By JOHN FLOWERS
LINCOLN — St. Albans Republican and U.S. House candidate Martha Rainville won’t be the only Rainville to see her name appear on an election ballot this fall.
Her cousin, Barbara Rainville, has also decided to enter the political arena — as a candidate for one of the two Vermont House seats in the Addison-4 district, which includes the towns of Bristol, Monkton, Lincoln and Starksboro.
Rainville, a Lincoln Republican, enters a race that thus far includes incumbent Reps. Michael Fisher, D-Lincoln, and David Sharpe, D-Bristol. She currently works as marketing manager for Middlebury-based Maple Landmark Woodcraft, which was founded by her brother, Michael Rainville.
“I’ve had an interest in politics since high school,” said Rainville, 37, who is a Mount Abraham Union High School graduate.
Rainville holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education/history from Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y. She also holds a master of science degree in urban and environmental studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, also in Troy.
She has served on the Lincoln Zoning Board of Adjustment for the past 10 years, and currently chairs that board.
It was during this year’s legislative hearings on health care that Rainville developed a desire to run for the House. She listened, and posed questions, as part of an Addison County Chamber of Commerce group that was interested in seeing how health care reform could affect local businesses.
The Legislature ultimately endorsed the Catamount Health plan, which will extend basic health care coverage to uninsured Vermonters who cannot afford private carriers’ rates and who do not qualify for state-subsidized benefits.
Rainville called the state’s new Catamount Health plan “an okay starting place,” but added the state will have to closely monitor whether the program will be able to pay for itself.
“We have to go back and do the math and think about what we want to accomplish,” Rainville said.
She also believes the state needs to be more attentive to health care consumers, by inviting in more insurers and physicians.
“The more we take control away from the consumer, the poorer that consumer is and the less knowledgeable that consumer is,” Rainville said. “We are in such a crisis with health care because we are in crisis with the customer service aspect of health care.”
Along with working toward sustainable health care reform, Rainville said her other main goals are to make Vermont more affordable for young families and more attractive to businesses.
She believes the state should work diligently to fortify Vermont’s economic infrastructure, including cellular phone service and high-speed Internet access.
“We have to get the technology that’s out there for the masses,” Rainville said. “If you’re a company out there trying to operate, inadequate service is unacceptable.”
She added Vermont should be reaching out to clean industries, while promoting renewable energy.
Rainville said she’s a big fan of Gov. James Douglas’s Vermont Promise Scholarship Program for college students. Under terms of the program, Vermont students who agree to work in-state following graduation will see at least a portion of their scholarship debt forgiven.
“I went out of state to college, and I’m not sure I would’ve come back if I hadn’t had a job and a place to come home to,” Rainville said. “We need to keep our kids in the state, get them a good education and give them an opportunity to have their student loans forgiven if they stay here to teach or work.”
Rainville was scheduled to kick off her campaign on Sunday, June 25, with an ice cream social in Lincoln’s Burnham Hall. She said she looks forward to hitting the campaign trail, where she will portray herself as a “doer.”
“I’ve always been able to get things done, and see a plan through,” Rainville said.