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After winning re-election, Rep. Jewett plans run for majority leader

RIPTON — Rep. Willem Jewett, D-Ripton, comfortably won his contest for a fifth consecutive term representing the Addison-2 House district, defeating independent challenger Tim Ryan by a 1,400-882 margin in voting on Tuesday.
And after the ballots were counted, Jewett confirmed to the Addison Independent that he will run for the post of House Majority Leader when his party caucuses on Dec. 8. Jewett currently serves as House Majority Whip. Democrats maintained their sizable majority in the Vermont House amid heavy voter turnout in the Nov. 6 General Election.
“I’m always gratified to get the support of my neighbors on election day,” Jewett, 49, said of the results. “I’m always humbled by it. It means that there is a lot of work to do going forward.”
Jewett, a member of the House Government Operations Committee, out-polled Ryan, a Salisbury small businessman, in four of Addison-2 district’s six towns. He topped Ryan 266-63 in his hometown of Ripton; 451-227 in Cornwall; 92-32 in Goshen; and 117-36 in Hancock. Meanwhile, Ryan out-paced Jewett by 245-222 in Leicester and 279-252 in his hometown of Salisbury.
This was the first House bid for Ryan, a former Salisbury selectman.
Asked about his priorities for the upcoming session, Jewett cited the continued implementation of health care reforms; completing the state’s recovery from the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene; and updating the state’s search-and-rescue policy pertaining to hikers who get lost or stranded in Vermont’s wilderness.
Jewett, an attorney who previously served several terms on the House Judiciary Committee, also wants to strengthen the way Vermont deals with drug-related crime.
“We need a multi-faceted approach to the corrosive effect that drugs have in our communities,” Jewett said. “We need to use all the tools we have. We will not win this unless we dry up the demand (for drugs). We have got to dry up the demand, treat people, and we need enforcement too.”
See town-by-town results from this election at our special Addison County election page.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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