Hardy, Bray picked again for Vt. Senate

ADDISON COUNTY — Incumbent Democratic state Sens. Ruth Hardy and Christopher Bray easily won re-election on Tuesday to the senatorial district that includes Addison County, Huntington and Buel’s Gore.
Hardy, a Middlebury resident, topped the five-person field with 13,061 tallies, earning her a second consecutive term in the state’s highest chamber.
Bray, a Bristol resident who chairs the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee, placed second, with 12,526 votes. He is rounding out his fourth term in the Senate.
Republican challengers Peter Briggs of Addison (8,008 votes) and Jon Christiano of New Haven (5,442 tallies) finished third and fourth, respectively. 
Libertarian Archie Flower of Hancock finished a distant fifth, with 773 votes.
Hardy won big in her hometown of Middlebury (3,015 tallies, compared to 2,704 for Bray), and garnered the most votes in 11 other communities — including Huntington.
Bray was top vote-getter in his hometown of Bristol (1,284-1,147 edge over Hardy). He also placed first in Lincoln, New Haven, Monkton, Panton, Ripton and Starksboro.
Briggs finished on top in his hometown of Addison, along with Bridport, Leicester, Orwell and Salisbury.
Hardy and Bray tied in Weybridge with 411 votes each.
Briggs and Hardy tied in Whiting with 103 tallies apiece.
It was a bruising election for Hardy, in the literal sense of the word. She flipped her car late Tuesday morning on an icy stretch of the Hinesburg Hollow Road on her way from Huntington to Starksboro. Fortunately, she emerged from the wreck relatively unscathed, except for some pain in her head, shoulders and neck.
Her car was totaled.
“It was pretty scary, but I am mostly OK,” Hardy said Wednesday morning.
She thanked a passerby who helped extricate her from her vehicle, as well as members of the Hinesburg Police and Rescue services.
“I’m very happy and honored to have been reelected by the voters of the Addison district,” Hardy said. “I want to thank all the voters who supported me.”
Hardy outlined priorities for the 2021 legislative session that include:
•  The ongoing effort to support Vermont residents and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of systems will have to be repaired or replaced,” Hardy said of the toll the pandemic has taken on the state.
“We need to help our state recover economically and financially and from a health perspective.”
•  Helping Vermont’s public schools and state colleges recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and assisting them in getting stronger. With that in mind, Hardy is working on legislation that would more clearly define the role of school resource officers.
Hardy served during the past biennium on the Senate Education and Agriculture Committees.
•  Making health care more affordable and accessible to Vermonters.
“I’m hoping for changes at the federal level (of government) so we can get more health care options,” Hardy said.
As the Independent went to press, the presidential race between Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump had yet to be settled.
Bray said he’s looking forward to January and a new legislative session that he believes will be very active.
He believes the COVID-19 pandemic will be at the center of most of the General Assembly’s work.
“For every public official, their top priority should be the health and safety (of their constituents),” Bray said.
He pledged to support efforts to get a proven, safe vaccine to Vermonters as quickly as possible. He cautioned it could be six to 18 months before citizens are inoculated and the pandemic is finally over. In the meantime, he urged Vermonters to follow CDC and Department of Health recommendations on staying safe from the virus. That means face coverings, social distancing and constant hand washing.
“We have to not get tired of the simple things we’re doing that we know work,” Bray said.
As leader of Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee, Bray wants to help lay the groundwork for Vermont to embrace a clean energy economy. He emphasized expansion of home/business weatherization efforts, a shift to renewable fuels, and reducing waste dumped at landfills.
“It’s about shifting to a more sustainable way of living,” he said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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