In Addison-4 House race, Baser and Sharpe re-elected

BRISTOL — Incumbent Addison-4 Reps. Fred Baser and Dave Sharpe of Bristol both comfortably won re-election to new, two-year terms on Tuesday amid heavy voting in a much-anticipated General Election.
As was the case two years ago, Baser, a Republican, was the top vote-getter in Addison-4, garnering a total of 2,526 tallies. Sharpe, a 14-year incumbent Democrat, finished in second place with 2,379 votes. Finishing out of the running were Monkton Republican Valerie Mullin and Lincoln Progressive/Democrat Mari Cordes, with 1,773 and 1,704 tallies, respectively.
Addison-4 is a two-seat House district that represents the towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro.
Baser took first by virtue of a decisive win in his hometown of Bristol, where he topped Sharpe, 1,157 to 903. Sharpe won in the district’s three other towns, albeit by more modest margins. Sharpe topped Baser by 406-370 in Lincoln, 587 to 557 in Monkton, and 483-442 in Starksboro.
Mullin — making her second bid for an Addison-4 seat — placed third (with 513 votes) in her hometown of Monkton. Cordes had her best showing (400 votes) in her hometown of Lincoln, which was second only to Sharpe’s 406.
A combined total of 8,382 votes were cast for these four candidates in the Addison-4 race amid very heavy voting throughout the district.
“This is a recognition that people trust my take on things in Montpelier and they think I work hard,” Baser said of his victory after all the votes had been counted early Wednesday morning. I’m thankful and I appreciate that the people felt I did a good job.”
Baser said he worked harder in this campaign than he did in his first one two years ago. He said he knocked on doors in his district five or six days a week, almost every week since the primary. Baser believed it was important for him to hear what his constituents were thinking about.
“It was wonderful because I got to speak to a lot of people and find out what is on their minds, which is important when you go to Montpelier,” he said.
Property taxes, the rising cost of living and marijuana legalization were among the most prevalent issues raised by voters during his door-to-door visits. Five-town residents also wanted to talk about the school governance consolidation referendum in the Addison Northeast Supervisory union, which passed (see related story on Page 1A).
“Some aspects of Act 46 could be revisited in the next session,” Baser said.
Baser also hopes the Legislature revisits the idea of how school funding is linked to property taxes, believing a more fair way to pay for education is through income taxes.
“We do it now to some degree, but it’s not transparent,” Baser said.
Baser was glad that fellow Republican Phil Scott was elected governor on Tuesday, saying he though it would balance out the Democratic majorities in the Legislature.
“With Phil Scott I think the Democrats will have to play in the sandbox,” Baser said.
Sharpe also thanked district voters for returning him to office, and he’s now turning his attention to another race — for House speaker. Sharpe confirmed that he is interested in running for that high-profile position.
“I don’t know exactly where it will lead, but it’s on my agenda,” Sharpe said of his House leadership aspirations.
But regardless how that turns out, Sharpe said he’s keen on attacking two major issues during the next biennium.
“I look forward to doing some work to help Vermont’s economy and to make sure we do a better job educating our children,” Sharpe said.
Specifically, Sharpe wants to see the state do a better job educating and training its citizens to fill good paying jobs that are currently vacant due to a dearth of qualified candidates — particularly in the technology sector. He said he will propose beefing up the state’s community colleges, university and vocational/career training systems to help keep young Vermonters at home and in good jobs.
In a related matter, Sharpe gave kudos to five-town voters for supporting school governance unification for Addison Northeast, a move that he believes will help the ANeSU — and other districts — deliver better special education services at lower costs.
Mullin provided the following campaign statement Wednesday morning:
“I’d like to thank those who contributed to my campaign in many ways to share our message of bringing affordability back to our state,” she said. “The voters of our (Addison-4) towns have spoken and have chosen to further our current representation.
“Through this process I’ve met some amazing people and heard their life stories and struggles and it was for them that I worked so hard,” she added. “I’m extremely grateful to have had that honor.”
The Independent also reached out to Cordes for comment for this story.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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