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Van Wyck lands Addison-3 House seat

FERRISBURGH — Gov. Peter Shumlin has appointed Ferrisburgh Republican Warren Van Wyck to serve out the two-year term of the late Rep. Greg Clark, R-Vergennes, in the Addison-3 House district.
Van Wyck, 60, and Mary Ann Castimore of Waltham were the two district Republicans who in mid-January offered to step in for Clark, who died tragically in a traffic accident on Route 7 last November. But Castimore withdrew her name on Jan. 31, citing personal reasons. That left Van Wyck as the lone candidate and eventual appointee who on Thursday was set to officially join Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, in the two-seat district that encompasses Vergennes, Ferrisburgh, Addison, Waltham and Panton.
Van Wyck said he received a phone call on Monday from Shumlin confirming the appointment.
“I had a cordial conversation with him about my interest in filling this vacancy,” Van Wyck said through an e-mail. “He announced he would appoint me to the seat effective Thursday, Feb. 7.”
Van Wyck was pleased to have received the endorsement of Eileen Clark, Rep. Clark’s widow, in late January. He has pledged to run for the seat in his own right in November of 2014.
“That the governor selected me as ‘a qualified person to fill the vacancy for the remaining portion of the term (17 VSA P 2623)’ is the most important and significant support,” Van Wyck wrote in the email. “I am thankful to him for appointing me to fill the vacancy. Certainly I cannot replace Rep. Greg Clark, yet, I’ll attempt to honor his legacy, his party commitments and concerns of the voters of this district. I look forward to meeting more residents of the district, learning about their needs, serving the constituents of the district and honoring the oath to the Vermont Constitution.”
Van Wyck listed several goals for the 2013-2014 legislative biennium, including:
•  Service for the constituents of the district.
•  Retaining the younger generation in Vermont with economic opportunities.
•  Promoting jobs, including high tech, with adequate wages for the high cost of living in the state.
•  Limiting tax increases based on wage growth.
•  Promoting technology for greater efficiencies in governmental operations.
•  Promoting high quality and affordable post-secondary education for the current job market.
•  Promoting agriculture, especially dairy farming, which he called a major economic engine for the district.
•  Maintaining services for the elderly, disabled, veterans and military families.
Lanpher was pleased to hear about her new colleague.
“I am thrilled that through this process we have found someone in our district to help represent the people of Addison-3,” said Lanpher, who had met with both Van Wyck and Castimore prior to the appointment.
Lanpher said she looks forward to serving with Van Wyck and will offer him assistance in navigating the legislative process in Montpelier.
“I feel my role is to extend my hand to him in developing a working relationship to serve our district in the best possible way,” Lanpher said.
At the same time the House welcomes Van Wyck, it is preparing to pay tribute to Clark, who was a 10-year veteran of the House Education Committee and a beloved teacher at Mount Abraham Union High School.
Lanpher confirmed that a resolution honoring Clark has been drafted and will be read at a time when his family can be present at the Statehouse. She added House members have been collecting money to contribute to a scholarship fund being established at Mount Abe in Clark’s name.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependen

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