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Harvey Smith returns to House

ADDISON-5 — Longtime incumbent Rep. Harvey Smith said he was surprised that his margin of victory in the Addison-5 House race wasn’t closer. Smith, a New Haven Republican, defeated Bridport Democrat and first-time candidate Jubilee McGill, 1,331-1,127, for the seat that represents New Haven, Bridport and Weybridge.
Smith, who first won this House seat in 1998, garnered 52% of the vote and McGill received 44%. On Wednesday morning Smith said the coronavirus pandemic cut down on face-to-face contact with voters.
“I campaigned in a very different way,” he said, noting that he sent out a lot of postcards. Smith also offered invitations to constituents to talk about the issues, and as a result he did hold conversation at front doors or outdoors at his home or theirs.
“I had some in-depth, candid discussions with people,” he said.
McGill carried the vote in Weybridge, with 396 to Smith’s 200. But Smith won New Haven, 690-452, and Bridport, 441-279.
Smith is optimistic that the Legislature can help alleviate some of the impact of COVID-19 on Vermont, and supports measures to keep the virus at bay, including handwashing and social distancing.
“I think we’ll learn to live with it and keep a manageable amount of commerce,” he said.
Smith is glad to see that coronavirus seems to have spurred interest in local food production — “People want to know that they can buy a high-quality product close to home” — and noted that local foods means not shipping food around the world, which combats climate change.
“I’m going to work toward that end” of supporting local food production, he said.
Smith said he’d like to be selected to work on the Agriculture Committee in the coming House session, but he would be happy to serve on any committee. In this past biennium, he was on the Natural Resources Committee.
“No matter where I am assigned … I will really push for agriculture issues,” he said. “What I’ve discovered over the years is that growing the rural economy — agriculture and forestry — turns out not to be as partisan as other issues.”
Smith was grateful to win his 10th election to represent his hometown and surrounding towns in the Vermont House.
“I really feel honored that I had the support and can continue serving the constituency,” he said. “I’m hoping we find some common ground.” 

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