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Conlon to serve a third term

ADDISON-2 — Incumbent Rep. Peter Conlon, D-Cornwall on Tuesday easily won reelection to a third term representing the Addison-2 Vermont House seat that represents Cornwall, Salisbury, Leicester, Ripton, Goshen and Hancock. Conlon, the only candidate on the ballot, tallied 1,984 votes. Millard “Mac” Cox of Ripton ran a write-in campaign that garnered 180 votes.
Conlon is looking forward to helping the state get back on its feet from the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“It is somewhat overwhelming,” Conlon said. “That is certainly true in education, where the pandemic has delayed needed reforms in special education funding, and where revenue to the Education Fund is taking a big hit.”
Conlon hopes to build on the experience of his four years on the House Education Committee to help Vermont navigate these difficult waters.
“We also need to address all that the pandemic has exposed in Vermont — from significant shortcomings in broadband service, to a health care system that works well for the well-insured, but pretty much sucks for the rest of us,” he said.
When it comes to reforming the education funding system, Conlon said the changes needed are relatively modest. He said that despite the perceived reliance on property taxes, the state actually has a fairly progressive system as two-thirds of Vermonters pay their education taxes based on income, and two-thirds of education funding doesn’t come from homestead property taxes. 
“I think we need to look at smaller changes, such as adjusting the excess spending threshold to account for the crushing burden of health care cost increases,” he said. “We also need to take a hard look at the amount of social services schools must provide and pay for that, in other states, is not the responsibility of school funding formulas.”
Though Gov. Phil Scott won a resounding re-election victory, Conlon doesn’t think it will be any easier for the Republican executive to work with the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
“The governor has vetoed important legislation that other Republican governors have supported and succeeded with, such as paid family leave,” Conlon said. “The people of Vermont have spoken by electing, by a larger and larger majority, representatives who support these initiatives.
Here are the vote totals by town for the top vote-getters in Addison-2:
Salisbury: Conlon, 481; Cox, 32
Cornwall: Conlon, 690; Cox, 26
Leicester: Conlon, 401; Cox, 0
Goshen: Conlon, 96; Cox, 5
Ripton: Conlon, 187; Cox, 117
Hancock: Conlon, 129; Cox, 0

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