Rebecca Holcombe to Run for Vermont House Seat | Education | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Rebecca Holcombe to Run for Vermont House Seat


Published May 23, 2022 at 7:51 p.m.

  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Rebecca Holcombe
Former education secretary and gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Holcombe confirmed Monday that she is running as a Democrat to represent a section of the Upper Valley in the Vermont House of Representatives.

Holcombe, 55, is the biggest name so far to seek one of dozens of seats opening up in the state legislature this year. More than 40 representatives and 11 senators are retiring or seeking higher office in an unprecedented exodus from Montpelier.

Holcombe said she was still raising the 50 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot but said she expected to do so and make her run official by Thursday's 5 p.m. deadline. She's seeking a seat to represent her hometown of Norwich, along with Thetford, Strafford and Sharon. It's currently held by outgoing Rep. Tim Briglin (D-Thetford).

“We’re losing a lot of knowledge and experience in the legislature this year,” Holcombe said. “This is a team activity, and I felt this was a great time to throw up my hand and help.”

Holcombe called the retirement of Briglin, chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee, a loss for the chamber. Briglin was instrumental in crafting a bill to help the state meet its emission reduction requirements, but Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the measure.

Holcombe said that veto and lawmakers’ inability to overturn it was a huge disappointment. But she said she would seek to build on Briglin’s work and advance the state’s climate goals.

Former governor Peter Shumlin named Holcombe his secretary of education in late 2013 and Scott kept her in the post until she resigned in 2018. She announced a run for governor in 2019, but lost in the 2020 primary to former lieutenant governor David Zuckerman, who Scott soundly defeated in the general election.

While she focused on statewide policy issues during her terms as secretary and while running for governor, Holcombe said she looks forward to focusing on the issues affecting her district, many of which — such as childcare — will require state solutions.

In addition to climate, Holcombe said she wants to focus on the housing crisis, myriad challenges in education and expanding childcare options for working parents.

“People are tired. Families are exhausted. Teachers are really questioning whether they can keep going, ” Holcombe said. "People need to know we have their backs."

Holcombe is married with two children and lives in Norwich.

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