Lanpher and Van Wyck win Vergennes-area race

VERGENNES — Incumbents Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, and Warren Van Wyck, R-Ferrisburgh, captured the two Addison-3 seats in the Vermont House of Representatives on Tuesday in a four-way race.
Lanpher earned her fifth two-year term and was Tuesday’s top choice among residents of the five Addison-3 communities (Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes and Waltham), receiving 2104 votes.
Van Wyck, who was appointed to the House in February 2013, finished second with 1,984 votes in his second election, turning back a challenge from first-time candidate Fritz Langrock, a Ferrisburgh Democrat, who received 1,829 votes.
Another Ferrisburgh resident and first-time candidate, Republican Monique Thurston, earned the nod of 1,662 residents.
Lanpher finished first in Ferrisburgh, Vergennes and Panton, and Van Wyck won Addison and Panton. Addison proved crucial for Van Wyck: He earned a 195-vote edge over Langrock there and overall defeated Langrock by 155 votes.
Town-by-town voting went:
•  Addison: Langrock, 252; Lanpher, 323; Thurston, 375; Van Wyck, 447.
•  Ferrisburgh: Langrock, 724; Lanpher, 779; Thurston, 630; Van Wyck, 760.
•  Panton: Langrock, 141; Lanpher, 164; Thurston, 147; Van Wyck, 171.
•  Vergennes: Langrock, 589; Lanpher, 696; Thurston, 402; Van Wyck, 475.
•  Waltham: Langrock, 123; Lanpher, 142; Thurston, 108; Van Wyck, 131.
Lanpher said she was grateful for voters’ support, especially considering an effort funded by the Republican State Leadership Committee targeting her and other Democratic Vermont House candidates — she said that organization spent $73,000.
“The constituents know me,” Lanpher said. “This out-of-state big money did not undermine their trust in me.”
Lanpher said she will return to a Montpelier landscape with a new governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker, and her seniority will thrust her into leadership status.
“I’m going to be seen as one of the senior spokespersons,” she said. “I’m going to have to come even more prepared and more ready, not just for the work I’ve always done, but for the leadership role.”
Lanpher is concerned about Lake Champlain cleanup as well as local issues, but said the state’s finances will remain on top of her agenda. She hopes to advance that agenda by staying on the House Appropriations Committee, where she served during this past session after years on the House Transportation Committee.
“My highest goal, first and foremost always, is having Vermont’s long-term fiscal stability as my highest priority,” she said.
Lanpher praised her Democratic co-campaigner, who she said fared better than any other party candidate for the second Addison-3 seat during her tenure.
Van Wyck won election for the second time. During the past session he served of the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee and was vice chairman of the Legislative Information Technology Committee.  
He appreciated the support in an election during which some other House Republicans lost their seats.
“It can be tough for House Republicans in a Presidential year, as we’ve seen statewide,” Van Wyck said. “It was gratifying to hold on.”
Van Wyck believed he was effective on the Natural Resources & Energy Committee and would like to remain there, in part to work to contain rising electric rates. As a high priority, he said he shares Gov.-elect Phil Scott’s larger economic mission.
“We’ve got to really drill into how we can have a business-friendly, grow-the-economy (and) jobs” government, Van Wyck said. “What I heard on the campaign trail is concerns about excessive regulations and mandates inhibiting those sorts of business opportunities.”
Van Wyck also said he continues to hear of people struggling with Vermont Health Connect, and he favors supporting a competitive marketplace for health insurance.
Langrock, 53, is a partner in the Middlebury law firm Langrock, Sperry & Wool. He said he enjoyed the campaign.
“It was a good experience,” Langrock said. “First, I enjoyed working with Diane and running with Diane and getting to know her. Second, just getting out and meeting people, both other candidates in the political process, that was good and expanding and fun, and then going door to door.”
Langrock will mull over whether to run again in the months to come, and believes he might have a better chance as a second-time candidate.
“I’m not making any decisions for a little while,” he said. “But I’m certainly not ruling it out.”
Thurston, 66, a retired radiologist, moved to Vermont in 2013 after living for 33 years in western Maine.  
She was grateful for the support, especially as a first-time candidate, and for the chance to get out her message and address the concerns of those with whom she spoke.
“I would like to thank the 1,662 residents of Addison County District 3 who, by giving me their votes, trusted that I had not only listened to their concerns, (but also) integrated those worries and devised an approach to attempt to alleviate them,” she said.
Thurston hopes the new Legislature can effectively address the concerns she heard about, such as finances, health care, rising property taxes and policies she believes give local communities too little control over siting of renewable energy projects.
Thurston said she enjoyed the experience and will learn from her fellow residents whether she should run again.
“I am looking forward to stay in touch with the people I met, hard working, Vermont-loving, concerned citizens,” she said. “It was a honor to meet them and it will be crucial for me to keep the conversation going.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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