ORLEANS – Jay Dudley, a seventh generation Vermonter, wants voters to send him to the Vermont State House. Dudley, a Republican, is seeking to represent the Orleans/Essex senate district.
Dudley decided to run for office in May when Republican Sen. Vince Illuzzi was thinking about seeking higher office.
Dudley grew up watching a gradual and steady economic decline in the Northeast Kingdom. He saw many people struggling and he struggled himself.
“I’ve been on the unemployment line before and I know what it’s like, especially in the dead of winter in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Dudley. “It’s not a pleasant place to be.”
With the advent of the recession, there are even more people struggling, said Dudley. He said there seems to be devotion in Montpelier to have Vermont as a zero growth state.
“Apparently they don’t feel it has any real consequences,” said Dudley. “The main vehicle for implementing that policy has been Act 250, among other regulatory schemes.”
Such policies have real social costs that include chronic unemployment, under-employment, high poverty rates, and high rates of drug abuse, alcoholism and petty crime, said Dudley. He would like to do away with district Act 250 commissions and have municipal government bodies deal with the permits.
Dudley said he wants to be a voice for the people who trying to get by financially. The people want to remain here but want more opportunities.
For 18 years, Dudley served on the Barton Planning Commission and Zoning Board. For eight of those years, he served as chair for both boards. Dudley is currently the chief financial analyst for the Vermont Public Service Board.
Dudley said, if elected, he would not quit his job.
“I’m allowed a leave of absence when the legislature is in session,” Dudley said. “I’ve been able to work that out with the board.”
“Although I would feel conflicted concerning issues associated with a pending Public Service Board case in which I had direct involvement, such as Vermont Yankee, I would not feel the same way with issues related to cases in which I have no direct involvement, such as industrial wind,” Dudley stated in an e-mail. “Therefore, I would feel obligated to abstain from voting on Vermont Yankee issues."
However, Dudley said, the federal courts preempted the legislature from considering the issue of Yankee.
Dudley, who is against industrial wind power, said he would participate in debates and vote on a moratorium or ban of industrial wind. The jobs for projects like those in Sheffield and Lowell are very technical and only require four or five employees. Wind towers, he said, don’t provide offsets to global warming and the power is expensive.
Dudley, who admits to shopping at Wal-Mart in Littleton, N.H., supports such a store in the Newport Derby area. “I think we need it,” he said. “It comes down to economic development.”
Dudley opposes single payer healthcare. “I think ultimately it will bankrupt the state,” said Dudley. “I heard estimates of three billion dollars to five billion on how much it’s going to cost.”
Dudley is also concerned there won’t be enough young healthy workers to pay for the program. He would like to open the health exchange to every provider in the state.
New unemployment rates are not correct, said Dudley, who believes many workers are leaving the state to look for better opportunities. Other people are going on public assistance while other workers are retiring.
Dudley is married and has two daughters who graduated from college and moved out of state. Prior to working for the public service board, Dudley worked for several banks throughout the region.
"During my banking years, I worked in commercial lending with small and medium sized businesses, therefore I am familiar with the challenges they face in operating a small business in the NEK,” stated Dudley. “I also have a legal background in that I currently serve as a Hearing Officer for the PSB. This function is similar to that of an administrative law judge in that I hear cases, review evidence and testimony, and write legal decisions for approval by the board.”