Opinion
August 20, 2014

Write-in candidate for Rutland County state senator

Dear Editor,

My name is Kelly Socia and I am running in the Aug. 26 primary election as a write-in candidate for state senator from Rutland County.

I have just retired after 34 years from the United States Postal Service.  For the last 8 years I have been building Vermont Backroad Tours.  I have developed this from an idea, to a small business that entertains hundreds of visitors to Vermont each year that come here for scenic tours, weddings, brewery and winery tours and of more local interest my annual “Christmas Light Tours.”  I am proud to be part of the local tourist industry responsible for bringing people here from all over to show them the beauty Rutland County has to offer.  It also feels good to know I am doing my part to stimulate the local economy.

I am disenchanted by the local political parties who fail year after year to offer the voters of Rutland County a choice in the August primary elections.  Each year they put up 3 candidates for 3 positions on the ballot for state senate.  Many years the parties for lack of strong candidates will just offer the voters a fill in candidate just to fill the ballot.  In 2012 the voters in Rutland County had no choice.  The republicans and democrats just put up the 3 incumbents.  I’m no conspiracy theorist, but it makes me wonder if there was a little collusion going on.  At the least, this kind of action as established political behavior is irresponsible.

You may ask, what makes me qualified to run for any elective office in which I would be representing your interest?  If you’re looking for someone who rubs elbows with the political power brokers of Rutland County, I guess I would not get your vote.  No, I don’t have the name famous in the political arena.  I would guess that there really isn’t anything that qualifies me to be your voice in Montpelier.

I’m just a native born local guy that was brought up in a working poor class family.  I was not a great student in school.  I was in the top of one-third of my high school class.  That third of the class was the bottom third, but I was at the top of that bottom third of the class.  I remember my high school science teacher Mrs. Berger saying to me one time, “You could do so well if you would apply yourself.” At the time I remember thinking well it’s nice to know I have that option.  I spent the years after high school traveling around the country finding adventure believing that I could always get a job, and I always did.  I got married to a local girl, landed a nice middle class blue collar job for 34 years, raised a couple a great kids.  Ten years ago I had a goal of finding a job where I could be my own boss and supplement a civil service retirement and help put my girl though college.  I grew Vermont Backroad Tours from an idea to a business that in a small way is doing its part in stimulating the local economy.  I am a landlord that hasn’t forgotten what it was like to be a good tenant.

I have been in a leadership position representing co-workers and making their lives a little better.  Before starting Vermont Backroad Tours, because of my work with union/management conflict, I pursued mediation as a possible part time career to supplement retirement.  I opted for being with people having a good time instead of with people pissed off at each other.  One of my proudest achievements over the years has been saving lives by frequently giving blood.

One of the nicest compliments I ever received was from someone who knew me from a young age.  She said to me a couple of years ago, “Kelly, the thing I admire about you is, if you had a goal, you went ahead and worked towards it. You wouldn’t let anyone discourage you.”

No, I guess I’m not much of a politician.  I’m just a family man, and a working man, and a business man, and someone who sticks with a job until the job is done!  This is what I am offering the voters of Rutland County.

Kelly Socia, Wallingford

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