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Opinion: Why I’m not running for re-election

I will not be running for re-election in November of 2014. 
I am happy and humbled to have had the opportunity to serve in the Vermont Legislature as one of Middlebury’s representatives in the General Assembly. I have long been interested in and active in politics, and my election in 2010 was a big step for my activism — and a big commitment. Now, my growing responsibilities to my customers and employees require that I return my focus to their interests.
Four years is a good amount of time to serve in a citizen Legislature. The first year, you keep your head down and learn the rules and traditions. The second year, you work with your new friends on a few initiatives that are important to you and your constituents. If you are reelected, your third year is the time for something more ambitious and challenging. In the fourth year, you follow through trying to accomplish your plans. 
I sought the House seat to pursue policies for economic development in Vermont, because I believe prosperity brings with it the means to address our societal problems. I believe government’s first economic goal should be to foster a good business psychology.  This is a low-cost, high-reward strategy. Government should try to create an environment where companies are willing to take risks for growth, where their investors and lenders are more confident with their capital, and where people have options for employment.
Come November 2014, Middlebury voters will make a choice for a new representative in Montpelier. We are also facing big decisions at the town level. We need a robust, civil debate about our future, and I hope people with strong ideas about the future of our town and our state will step up and run for election.
Paul Ralston
Middlebury

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