SHOREHAM — Incumbent independent Will Stevens of Shoreham on Tuesday won his third term in the Vermont House of Representatives with a 1,059 to 599 victory over Whiting Republican Joy Jones in the Addison-Rutland-1 district, which encompasses Shoreham, Whiting, Orwell and Benson.
Voters in several other area towns returned incumbents to the Vermont House in three uncontested races: Willem Jewett in Addison-2, Republican Joe Acinapura in Brandon, and Betty Nuovo in Middlebury. Newcomer Paul Ralston also won a seat in Middlebury.
Stevens, who runs Golden Russet vegetable farm with his wife, Judy, served on the House Agriculture committee in his first two terms and hopes to continue there in the coming session. He foresees work he started this year coming to fruition in the coming months. In January, for instance, a report on the Farm-to-Plate program will give a snapshot of Vermont’s food system and make recommendations for improvement.
“I’m guessing we’ll have a role to play in that,” Stevens said.
He also will, along with other lawmakers, have his hands full with the state budget.
Stevens said he was gratified to get the backing of so many people in his constituency.
“I find it heartening that people will vote for a person who will work on issues and not rely on party affiliation as a surrogate,” the independent said.
Jones was a write-in candidate in the Republican primary in Addison-Rutland-1. She had been trying to recruit a Republican challenger for Stevens, but the homeschool teacher couldn’t find a candidate so she ran herself.
Stevens prevailed in all four district towns, including Jones’s own hometown of Whiting, where he tallied 94 to Jones’s 77. Stevens also won in Shoreham (403-155), Orwell (327-226) and Benson (235-141).
Meanwhile, Ripton Democrat Willem Jewett earned a fifth consecutive term representing the Addison-2 House district, which includes Ripton, Hancock, Salisbury, Cornwall, Goshen and Leicester. He garnered 1,595 votes. In the 2008 election Jewett got 1,780 votes vs. GOP competitor John “Ike” Hughes, who tallied 681.
And in Brandon, Rep. Joe Acinapura, who won both the Republican and Democratic primaries, won and will serve his third full term. Acinapura was appointed to the seat by Gov. James Douglas in late 2005 to finish the term of the Rep. Bob Woods, who died in office. On Tuesday, Acinapura garnered 1,258 votes.
In Middlebury — officially the Addison-1 district — two Democrats won an uncontested race. Longtime incumbent Nuovo received 2,075 votes and Ralston, in his first run, tallied 1,903.
John McCright is at [email protected].