Republican qualifies for Bennington House race

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BENNINGTON — Republican Kevin Hoyt has qualified for the Bennington House 2-1 House district race.

Hoyt was four voter signatures short of the required 50 on petitions he submitted last month prior to the deadline for major party candidates, but he had 11 business days to gather the remaining signatures, which have now been submitted and certified by the town clerk's office.

If the House district race remains as is, there will be three candidates vying for the two seats in the November election. However, independent candidates still could qualify for the ballot, having until Aug. 9 to submit voter signatures.

Also in the race are incumbent Rep. Timothy Corcoran II, D-Bennington, and Democrat Chris Bates, who has said his principal reason for running is to try to revive the region's economy.

Incumbent Rep. Rachael Fields, D-Bennington 2-1, is not seeking re-election.

Hoyt, 48, is an "activist and promotional supporter of the shooting sports and the right to bear arms," according to information on his campaign Facebook page, and he stresses his interests in conservation and education reform.

A Vermont native, he describes his views as conservative and adds, "I want to represent the culture and people of my home state of Vermont."

Reached on Monday evening, Hoyt said he is gearing up his campaign, which will include voter registration parties, in part because of the high number of residents who signed his petition but were not on the town voter list. He said 54 of the original 100 signers of his nomination petition were not currently on the town voter list.

"It think this is a problem we've had; people don't participate," he said. "But this is one of those years when it is important to get out there."

Commenting on talk that he has not resided long enough at 26 West Road Park in the House 2-1 district to qualify to run, Hoyt said he has letters and other paperwork that he believes prove he is a resident, although he previously lived in Bennington 2-2. He said a mailing address in that district might have led to confusion.

Hoyt is the founder and owner of "The Future of Hunting" conservation program and cable television show.

Additional biographical and other information about the candidate can be found on his campaign Facebook page.

Bennington County districts

In addition to Fields, Rep. Alice Miller, D-Shaftsbury, and Rep. Bill Botzow, D-Pownal, also are retiring from the Legislature this year.

Two Democrats, Shaftsbury Select Board member Tim Scoggins, and Shaftsbury and Mt. Anthony Union school district board member David Durfee are vying to replace Miller, while Democratic Nelson Brownell, the Pownal Select Board chairman, is running for Botzow's seat.

In Bennington 4, representing Manchester, Arlington and Sandgate, incumbent Reps. Brian Keefe, R-Manchester, and Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, are facing a challenge from Democrat Kathleen James, of Manchester, in the two-seat district race.

Area lawmakers thus far unopposed include Reps. Mary Morrissey, R-Bennington 2-2; Kiah Morris, D-Bennington 2-2; Linda Joy Sullivan, D-Dorset (Bennington-Rutland ); Kelly Pajala, I-Londonderry (Windham-Bennington-Windsor); and Laura Sibilia, I-West Dover (Windham-Bennington).

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. Email: jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com. @BB_therrien on Twitter.


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