New Haven man to run for House
NEW HAVEN — Ed McGuire spent 18 years teaching math to Mount Abraham Union High School students before retiring in 2008.
Now McGuire, a New Haven Democrat, will be reaching out to many of those same, now-adult students to earn their votes as he embarks on a race for the Addison-5 House seat that represents the towns of Bridport, Weybridge and New Haven.
“I do know a lot of young people,” McGuire said on Monday, the official kick-off of his first foray into politics.
“But they are distinctly absent on the voter check lists.”
McGuire will encourage young voters to register during a lengthy campaign that will see him burn a lot of shoe leather.
“There are 1,440 households in the district, and I plan to knock on all those doors, at least once,” McGuire, 69, said of a one-on-one campaigning style that he noted proved successful for former Addison-5 Rep. Christopher Bray, a fellow New Haven Democrat. Bray in 2006 defeated Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, and served two terms before running for lieutenant governor in 2010. Smith regained the Addison-5 seat in 2010 and again figures to give any opponent a tough race.
But McGuire believes he is up to the task and vowed to run on his merits and positions on the issues, rather than against Smith’s record.
“I am running for the seat,” said McGuire, who was encouraged by Bray to run. “(Smith’s) record will speak for itself.”
McGuire is running on a platform of growing more jobs — green ones, in particular; taking better care of the environment; keeping the state affordable for people of limited economic means; and improving public education to ensure graduates are better equipped to fill vacancies in technology jobs in the state.
“We have the jobs, but we don’t necessarily have kids coming out of high school with the skills for those jobs,” said McGuire. He joined the Mount Abraham faculty in 1988 and worked there the next two decades, with the exception of a two-year teaching sabbatical at the International School of Latvia.
In addition to re-shaping school programs to better prepare students for employment, McGuire believes schools and parents should do more to instill good learning habits in children when they are very young.
“We have to engender a love of learning at 3, 4 and 5 years old,” McGuire said. “It has to start early… and the bar needs to be kept high.”
McGuire also promised to fight for protection of Vermont’s natural resources.
“Protecting the rural working landscape is at the top of my list,” McGuire said. “During the past 26 years that we have lived here, we have seen the quality of Lake Champlain deteriorate.”
He said he would support policies and technology that would help minimize the runoff of phosphorous and other impurities from farms into Lake Champlain and its tributaries.
“There have got to be ways to correct that problem and still work with agriculture,” said McGuire, who knows a thing or two about bodies of water. Prior to becoming a teacher, he spent 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, retiring as a commander after serving assignments in places ranging from New York City to Tokyo, Japan.
Vermont’s reputation for a clean environment has made it a breeding ground for green energy industries, McGuire noted. He said the state should continue to nurture that industry in order to create more high-paying jobs in solar, hydro and wind power-generating systems.
McGuire is a supporter of plans to extend a natural gas pipeline from Chittenden County into Addison County.
“Natural gas, in the long run, is a cheaper, cleaner-burning energy source,” McGuire said.
McGuire and his wife, Mary, have three grown children. He currently volunteers in several capacities, including as director of the Middlebury Community Care Coalition Committee, which oversees temporary housing for homeless people at the Charter House in Middlebury.
“I have always been interested in public service,” McGuire said. “It is the right time for me to run.”
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent