Hinesburg farmer and former Burlington lawmaker David Zuckerman said Tuesday he's returning to politics and running for the state senate.
First elected to the Vermont House in 1996 at the tender age of 25, Zuckerman worked his way up to chair the House Agriculture Committee — despite serving as a Progressive in a Democrat-controlled body. He stepped down from his Burlington seat two years ago to focus on moving his family's organic Full Moon Farm from the Burlington Intervale to a 151-acre plot in Hinesburg.
Now that he's all settled in, he says, he's ready to return to the Statehouse — this time as a member of Chittenden County's sprawling, six-member district.
"Looking at the major issues of this last session that didn't get resolved, many are issues I helped get started years ago," he says. "And I'd like to get back to the Senate and continue that work."
Zuckerman counts GMO-labeling, single-payer health care, marijuana legalization and worker's rights as his top priorities.
Though a long-time Prog, Zuckerman says he'll run in the Democratic primary, calling it a "pragmatic" move. He'll also seek the Progressive nomination as a write-in candidate and, if elected, would choose to identify himself as a "P/D" — in contrast to fellow hybrid senators Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) and Anthony Pollina (D/P-Washington), who reverse the letters.
"I think it's more true to the voters and true to myself," Zuckerman says of his party plans. "I am someone who believes we need more options in the system."
Zuckerman, who also considered running for lieutenant governor this year, will run in the general election regardless of whether he wins one of six slots on the Democratic ticket, he says.
Of the six incumbent senators representing Vermont's most populous county, only Democratic Sen. Hinda Miller has announced she will not seek reelection. Several newcomers have also announced plans to enter the race, including former Burlington mayor Bob Kiss, Burlington City Councilor Ed Adrian and Shelley Palmer.
As an experienced pol, Zuckerman says he'll be able to "hit the ground running" — both on the campaign trail and, if elected, in the Statehouse. Progressive ally Chris Pearson, who represents Zuckerman's old district in the House, agrees.
"I think a lot of folks who are paying attention experienced some frustration with issues that got bogged down in the Senate this year," Pearson says. "David is well-known and he has an impressive record."
File photo: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur