ESSEX — Brian Shelden is running for Vermont State Senate.
A born and raised Vermonter, Shelden is looking to represent Chittenden-North, a new state senate district that contains Milton, Westford, Fairfax and a piece of Essex Town.
Previously, Milton, Westford and Essex were a part of the six-member Chittenden district. Fairfax was a part of the single-member Franklin district. The legislature's recent reapportionment sought to better align districts to the results of the 2020 U.S. Census.
"We need to face the real issues that hold us back from being the great state we know we can be," Shelden stated in an email to the Reporter. "Vermont needs innovative, practical solutions that come from Vermonters working together. Some politicians today are too stuck in the same old tired ideas of the past — or are too busy fighting culture wars that divide us to help us realize our full potential."
A software engineer and a small business owner, Shelden has held numerous leadership positions including chair of the Essex Democrats and chair of the Essex Economic Development Commission. He ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for the Essex Selectboard earlier this year and for the Vermont House of Representatives in 2020.
His priorities, he stated, include providing strong support to small businesses and building more affordable housing.
"As a small business owner, I know from personal experience that to recover from COVID-19, our small businesses need to come back even stronger than they were before," Shelden stated in his email. "As federal resources dry up, we need to craft smart strategies state-wide that promote economic stability and growth so our small businesses can continue to be the life-blood of our communities."
Too many business owners have openings for good jobs, he stated, but can’t fill them because people can’t find an affordable place to live.
"Our communities' children are leaving the state because they cannot afford to find reasonable rent let alone an affordable first home," he stated. "To keep our young people in state and to attract more people to Vermont requires building more affordable housing and creating sustained strategies that make living in Vermont more affordable."
In addition, Shelden says the residents of Chittenden-North deserve to have their voices heard in Montpelier.
"The best way to do that is to have someone at the table who has the ear — and the influence of the people in charge — to get things done for our communities, so we don’t get left behind," he stated. "We may not agree on everything, but you’ll always know where I stand. Through hard work and my willingness to listen, I’ll make it my job to turn vigorous action into outcomes that make a difference."
Shelden joins Rep. Leland Morgan (R-West Milton) and former Essex selectboard member Irene Wrenner in announcing candidacy for the district.