Two strong conservative candidates running for Addison-5 district seat, voters must choose one

Two conservative candidates are running for the Addison-5 House district seat, but only one will win the upcoming primary election on Aug. 9.

Voters in the towns of New Haven, Weybridge and Bridport will have a chance to select a conservative to replace retiring state Rep. Harvey Smith, Addison County’s only Republican representative in the House. Smith had served 10 two-year terms.

The two Republican candidates are Jon Christiano, of New Haven, and Zachary Kent, of Bridport. The winner will go on to face Democrat Jubilee McGill, a candidate that wants to rebuild our economy based on green energy.

Jon Christiano

Christiano, a U.S. Navy veteran with four children and three grandchildren, said supporting police and reforming education should be top priorities for the state.

Jon Christiano

A STRONG CONSERVATIVE: A U.S. Navy veteran with four children and three grandchildren, Jon Christiano wants to represent Vermont’s Addison-5 district as a leader with values such as supporting law enforcement and getting schools to teach reading, writing and arithmetic.

In particular, he said residents need to remember and appreciate how dangerous a job it is to fight crime.

“I don’t know about you, but I’d think twice about putting my coat on and going out and facing who knows what and not knowing if I’m going to get back to my family,” he said.

Christiano supports strengthening local police with the funding necessary to keep residents safe.

On the issue of education, he said he would like to see a return traditional basics.

“I’m all for education. I think we should get away from the picnics in the park and get back to reading, writing and arithmetic,” he said. “It’s not a social club, you are supposed to learn. So they are turning our youth out that are basically, in my opinion, not capable of doing much of anything. But they are really experts on I’m not sure what.”

On election security, Christiano said America needs to take the issue seriously.

“I think we’ve got a lot of nerve going to a country like Afghanistan and telling them that they have to have their thumb print marked in ink on the ballot, yet we’re dropping them in a mailbox that anybody could come along and stuff,” he said.

And on energy policy, he said the push for green energy is premature.

“They are trying to push renewables and I don’t think renewables are there yet,” he said.

Zachary Kent

Kent has worked in information technology for over 20 years, specifically in web technologies. He holds similarly conservative view on the top issues facing Vermont.

On rising crime, he suggested that when folks get in trouble with the law, they often need to be kept off the streets.

Zachary Kent

ANOTHER STRONG CONSERVATIVE: Zachary Kent hold conservative views and values, including supporting police and getting schools to start teaching more practical skills again.

“Well if you look at this murder, well the guy’s had like 12 prior convictions, you know he’s got a rap sheet, he shouldn’t be on the street,” he said.

He said he stands for funding and training police, and protecting their immunity from lawsuits.

“Qualified immunity, that cannot be a thing. We have to make sure that cops do not get sued personally,” Kent said.

He added that there are mechanisms in place for officer accountability, including the widespread use of body cameras that protect both the public and the officers.

“I believe at a high level that the government’s job is to ensure that citizens are healthy, they are safe, they are educated, they are prosperous, and they are free,” he said.

On the issue of education, Kent said students need to focus on tangible skills for the workplace.

“I do not think that government-funded schools should be in the business of legislating morality or ethics,” he said. “It’s not their job. They should be teaching kids how to read and write.”

He added that schools should focus on helping students prepare to be future business owners, future tradesmen, or other roles that align with the current workplace.

“So as far as education, I’ve been saying for years we need to somehow destigmatize trade schools,” he said. “… We’re putting a lot of pressure on kids to make the biggest investment of their lives into something that they don’t really know if they want to do until they get there.”

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

Images courtesy of Jon Christiano and Zachary Kent