By Stephen Seitz
PLYMOUTH—Republican K.T. Cappellini wants to claim the state representative’s seat being vacated by Alison Clarkson.
Windsor-5 represents the towns of Woodstock, Plymouth and Reading.
Cappellini comes from extensive experience in television news and currently manages an apartment building in New York City, according to his website.
“I’m a strong proponent of states’ rights,” he said, “and I feel that all the ills which currently plague the nation are better solved at the state level rather than at the federal level. I believe in a citizen legislature.”
Cappellini said his main concerns center around economic issues.
“My primary issue is the economy, and bringing working class jobs back to Vermont,” he said. “Middle class jobs are few and far between in Vermont. The working class has been hammered, not only in Vermont, but in the nation at large. My platform revolves around an industrial initiative. If we look at Windsor County, the Precision Valley region, it was once the most advanced machine tool industry the world had ever seen.”
Cappellini said his approach would be different from his opponent, Sustainable Woodstock director Ron Miller.
“It’s a conflict of ideas,” he said. “Should it be, as my opponent in Woodstock puts it, sustainable Vermont? Should it be a utopia where people with money can come up and make their own little paradise, or should it be a place where working class people can make an honest living and stay in the state, and be able to afford it? Right now, the working class can’t afford to live here.”
Cappellini said he did believe in alternative energy like wind and solar, and that it can be made to work in Vermont.
“I’m not all that concerned with site lines,” he said. “I think there’s plenty of room. Vermont has made a significant investment in alternative energy. The money’s already been spent. My platform centers around channeling that investment into industrial pursuits. Why can’t we use alternative energy to power factories? They’re doing it in China out of necessity, They’re doing it in Germany. Why can’t we do it right here in Vermont? We have the know-how. It’s just a matter of changing perceptions.”
On education, Cappellini said he’d prefer to see it done at the local level. Act 46, which provides incentives for school districts to consolidate.
“To me, Act 46 is a leviathan which is really good for the teachers and administrators, but, at face value, not really good for children, as I read it,” he said. “It’s very difficult to understand. It’s not written for parents trying to educate their kids. Consolidated, centralized education is a far different model than Vermont’s used to. We are a state of small towns and communities, and we have a tradition of tuitioning. I think having a sense of place is very important to a child. I think it’s something worth paying for.”
In the last legislative session, the state Senate adopted a plan to fully legalize marijuana, whereas the House decided a study commission is needed to examine the issue of legalization further. Cappellini said he wasn’t there yet.
“I’m not a proponent of full legalization,” he said. “I think what we have now coverd the bases. I look at other states trying to do similar things, and I think the jury is still out on this issue. I think there are a lot of repercussions, especially social repercussions. What happens 10 years down the road? We’re already struggling with a heroin epidemic here. My wife is a social worker in Rutland, and she sees it first-hand. It definitely shouldn’t be done now. Maybe down the road.”
More about Cappellini and his campaign can be found at ktcappellini.com.