Re-elect Lori Houghton
I’ve been lucky to serve alongside Lori Houghton for several years now, and I strongly support her campaign for reelection. Lori’s skills as a leader, community organizer and policymaker are outstanding, but what I respect most about her is that the Village of Essex Jct. and all its residents are her greatest concern, every day.

In her first term as our state representative, Lori reached out to the trustees regularly to inform us about issues and legislation that could benefit or harm the village. She made sure the concerns and wishes of village residents were brought to the legislature. And as a member of the House Healthcare Committee, she made responsible decisions informed by her frequent outreach to our community.

I encourage village residents to re-elect Lori Houghton to continue our excellent representation in the State House. Please be sure to vote at Essex High School on Tuesday, Nov. 6. If you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, that’s OK – early voting is underway right now, and ballots are available at the town offices at 81 Main St.

Elaine Haney Sopchak
Village trustee & town selectboard member, Essex Jct.


An endorsement for Myers
I am writing to strongly endorse Linda Myers for another term as our representative in the Vermont Legislature. Linda has served Essex with distinction since 2001 as the former vice chair of the House Corrections and Institutions Committee and most recently as a member of the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee. She also serves as a member of the House Judicial Nominating Committee. She always makes herself available to answer questions and provide insight on the bills under consideration in the House.

I had the privilege of serving with Linda when she chaired the Essex Selectboard. She showed the leadership skills to ensure everyone from the public and on the Board had their say while maintaining control of the agenda and completing the action items before us. She has her opinions about what she thinks is best for us but has the ability to welcome and consider diverse opinions. As selectboard chair, she would often defer her own opinion on an item before us until everyone had made their views known.

In closing, I can think of no one more qualified than Linda to represent us in Montpelier. Her long residency in Essex, her past leadership positions in Essex and Montpelier and her experience bring a wealth of knowledge to that seat. Her love of Essex and her protection of our best interests is unquestioned. Please join me in voting for Linda Myers to represent Essex in November.

R. Michael Plageman
Essex Jct.


Support for Houghton
Now, more than ever, it is crucial that our elected officials are actively engaged in understanding the viewpoints, concerns, and imperatives for all of their constituents. They must be willing to listen to all opinions and understand the perspectives of those on different sides of an issue or topic. We elect our representatives to look out for our best interests, and to have our same ideals and stance on issues when we give them our vote.

Ultimately, however, our representative is charged with making their own decision to vote on the issues that come before them. I am confident that Lori Houghton has the dedication, intelligence, thoroughness and courage to do the hard work of gathering information, actively listening to voters, and to working with her fellow legislators to make not just Essex but all of Vermont a better place to live, work and raise a family through her work in Montpelier. Her voice as a working mother and small business owner are vital to diversifying the makeup of our legislature. She once again has my vote, and I encourage you to support her as well. Early voting began on September 21 – please make sure to vote!

Erin Kennedy Knox
Essex Jct.


Essex needs safe shooting rules
I would like to add my voice to those calling for changes to town ordinances on firearms usage. With the increased development approved by the town, our population density is no longer that of a rural community. Many people use our parks and forests for recreation, and they should be able to enjoy these spaces without fearing that they may be shot. Furthermore, it is no longer possible for residents to set up backyard firing ranges without posing an unacceptable risk to the safety of their nearby neighbors.

Ten years ago this month, my grandfather, Essex resident John Reiss, was killed while sitting in his own home when his neighbor shot him from a firing range without an adequate backstop. How many other backyard firing ranges in the town are similarly unsafe? And how many other people will be injured or killed before we take action?

The loss to my family is still deeply felt, and it saddens me that we have not made any changes to make our community safer in the ten years since my grandfather died. I urge the selectboard to enact sensible reforms that could prevent this avoidable tragedy from happening again in our town.

Mia Watson
Essex Jct.