David Scherr, an assistant attorney general, is the latest candidate to announce a run in the six-seat Chittenden County state Senate district.
The 37-year-old Burlington resident and former public defender says he’s looking to bring his experience working for a fairer criminal justice system to the Statehouse. Scherr said in an interview that the skills he's developed in his criminal justice career will go a long way to help vulnerable Vermonters weather and recover from the pandemic.
“All of that experience and perspective and understanding of how people can really struggle in this state is exactly what we need in the legislature right now, maybe more than ever,” Scherr said.
There will be two openings in the district as incumbents Tim Ashe, the Democrat/Progressive Senate president pro tempore, and Debbie Ingram, a Democrat, are running for lieutenant governor.
The other four incumbents announced last week that they'll run for reelection on the Democrat line: Sens. Philip Baruth, Ginny Lyons, Christopher Pearson and Michael Sirotkin.
Scherr served as a public defender in Burlington for about four years. Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan hired Scherr in 2017, and he works in the AG's office in Montpelier. He focuses on criminal justice policy, working with the legislature and law enforcement on issues such as fair and impartial policing and justice reinvestment initiatives.
Scherr is a former chair of the Chittenden County Democratic Party and ran for state Senate in 2016, another year that featured a crowded field vying for two vacant seats in the district.
The candidates in 2020 include former Burlington city councilor Adam Roof; current Rep. Dylan Giambatista (D-Essex); former state representative Kesha Ram;South Burlington City Councilor Tom Chittenden; Steve May, a clinical social worker from Richmond; and Louis Meyers, an internal medicine physician at Rutland Regional Medical Center.
Scherr said he knows he’s getting into the race comparatively late and is aware raising money and raising his profile will be a challenge in the current COVID-19 environment.
"It will be tough. There’s no doubt about it," he said.