A dozen 2020 ‘Agripublican’ candidates announce campaigns for Vermont seats

Michael Bielawski/TNR

MEET THE “AGRIPUBLICANS”: From left to right, Bill Huff of Thetford, Jim Nagle of Lyndonville, Sally Achey of Middleton Springs, Kathy Vorce of Rutland, David Soulia of Pittsford, Bob Readie of Warren, and Ericka Redic of Burlington are running for open House and Senate seats. Standing behind Sally Achey, middle, is Sarah Toscano of Hinesburg.

MONTPELIER — A dozen candidates for political offices including lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, three Senate seats and six House seats announced their candidacies Monday morning at a joint news conference at the Statehouse.

The candidates, mostly rural conservatives, are running as “Agripublicans,” a nickname chosen to distinguish the group from conventional Republicans. The group is led by gubernatorial candidate John Klar, who announced his campaign for governor in November.

Klar held the conference and took questions at the end. Throughout, he emphasized that Agripublican candidates will focus on the economy, schools and the opioid crisis. He also said the group worked together to craft a message that could have broad appeal throughout the state.

“We have spent a year crafting this, trying to figure out what would appeal to everyone so we could achieve enough consensus, that the state of Vermont would not be a national referendum on one person,” he said. “We have our issues.”

One Agripublican, Dana Colson, of Sharon, announced his campaign for lieutenant governor. He will run against Meg Hansen in the Republican primary, and the winner will face off against the Democratic candidate.

Colson, who has a background in business, said he has learned leadership by operating a welding company. He also mentioned his volunteer work.

“I currently serve as the financial clerk for my local church, and I have also worked closely with the Tunbridge-based and intelligence-based policing group on the opioid crisis and criminal justice reform,” he said.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

At right, gubernatorial candidate John Klar, introduces fellow “Agripublicans” — from left to right, Alice Flanders, H. Brooke Paige and Dana Colson.

Colson has been in the news in recent years due to personal tragedy. His son, Austin Colson, disappeared in January 2018 and was found dead months later near Beaver Meadow Road in Norwich. The death was ruled a homicide.

Running for secretary of state is H. Brooke Paige, of Washington, who will make a second attempt to defeat incumbent Secretary of State Jim Condos. At the event, Paige explained his desire to do away with primaries in favor of a more stable party caucus system.

“[This is] where the party gets to pick its champions, rather than [have] some random event where anybody can go out and get signatures for any party to run for any office,” Paige said.

Alice Flanders, who announced her candidacy for state auditor, said she has managed massive budgets for the Pentagon and has worked as a naval aerospace engineer, overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

“Because we have let our state goals into the hands of those whose interests are not aligned with the average people … our state is now in a very serious and bad situation,” Flanders said.

Three Vermonters announced their campaigns for state Senate. Bill Huff, of Thetford, who will run in the Orange District, has spent three decades as an airline pilot and two decades as a certified financial planner. Terry Williams, of Poultney, who will run in Rutland County, is a 35-year military veteran. Jim Nagle, of Lyndonville, who will run for a Caledonia seat, has served 28 years in the U.S. Coast Guard and conducted security for commercial vessels in the aftermath of 9/11.

Six Agripublicans also announced their candidacies for state House. Sally Achey of Middleton Springs, will run in the Rutland-Bennington district. Her resume includes a bachelor’s degree in math from UVM, and graduate studies in applied statistics at Princeton University.

Bob Readie, of Warren, will run for the Washington-7 seat. He is an environmental health and safety officer with experience understanding hazardous materials.

Ericka Redic, of Burlington, is running for the Chittenden 6-1 seat. She has run an accounting firm for six years and invested in a Burlington apartment building that, she says, opened her eyes to the bureaucratic red tape Vermonters face.

Kathy Vorce, of Rutland, is running for Rutland 5-3. She earned an associate degree as a medical office assistant from Southern Vermont College; she’s also certified as a paralegal.

David Soulia, of Pittsford, is running for Rutland-6. He has owned a business as a painting and papering contractor. Other positions have included Humane Society shelter manager, webmaster, computer programmer, and more.

Sarah Toscano, of Hinesburg, said she is running for the Chittenden 4-2 district seat. She said her main issues are supporting small schools, farms and small businesses.

All the Agripublican candidates are running on the Republican ticket.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

16 thoughts on “A dozen 2020 ‘Agripublican’ candidates announce campaigns for Vermont seats

  1. Agripublican? Just what does it mean.

    It doesn’t mean that you’re a Republican or you believe in Republican values when you call for the removal of some of the best representation we’ve had in recent years including Brian collamore.

    It certainly doesn’t mean you’re a republican when you support rhinos and you are afraid to offer support for our great President Donald Trump.

    It doesn’t mean you support Republicans when you have members that call for the destruction of the Republican Party.

    I certainly can’t support a group that is involved with people like 802 Vermont that have called for the destruction of the Republican Party.

    Are these the first steps in an attempt to destroy us?

    People you better pay attention and do your research I have.


  2. One thing that is confusing: Are they running as Republicans or as their own party members? Most of them I support 100% but don’t cloud the political environment. I’m running as a Republican but don’t want to admit to being one? Enough with the double speak and distractions.
    As a former (and possible future) candidate, I commend them all for putting themselves out there to try and make a difference.
    Just talk about the issues and your solutions and stop with the political nonsense. Leave that to the D’s and P’s.

  3. “Zuckerman will run for governor; announcement coming next week…..”

    This is an opportunity for these conservatives to make some political hay.

  4. As a political “newbie”, I am excited to see others like me whose hearts and souls are inextricably tied to this beautiful state. I never envisioned myself, a 63 year-old mother and grandmother, entering the political lion’s den. Am I anxious? Absolutely! This is WAY out of my comfort zone. Am I willing to let my beloved state fall victim to social justice ideologs? Not on your life! Our way of life, our culture, our heritage cannot be replaced if we let them die. This is our pivotal moment, my friends, the time in the history of our beautiful state when the Green Mountain boys must rise again and fight for our FREEDOM AND UNITY!

    • Your newfound passion is infectious, even on an old political cynic like me. If a few more of you make yourselves known in this way, I’ll have no choice but to think there is yet hope that like minds may revitalize this truly phenomenal American Republic of ours. Strength and Honor.

  5. If the people who don’t normally vote get to the polls and vote this time we just might gain some power in Montpelier. let’s hope.

  6. Great to note that global warming is not on their agenda. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a bunch of candidates focusing on the real issues needing attention in Vermont. Go agripublicans!!!!

  7. People of all stripes are finally wising up to the ruling Democrats and Progressives on the national level who have only promised this trinket or that trinket for years and then wound up losing more precious time and life with outrageous progressive social policies and divisive, completely fabricated identity political themes. It never changes for the Progressives except for the worse. VT has been steadily losing its population for years due to sloppy management not the weather. The arguments to appeal to the voters for change are plentiful and are already in play as the same cry for change can be heard from the streets of the UK, a growing list of Europe countries and throughout the US. We desperately need our candidates to synch up as a party of unity, declaring the same ideological failures of the Progressives, and sharply contrasting with clear business based solutions to grow our state and create the platforms for opportunity rather than perpetual despair.

  8. The controlling Socialists, mainly from Chittenden County most likely will still dominate the committees, being chairpersons, and dictate who’s going to be seated regardless of voter outcome. Such as VT politics, quite ruthless.

    They had tried to overturn and election before to maintain a majority, Bob Frenier’s. What’s to say they won’t try again at the upcoming election?

    I’ve met Bob at the Tunbridge Fair a nice guy, had quite a chat. If those that are running are the same, I have hope for VT.

  9. I don’t believe there has ever been such a strong showing of solidarity in a LONG time. I wonder if this public event (the announcement of 11 like minded candidates at one time) is a record for Vermont politics?
    Excellent showing of unity towards, hopefully ,helping to return Vermont values & ethics in politics. Well done team. #802VTALLIANCE

  10. Best of luck to all the mentioned candidates who’s wish to HELP Vermonters instead
    of party AGENDAS as has been the case of the leftist fascist who’ve ruled the
    state for far too long……..

  11. Retaking the High Ground !

    I am proud to join these and other soon to announce “agripublicans’ in an effort to storm the Golden Domed Bastille and retake the financial and societal high ground to restore sanity integrity to our “Proud Little State !”

    Stay Tuned and for Heaven’s Sake – Pay Attention !

  12. This is a VERY encouraging slate of legislative candidates. Their resumes are equal or superior to most legislators serving.

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