Media-targeted GOP Rutland-3 House candidate speaks out on the economy, crime, other issues

In an interview with True North Reports, GOP candidate for Vermont House Jarrod Sammis, of Castleton, said he believes Vermonters are focused on the economy, rising crime and how to protect their civil liberties — not his views on the 2020 election.

“As the Republican candidate for Castleton, my focus is protecting civil liberties — including protecting vulnerable groups, First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights,” he wrote in response to questions sent by TNR on Monday.

Jarrod E. Sammis

Jarrod E. Sammis, GOP candidate for the Rutland-3 House district

Sammis, who is running for the newly redrawn Rutland-3 district, has taken heat from some Democrats and members of the media for questioning the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. As recently as February 2021, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that “57% of likely U.S. voters say Biden won the 2020 presidential election fairly, but 61% of Republicans say Biden did not win the election fairly.”

In response to Democrats who say questioning the 2020 election is “an attack on democracy,” the national GOP posted a 12-minute video on YouTube showing top Democrats — from Hillary Clinton to former President Jimmy Carter — questioning election results from the past two decades.

Sammis, who works for his family’s real estate company, is campaigning against Mary Droege, a Democrat, who is listed as part-time faculty at Castleton University. Both candidates are running for office for the first time.

In response to questions posed by email, Sammis shared his views on a range of issues from the economy and Act 250 to rising crime and education.

The economy

“I strongly emphasize financial accountability for our state, and would ultimately like to see our state budgets audited in order for taxpayers to understand where (or who) all of their taxpayer dollars are going to,” Sammis wrote.

He added that he sticks to conservative principles when it comes to economic and fiscal issues.

“I am a firm believer that excessive taxes, unnecessary regulations, along with subsidizing programs that have no benefit to the average Vermonter, are hurting our businesses and working-class families,” he wrote. He added that he will “push back against any and all new taxes, including the Carbon Tax.”

Land development

When speaking about Vermont’s land use law, Act 250, Sammis said it needs updating, yet he also would like to see some protective measures retained.

“I am a strong advocate for updating Act 250 — retaining environmental protection measures, but allowing businesses to expand and invest in our state,” he wrote. “Encouraging tax breaks for businesses as well will further increase investment in infrastructure, real estate investments, employment opportunities, and long-term stability for our economy.”

On rising crime

When asked about law enforcement in Vermont, Sammis said “I know all too well how violent crime can affect families, having personally lost a family member to violent criminals only a few years ago.”

He said that when taxpayer-funded state police have to spend extra time in a community that voted to defund its local police, those communities should pay the cost.

“Among my goals as state representative is to require townships that voluntarily reduce their police force to be required to pay for the additional law enforcement coverage provided by the state police (i.e. Burlington),” he wrote. “The state also needs to end the ‘catch-and-release’ philosophy that has enabled violent and dangerous criminals to walk our streets without a single day in court.”

Drug addiction

He also commented on the state’s ongoing drug addiction challenges.

“Vermont needs to also take the drug epidemic more seriously as well, which is the root of many of our criminal activities — with deadly overdoses more than doubling in 2021 compared to 2016,” Sammis wrote. “Prevention, education, treatment, and recovery options need to enter the public conversation — along with law enforcement-assisted diversion.”

Mental health

On mental health issues, Sammis said “the second highest cause of death of young Vermonters under 35 [is] from suicide,” and he believes lawmakers need to focus on suicide prevention and education programs.

“Prevention and education programs will not only ultimately save taxpayer dollars and strengthen our communities from having to be diverted to the criminal justice system, but also save lives,” he wrote.


Asked for his views on education in the state, Sammis said “the education system also needs a full reevaluation in terms of its efficiency and how it’s funded, while also allowing third-party educational options being available to all Vermonters. The state needs to also consider its options of being able to protect our students while in the classroom from outside threats.”

Criticism of attacks on free speech

Sammis said he is an alumnus of Castleton University/Castleton State College, and that he believes conservatives on the campus may be living in a culture of fear.

“In conversations with several Castleton students, [I observed that] conservative students and moderate students are no longer involved with expressing their political views on campus in fear of academic and social retaliation. They have chosen for their names to remain anonymous,” he wrote.

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

Image courtesy of Jarrod E. Sammis