On June 5, 2024

Buss steps down from House rep, Kimbell steps up 

Submitted-Rep. Tesha Buss

By Katy Savage

After serving just one term, Rep. Tesha Buss, D-West Woodstock, is stepping down.

Buss, 50, won’t be seeking reelection in November to spend more time with her family and focus on her daughter’s gymnastics career. Her daughter, Izabella Skuro, 10, recently won the state championship in Xcel Bronze.  

“She won the state championship for her skill level,” Buss said. “She’s really wanting me to be dedicated to her.” 

Buss, who represents Plymouth, Reading and Woodstock, was elected to a two-year term after she defeated K.T. Cappellini, an independent, in the general election in November 2022, with more than 70% of the vote.

Buss said the lack of legislator pay factored into her decision to not run again.
“The pay is pretty bad for the fact that you’re supposed to go to all the events, the meetings, and do research on your own time,” she said. 

A familiar face could replace her. Charlie Kimbell, who served for three terms in the Legislature before he stepped down to make a bid for lieutenant governor,  is running for Buss’ seat. Kimbell was defeated in the August 2022 Democratic primary by Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.

Kimbell said he heard Buss was stepping down in April and took time to consider the role. 

“I want to go back and do it again,” Kimbell said. “I put my hat in the ring and hopefully I will win on election day.” 

Petitions for Republican and Democratic Party candidates were due May 30. Kimbell is the only candidate so far, though there could be an independent challenger by the time Independent petitions are due in August.

Kimbell is the director of sales at MISys, Inc., which gives him flexibility to work in the Legislature.  Kimbell said he wants to return to help constituents navigate state government and help shape policies in Vermont “so people can thrive.” 

Jim Dandeneau, the executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party, said about 30 legislators are stepping down this year, which is about average. 

“It’s a tough job, it doesn’t pay a lot,” Dandeneau said. “It’s tough to fit it into leading a normal life. It’s an important job, it’s a meaningful job, but you’re making $14,000 a year.” 

Dandeneau said he works with all Democratic incumbents on succession planning. 

“We make sure you have a plan in place, that if something happens to you, you have some folks in mind,” Dandeneau said. “We work with them to do outreach to fill the seats if they leave. We spend two years helping them get ready to run for reelection or to have someone who can run for their seat.” 

Kimbell was his first thought to fill the vacant seat.

“He’s obviously someone with close ties for House leadership, for the caucus,” Dandeneau said. He was one of the first calls when we knew that this was coming.”

While he’s not currently serving, Kimbell has stayed involved in politics.

“Folks who serve, they stay in touch, they make lifelong friendships in the chamber,” Dandeneau said. “They take the job really seriously and they care pretty deeply.” 

Buss said she’ll continue to serve her constituents through the end of her term in January. She’ll likely stay in public service and hopes to return to the Legislature someday.

“I love my job. I really do hope … when my kid has graduated and I’m nearing the end of my professional career, I’d like to go back,” she said.

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