Josh Terenzini running for Rutland County senate seat
By Lee J. Kahrs
RUTLAND TOWN — Rutland County Senate seat candidate Josh Terenzini was talking about an issue important to him, the lack of reliable, quality cell phone service in the area.
“It’s 2020 and in my opinion, it’s unacceptable that Rutland County and the state of Vermont doesn’t have good cell service and access to broadband…” he said.
Then silence. As if on cue, the call had dropped on Terenzini, mid-sentence.
When reached again, Terenzini picked up where he left off.
“It’s not only a inconvenience, it makes us less competitive than other state to attract new business,” he added.
Terenzini, 33, is a Republican running for one of three state senate seats representing Rutland County. Incumbents Cheryl Hooker (D) and Brian Collamore are running for re-election, but Republican James McNeil of Rutland Town chose not to run for re-election, opening up a spot for challengers. Terenzini is joined in the race by Brittany Cavacas (I), Larry Courcelle (I),Greg Cox (D), Casey Jennings (I), Richard “Sensei” Lenchus (I), Michael Shank (I) ), and Terry Williams (R).
Getting to know you
Terenzini and his wife Jessica have three girls, Grace, 8; Kennedy, 5; and Liberty, 2 as well as a newborn son, Grant.
It was noted that the names Terenzini and his wife chose for their children are decidedly non-partisan. Terenzini said that is also his plan should he win election to the Rutland County Senate seat.
“Being a good neighbor should override your party affiliation,” he said. “In all posts I’ve held, I’ve operated under that ideal. I want people to vote for me because of my ideas and my experience. That spirit of collaboration is what I want to bring to Montpelier. It’s people over party.”
Terenzini is the district sales manager for the Mattress Firm mattress company, where he has worked for the last eight years and oversees all of the stores in Vermont and in Western Massachusetts. He has also been a member of the Rutland Town Select Board for the last decade and has been board chair since 2015. He was also chair of the District 1 Act 250 Commission in 2019.
His father is Rep. Tom Terenzini, who is seeking a fourth term representing Rutland-4 in the Vermont House.
This is the younger Terenzini’s first time running for state office, however. When asked what led to that decision, he answered: “Well, I wouldn’t have made this decision without the love and support of my family… after much discussion, it made sense to enter the race this year.”
He added that his employer has also been very supportive of his decision to run.
“Certainly my priority if elected would be to serve the 60,000 people of Rutland County,” he said. “As district manager, I have a lot of flexibility and I have a good team so we shouldn’t miss a beat.”
Why he’s running, policy concerns
Terenzini was blunt.
“I’m disenfranchised on a state and local level,” he said. “There’s a gap in how things are run. At the municipal level we’re closest to the people. I think that’s where my experience will be valuable.”
Terenzini said he feels that state legislators have become tone deaf to the reality of the average Vermonter when it comes to budgeting.
“At the municipal level, the select board debates over spending $500 or $1,000 because we know how hard it is to craft a budget and ask people to spend more,” he said. “At the state level, they don’t think as much about that. It seems to be easier to accept passing large budget increased and spending a million on this or that doesn’t seem to be a concern.”
And on the subject of finances, Terenzini said now is the time to tackle the current and post-pandemic financial crisis in Vermont .
“Revenue is not coming in because of the pandemic,” he said. “There will be tough financial decisions to be made over the next two years to close the financial gap we have.”
Education funding is another issue on Terenzini’s platform. He said Vermont’s mechanism for funding education through property taxes is “convoluted and downright confusing,” circling back to issues that draw people to move here.
“There is a lack of transparency in how we fund education,” he continued. “It’s a deciding factor in how people decide to move to Vermont. We have declining enrollment and we really need to figure out how to educate our kids in a more affordable way.”
To the end, Terenzini said his first choice for committee assignment if elected would be the House Education Committee.
Running for Rutland County
Like many people outside of the Burlington area, Terenzini said he is tired of the Chittenden County bias in Montpelier.
“I will be a great ambassador for Rutland County,” he said. “We have the skiing, Lake Bomoseen, excellent schools and job opportunities. Rutland County has everything you’d want in a great Vermont county. I think Chittenden County is Montpelier’s priority. We wouldn’t mind feeling a little more love from Montpelier.”
With two months to go before the General Election, Terenzini said his love for Rutland County will dictate his priorities should he be elected as a Vermont senator.
“My goal is to give voice to the people of Rutland County and make sure they’re not forgotten about,”