By Stephen Seitz
BETHEL—Democratic Sen. Dick McCormack is hoping to represent Windsor County in the state Senate once again.
McCormack was appointed to fill an unexpired term in 1989 and has been re-elected ever since. He and fellow Democratic incumbents Alice Nitka of Ludlow, and Alison Clarkson of Woodstock, will face Republican challengers Randy Gray of Springfield, Weathersfield resident Jack Williams, and Bethel resident Wayne Townsend.
Asked via email for his top legislative priorities in the next legislative, Mac Cormack listed: “Affordability, the gap between incomes and cost of living; the perennial problem of high school taxes; pollution; climate change; drugs; health care access.”
For health care, McCormack wrote, “Join the rest of the civilized world with a single payer system. I’ve supported this since 1988. At least establish universal primary care as the best bang for the buck and a good start.”
McCormack that the jury is still out when it comes to Act 46.
“I opposed Act 46 in the Senate,” he wrote. “Previously, as Chair of the Education Committee, I opposed similar provisions. My constituents have worked in good faith to make Act 46 work. It’s too soon to know how it will all work out. Unifying districts was extremely stressful. Some districts have had harder times than others.”
Securing schools is also a problem, he wrote.
“Beware of simple answers to this question,” he wrote. “I hate it, but I think we need tighter security at schools. Ugly and hostile as metal detectors are, we’ve gotten used to them at airports. While I’m not convinced about arming teachers, I think each school should have the capacity to immobilize an active shooter if necessary. Time will tell if our efforts to improve gun safety are adequate.”
When it comes to the economy, McCormack said Vermont’s reputation was the most important aspect.
“Vermont’s economy depends on the Vermont brand,” he wrote. “We’re known for environmental quality, healthy recreation, quality, pure food and drink, civil and enlightened politics. Vermont is what America wants to think it is. We must protect our brand.”
Vermont needs better broadband service, he added.
“We also need better electronic connectivity to enhance telecommuting,” he wrote. “Health care reform, family leave, a higher minimum wage, and collective bargaining are all part of improving the economy. Renewable energy is central to economic growth. It saves money. It keeps money in-state.”
When asked if he supported regulating and taxing marijuana now that possession and consumption are legal in Vermont, McCormack replied with a simple “Yes.”
McCormack has lived in Bethel since 1970. He has a 1970 history degree from Hofstra University, and was graduated from Vermont Law School in 2002 with a master’s degree, cum laude.
For more information visit McCormack’s Facebook page.