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EXCLUSIVE: House Candidate engaging with law enforcement while campaigning

By Michael Bielawski,

A candidate for Vermont House Bruce Roy of Williston is running as a Republican for the Chittenden County Southeast District. As a candidate, Roy is taking community engagement beyond typical efforts.

This includes taking a ride in a local police cruiser with the Williston Police Department to learn what the priorities are for supporting law enforcement. Roy told VDC in a phone call on June 3 that this is one way he seeks to get a sense of what needs to be done once in office, including getting largely understaffed police departments the resources that they need.

“Defunding the police was never really a good idea,” Roy said. “We certainly should have a qualified police force.”

Vermont and much of the nation have seen levels of crime unprecedented in recent history, especially since the defunding of police which occurred in Burlington in the summer of 2020.

A recent chief’s report out of Burlington reveals that even years later they are still struggling to get their staffing back to where it needs to be. Recently their department was overwhelmed with a string of calls that needed more officers than were available.

Roy said his home City of Williston is also seeing an uptick in crimes. He said that not long ago there was a carjacking in Williston, which used to be a very rare occurrence. He added, “The shoplifting going on is crazy.”

He said that so much of the crime is drug-related and it seems like a lot of the perpetrators are people coming from outside the state.  He said the trick to curbing drug and gang activity “starts and ends with enforcement. … Our court system has to come through and hold people accountable.”

Roy said this is not the first time he’s campaigned like this. He ran for the seat in 2022 and he also went around to police departments to ride along in cruisers. He described one instance when he went for a police officer but she was late picking him up because she had to deal with a mentally ill person with a knife.

“That’s what’s going on… [They have] such a wide range of things they have to do,” he said.

Energy policy/the economy/other issues

Roy also reads the bills that come out of the Statehouse to see what’s being implemented and the implications on Vermonters.

He talked about energy policies including renewable energy mandates, such as the Global Warmings Solutions Act.  He noted in one bill, that the word ‘study’ is mentioned multiple times but always with the word ‘potential’ in front of it. Roy expressed suspicion this is because the studies often involve determining the real economic impact that renewable mandates will have on Vermonters’ energy bills.

He said that renewable advocates should not act “as if they know better” than Vermonters when it comes to their energy needs.

On the economy, Roy would generally like to see Vermont have policies more like New Hampshire. “I’ve done a ton of research on that,” he said regarding comparisons between the policies and outcomes of the neighboring states.

In essence, despite having roughly twice the population their budget is about $800 million less than Vermont’s. There’s also no income tax, no sales tax, the excise tax is lower, and they are getting rid of their tax on interest/dividends. Also last year they gave raises to their state employees.

“They are the direct competitors to Vermont,” he said of New Hampshire, and he expressed concern that Vermont will lose residents and businesses alike to them and other states if Vermont continues its current course.

Military Service

Roy also has 25 years with the National Air Guard. He was activated on 9/11 and did four years of active duty service.

“My job was to make sure all the support was available [regarding] security and civil engineering,” he said. He added that he’s had up to 400 people working under him which was a great experience in leadership.

Numerous Democrat challengers

Roy won’t have a formal primary because he’s the only Republican running for the Chittenden County Southeast District.

He’s running against against three Democrats who are incumbents Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D/P-Chittenden-Southeast, Sen. Thomas Chittenden, D-Chittenden. Southeast, Sen.Virginia “Ginny” Lyons. D Chittenden-Southeast, and Rutland physician Louis Meyers.

Meyers has made headlines for politically going after Lyons. “She would like to deauthorize the independent Green Mountain Care Board and transfer its regulatory powers to the Agency of Human Services. This would lead to politicization of our health and increased health care costs and further increases in health insurance premiums. Vermonters cannot keep getting hammered with these increases.”

The author is a writer for the Vermont Daily Chronicle


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