I'm the kind of person that can help bridge divides."
He said he believes one of his qualifications is, "I'm a strong communicator, and that this time calls for thoughtful communication from all leaders. The issues we face are complex and cannot be expressed simply by internet memes and 280 character tweets."
In addition, he said, "I think this is a very important time for Southern Vermont and Bennington. There are so many things to be excited about, from new business opening downtown to, most importantly, the Putnam Block redevelopment project. However, the concerning trends of stagnant or declining population in Southern Vermont and the loss of quality jobs and institutions (of course, Southern Vermont College is the biggest recent example) have not yet ended. I feel like we are in the midst of an incredibly important time for the community."
Nigro said he and his wife, Select Board member Sarah Perrin, moved to Bennington a decade ago, "during which time we have truly felt part of the community and are active in a number of social, civic, and volunteer groups."
He said he left his job as director of Bayada Home Health Care operations in the region after eight years last May.
The catering/concession business the couple owns "had grown to the point that I had to choose between a job I genuinely loved and our own business," he said. "In the end, my entrepreneurial spirit won. We now run our business full-time as our primary income, although we own and manage several residential rentals as well."
The candidate said he looks forward "to sharing my ideas on a wide range of policy issues. I am probably most focused on economic issues, which in turn, impact so many other issues in our community. My graduate degree was in business administration, and I believe my experience managing for-profit and non-profit healthcare businesses, as well as running my own small business and rentals, would be assets."
After 18 years in the healthcare industry, including 10 years in behavioral health and eight years in home health care, Nigro said, "I also know that the challenges facing our healthcare system are among the most complex and important we face."
Nigro also previously worked with Eckerd Youth Alternatives, managing a residential treatment facility for at-risk and adjudicated youth.
He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the State University of New York at Genesco and a master's degree in business administration from Plymouth State University.
He has been involved in the Rotary Club and is a past president.
Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont, including the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal. Twitter: @BB_therrien
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