CHITTENDEN-Carolyn Schwalbe, former chairman of the Barstow School Board and current chairman of the Chittenden Planning Commission, has announced her candidacy for State Senate in the Rutland County District. The district includes all Rutland County towns, except Brandon.
Schwalbe said her priority as senator would be job creation.
"Lowering unemployment rates is my goal," she said. "Vermonters need jobs."
According to Schwalbe, the best way to bring jobs and renewed prosperity to Vermont is to advance a favorable business climate.
"The legislature can do that by lowering taxes, streamlining the permitting process, and promoting the supply of competitively priced electricity," she said. "Business owners make decisions based on many factors. But it comes down to where they can afford to operate. If Vermont becomes a more attractive place to do business, jobs will follow."
Schwalbe told reporters that she is "a champion of excellence in education", but sees a problem with current expenditures.
"Spending must be reduced," she said. "Property taxes should be directly correlated to school budgets. And the funding formula should be fair and easy to understand," she said. "Unfortunately," she added, "the funding of our school system is falling increasingly on a small number of property owners who cannot afford higher taxes."
Schwalbe stated she will work to preserve school choice for Vermont families. She pointed out that Vermont students "have enjoyed the benefits of school choice for years, and it has proven to be popular, successful, and fiscally prudent."
Schwalbe, age 47, grew up in Rangeley, Maine, a town that has been home to her family and their small business enterprises for four generations. She is now a resident of Chittenden, where she lives with her husband and their two children. Schwalbe earned a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Biology and English Composition from Beloit College in Wisconsin.
She worked in Wisconsin for the Department of Natural Resources, Hazleton Laboratories, and Donohue Engineers and Architects before returning to her New England roots. In 2008, Schwalbe received the Barstow Friend of Education award in recognition of her volunteer work at Barstow School in Chittenden.
Last year, Gov.Douglas appointed Schwalbe to a legislative study committee to examine the financing and effectiveness of the Vermont Education System.
The primary is set for Aug. 24 this year. The general election will be held Nov. 2.