NEWPORT CITY – Rep. Duncan Kilmartin of Newport City vows, if re-elected, to put together a coalition of legislators to develop monetary resources to pay off IROC’s capital debt.
“IROC is probably the most significant asset we have in this community,” said Kilmartin. “It saves lives. I see the people who are in the pool exercising or in for rehabilitation. I see the people in the weight room. I see the people walking on the track.”
Kilmartin, who is running for his seventh term, has enjoyed his time as a legislator even though the job can be frustrating at times. There are political agendas that have little respect for the facts, said Kilmartin, who calls himself a very fact-orientated person.
“There are days when the facts speak one way and the political winds speak another,” said Kilmartin. He said he usually stands up to the strong political winds. He tells what he thinks are the correct facts and what the real conclusions are. Later during the interview, he said, “I think I am a person who delves deeply into the facts. I think I connect the dots and I can see where a particular topic, such as agriculture, will relate to manufacturing, will relate to energy.”
Kilmartin was an early critic of the Agricultural Enterprise Bill, which passed this year. The bill gives incentives to alternative forms of agricultural endeavors. Kilmartin said members of the Agricultural Committee, which he serves on, took his criticism to heart and created a lean, mean bill that targets successful alternative agricultural enterprises.
Kilmartin said he is very disturbed about the federal farm bill, which is held up in Congress, because the dairy industry is more than 80 percent of the state’s agricultural economy. However, there is a steep decline in the number of farms in the state.
“If we don’t turn that around, agriculture is going to collapse,” said Kilmartin, who is concerned about farms that produce such things as vegetables, because those farms stand behind dairy farms. “If dairy farming continues it’s precipitous path, the transition into another agricultural economy is not going to take place.”
The early childhood development law is one of Kilmartin’s accomplishments. The law is aimed at giving private daycare providers the opportunity to provide enriched developmental environments, especially in the more rural areas of the state. However, political agendas undid much of the work legislators did, he said.
Kilmartin pointed out that seven out of ten parents are working fulltime, which means many of their children are in some type of daycare, sometimes as much as 60 hours per week.
“That was the logical place in which to provide enriched development experiences that some call pre-kindergarten education,” said Kilmartin. “I chose to use the correct term, which is Early Childhood Development."
Kilmartin wants to continue to speak for the middle class, which he said is thin and narrow in the state. He said there are things that Vermonters need to understand.
Part of the liberal establishment is starting to recognize that wind power is a fraud. Kilmartin is more concerned with the functionality of wind power more than he is of the aesthetics. He said taxpayers pay for 40 percent of the Lowell Wind Project. The project, said Kilmartin, will increase electric rates by at least 40 percent.
“One of the reasons I want to go back is to make sure there are honest voices telling the facts about our energy situation,” said Kilmartin.
Kilmartin agrees with Judge Gavin Murtha that the fate of Vermont Yankee lies in the hands of the federal government. Killmartin said he has read the documents and that the plant can be operated safely, but there is a lot of misinformation out there. Kilmartin also feels that Vermont has cut its throat in opposing the re-commissioning of the plant because the plant provides inexpensive power.
The Current Use Program is being missused, primarily in forests. He said some people who own back land are paying 20 percent of their taxes while others are paying 80 percent, because the people who pay 20 percent have enough land to put it in forest current use.
Kilmartin feels there is too much preserved land in Vermont that’s not available for the market while the state has a shrinking agricultural and forest base. The Champion Land deal, said Kilmartin, destroyed the logging economy of Essex County.
Government already controls too much of the lives of people, said Kimartin. He said Vermonters have no realistic choices and no fundamental liberties when it comes to healthcare.
Kilmartin likes the way Jay Peak Resort raised its funding through the EB-5 program, because the money coming into the country is U.S. dollars to begin with. Tourism is not the answer to the economic situation, but companies like the biotech center are.
Kilmartin would like to see school choice for primary and secondary schools. He is also concerned that kids, once they graduate from school, leave Vermont because they cannot afford to stay in the state.
Kilmartin, a well-known Newport City lawyer who retired earlier this year, has two grown daughters and three grandchildren. He is married to Gail Kilmartin who taught for 25 years at North Country Union Junior High School.