GlOVER – If John Rodgers has his way, he will once again grace the front steps of the state capital.
Rodgers, a Democrat, served as a member of the House for eight years. He lost his seat to Sam Young in 2010.
Rodgers said that in 2010 he took a risk by doing no campaigning and lost by one vote. Rodgers said he and his wife Brenda voted for himself and Young for the two-seat district.
“I ended up defeating myself,” said Rodgers, who urged a number of his supporters to vote for Young. “It was all right, even though I hated losing my seat. It was kind of refreshing to have a couple years off and I feel a bit rejuvenated now.”
Rodgers considered running for the Vermont House but decided to run for Senate when current Senator Vince Illuzzi of Derby indicated he would be running for higher office. Running for Senate was something Rodgers had considered, but thought it would be later in his life.
The big difference between the House and Senate, said Rodgers, is there are fewer Senate members than there are House Members.
“You’ve got considerably more pull,” said Rodgers. He said John Campbell, Senate President Pro Tem, told him they’d work together and he’d received good committee appointments. Many other people Rodgers worked with in the past also encouraged him to run. “I decided it was as good as a time as any.”
During his time as a House member, Rodgers served on House Intuitions Committee at a time when Vermont lawmakers and local residents were squaring off about where to place a technical center. Rodgers convinced lawmakers to continue pushing forward instead of scrubbing the whole project.
Rodgers also obtained funding for signs at boating accesses on any body of water that has aquatic nuisance species. Prior to the signs, people were pulling their boats out of infested lakes and putting them in non-infested ones and may not have knew it, Rodgers said,
In addition, Rodgers played a big part in legislation involving the Department of Corrections.
Rodgers said he could bring the prospective of a young working person’s perspective to the State House, something he feels is lacking. Rodgers, a local business person, said he knows the struggles of the working people who try to give their children a better life. Rodgers also wants to make the Northeast Kingdom a place where individuals can make a living.
There needs to be more encouragement for the manufacturing industry, Rodgers said. This includes working on the permit process.
Rodgers thinks there needs to be a moratorium on industrial wind. Rodgers said there is a “glut” of inexpensive power and there is no reason for large wind farms. Subsidizes are going to large corporations, something he is against. Rodgers is also against “Changing the face of Vermont.”
“I don’t want to look at strings of blinking red lights,” said Rodgers as he pointed out the view of his living room window. “I told Speaker Smith that if they continue the path they’re on, they’re going to change the face of Vermont forever and we’re going to look like New Jersey.”
Rodgers is also concerned about destroying wildlife habitat.
“The other thing that upsets me about power is that they’re willing to blow the tops of the Lowell Mountain range but they won’t let you put a turbine in any existing dams around the state. This state used to run on waterpower when were an industrial state. We have hundreds of dams that fish can’t swim over and those should be utilized.”
Rodgers doesn’t mind individual wind towers, solar and biomass power production.
Rodgers doesn’t care for Vermont Yankee. He believes the plant's parent company, Entergy, is irresponsible and can’t be trusted.
“It’s very dangerous to have a nuclear power plant run by somebody who is sloppy with their maintenance and up keep,” said Rodgers. “It doesn’t look like we need the power. From what I understand, that was a poorly designed power plant from the beginning.”
However, Rodgers is not opposed to the plant if someone else ran it, if Vermonters thought it was safe and there was a safe place to send the spent fuel rods other than having them in dry cast.