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Sharpe, Cordes make grade in Bristol-area House primary

BRISTOL — Democratic voters in the Bristol area on Tuesday selected incumbent Rep. Dave Sharpe of Bristol and Mari Cordes of Lincoln as their party’s nominees for the two Addison-4 House seats representing Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro.
They will now move on to the General Election to face two Republicans: incumbent Rep. Fred Baser of Bristol and Valerie Mullin of Monkton.
Sharpe topped the field in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, receiving 887 votes, compared to 748 for Cordes and 577 for Monkton’s Stephen Pilcher, who finished out of the running in this, his first House bid.
Sharpe won his hometown of Bristol with 347 votes, compared to 280 for Cordes and 168 for Pilcher. Sharpe also prevailed in Starksboro.
Cordes — also making her first House run — was the winner in her hometown of Lincoln, scoring 210 tallies, compared to 178 for Sharpe and 76 for Pilcher.
Pilcher prevailed in his hometown of Monkton, with 238 votes, compared to 164 for Sharpe and 101 for Cordes.
Sharpe is seeking his eighth consecutive two-year term representing Addison-4. He currently serves as chairman of the House Education Committee, which recently played a large role in drafting Act 46, a law aimed at streamlining public education governance. Prior to this biennium, Sharpe had spent many years on the House Ways & Means Committee, the legislative panel instrumental in crafting the state’s tax laws.
He announced earlier this year that if he is re-elected, he wants to run for Speaker of the Vermont House.
“I’m grateful to have another opportunity to represent these four communities,” Sharpe said of his primary win.
He believes Tuesday’s endorsement “reflects the support of work I’ve done over the years,” work he said has been designed to help those struggling to make ends meet and build a more equitable and affordable public education system.
“Taxes are an easy target, but wages are not keeping up with the cost of living,” he said of one of his main concerns.
Cordes praised her competitors for waging “amazing campaigns.”
“I knew that whoever else won, I would have a great partner to go forward with for the General Election,” she said.
Cordes added her campaign affirmed her belief that area residents are “ready for transformational change” on such issues as climate change and health care. A longtime Registered Nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center, one of Cordes’ top priorities is to have the state adopt a publicly funded universal health care system.
“People are waking up to the possibility that their voices can be heard,” Cordes said.
Pilcher said he will learn from his first House campaign.
“I am obviously disappointed with yesterday’s outcome,” he said in an emailed response for comments on the election. “One of the lessons of the yesterday’s vote is the value of previous campaign experience. Dave Sharpe is a veteran of previous House campaigns and Mari Cordes brought her union organizing and history of activism. The majority of votes I received in the town of Monkton demonstrate that the voters who were most familiar with my service to the community were quite supportive. However, getting that message out to the rest of the district takes more than just hard work. You have to generate volunteers to work with you, elicit meaningful endorsements and contact voters in every way possible. Congratulations to both Dave and Mari and I look forward to supporting their efforts in the General Election.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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