BURLINGTON — Aside from Ethan Sonneborn, a 13-year-old Bristol student running for governor, Alex Farrell is Vermont’s youngest political candidate to announce a bid for elected office. The 25-year-old Burlington resident is running for state Senate as a Republican in deeply Democratic Chittenden County.
With discontent and division at high levels in Vermont politics, 2018 may be a good year for fresh young candidates to give voters a fresh new start.
A senior business intelligence analyst for Montpelier-based Union Mutual Insurance of Vermont, Farrell grew up in Shelburne. He attended Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg and graduated from the University of Vermont, where he studied business finance and political science.
Farrell serves on Burlington’s Board for Registration of Voters and is a member of the city steering committee for the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies in Wards 4 and 7. He is also a dedicated supporter of the Vermont Special Olympics, having donated many volunteer hours along with fundraising activities.
“There wasn’t one particular precipitating issue or event that made me want to run for the Vermont Senate,” Farrell said in an interview with True North Reports. “It kind of grew slowly on me — from, at first, local Burlington politics, to much larger statewide issues of concern.
“Chittenden County is near and dear to my heart. Primarily, I see anti-growth and anti-development people making it much harder for folks of all backgrounds to live in Vermont today. I want to make it easier for people of all stripes to live here. So, following Town Meeting Day last month … I decided to jump in on a state level.”
Farrell’s family has lived in Vermont for many generations. He says family and friends have noticed steady changes over the years affecting the state’s business and social landscape.
“As a young person making a decision to live right here in Vermont, I get sticker shock,” Farrell said. “I see friends leaving for jobs in Boston and New York City, where there are more opportunities. Then I read a commentary by economist Dr. Art Woolf of UVM, [who] reported about the state’s population stagnation. Most counties have shrunk a bit, and I want to be a part of reversing that trend.”
Farrell said Vermont has many hurdles yet to be addressed in Montpelier, but that change can’t happen if the same people remain in office.
However, the young candidate and native Vermonters faces an uphill climb in the Democrat-held fortress of Chittenden County. There are six Senate seats open in Chittenden County, and Farrell is the only right-leaning candidate making a run for office.
“I suppose I am part of a rare breed of Vermont Republican candidates,” he said.
While Farrell doesn’t go into detail on state policy issues just yet, he paints an overall portrait of how he will approach legislating if elected. However, he seems to embrace Gov. Phil Scott’s vision of limited spending increases and no new tax hikes.
“Gov. Scott has made it pretty clear about there being no new taxes or fees in any legislation introduced, [and] I think that’s a very good thing,” he said. “Any legislators who oppose that idea would need to reevaluate their approach with the shifting needs of Vermonters.”
He supports other Scott agenda items, including the “cradle-to-career” education approach, statewide economic growth, expansion of pre-kindergarten education and a streamlining of the Act 250 process.
“In my job, I have to look at budgets and ROI projects, and the hardest thing to budget for is unpredictability. The Act 250 process is (unpredictable) for many developers,” he said.
To handle the more challenging matters of campaigning and policy, Farrell has surrounded himself with seasoned Vermont Republicans.
On his team are former Vermont GOP Executive Director Jeff Bartley; state Rep. Kurt Wright; Jason Maulucci, a Phil Scott staffer and speech writer; Burlington GOP activist Ashley Strong; and several other young professionals.
“Kurt and I are close. He’s guiding me and putting through the ‘Kurt Wright School of Legislation,'” Farrell said.
Maulucci has known Farrell for three years. He told True North that electing a young professional to the Vermont Senate would be a big plus for both the party and the state.
“We have difficult demographics here. We need to figure out how to recruit more young professionals and I think he’ll bring more perspective,” Maulucci said.
UVM business educator Thomas Chittenden, a descendant of Vermont’s first governor — Gov. Thomas Chittenden, who served from 1778 to 1789, when the state was an independent republic, and again during statehood, from 1790 to 1797 — knows Farrell from his days as a business student. He said Farrell was an excellent student, and that he’s pleased to see him run for elected office.
“Alex will offer a fresh perspective in Montpelier,” Chittenden told True North. “I am really glad to see Vermont youth get involved in the political arena. I can’t escape my own Vermont [and] Chittenden roots, so I think Alex will be a very good candidate and a good senator.”
Wright confirmed that he’s Farrell’s political mentor during the 2018 campaign.
“This is a big race and I am really excited for Alex,” Wright told TNR. “He is bright, a young professional, and will add some balance to the Chittenden County delegation which is always welcome.
“I think it’s great that a young man is willing to take on such a daunting task and challenge as running for a state Senate seat. I think Alex knows it’s a long shot, but sometimes long shots come in.”
Lou Varricchio is a freelance reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at email@example.com.
9 thoughts on “Young Republican makes bid for state Senate in Democratic county”
Good luck, Young Republican. But watch your back. Old Republicans don’t like upcoming Republicans with new ideas.
Alex Farrell has one way to get elected. He has assembled a great crew.
Show Republicans how Bullet Voting works.
We get to vote for 6 names in our blasted Chit. Co . Don’t vote for someone you don’t really want. Your 5 extra votes are dangerous.
Vote ONLY for Mr Farrell, period.
Any other vote you make for a “favorite progressive” is a vote counted against Farrell
Certainly one in 6 voters is Republican and sick of the 6PAK.
Vote only for the Republican of your choice.
Agreed don’t waste votes on someone who has proven they are not worthy of the voters trust or has already violated their oath of office.
However with Chittenden Co. senate as the example,there is a need for more than one conservative.
Looking at the positive side, the Flatlanders that moved into Chittenden County really are the ones that rule and control VT given their numbers over conservative VT. I noted on issues such as Gun Control S.55 many other Dem Socialists march to the drum of their piper-Chittenden County controllers, Sen’s Jeanette Wright and Becca Balint of Windham and the famous mindless $318 million expenditure voting record of Sen. Alison H. Clarkson, Windsor, from Buffalo NY.
Being in that same county and being opposite, is a hard task to over come, given that’s a brained washed-mindless populaces area. I give Alex Farrell great credit and support. I’ll send this article link to other true VT’ers. Keith Stern is another I support for Governor. I’ll also send this link to good Rep Legislators, perhaps they don’t access True North Reports.
A possible ray of light between the heavy overcast clouds over Montpelier?
Like the lyrics in a Toby Keith song ” Justice will be served and the battle will rage
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage ” Hopefully this is the start !!
Wake up Vermonters .
It’s difficult to wake up Vt’ers who are hard working nice basic people, struggling to survive, I’m one, but am retired and informed. Given that people like Alex Farrell seeking office and honest caring Republicans in the Bastille kingdom known as Montpelier they may in their running may spread truth in a crappy Liberal environment. I’ve noted in many articles, time honored Dems have wakened up and pledge allegiance to Reps. Is there hope this will be realized? Dems can sink the state so low that in order to survive, the situation has to return to reality, and TAKE VT BACK.
Perhaps if good people get elected, they should duplicate the NH Legislature’s reimbursement for Gov service, $100 a year salary. Keeps the Lib drones out, not a economical life saving for them. The Gov should not be a income supporting venture. But they ruined jobs, no work, no outside income, so get elected and survive. NH also has the biggest representative body in the US. It’s proven to be very effective and honest.
My take is if he says he a Conservative, he’ll get my vote . We have tried for years to clean
out Chittenden County and it’s six ” Progressive Democrat ” Maybe this is step one on doing
just that……………..one can only hope !!
Lets all wish him well in his run for office.
Lets hope he is a candidate not in the vein of RINO Scott and truly conservative.
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