Two vie for Windsor-2 House seat
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | October 29,2012
CAVENDISH — A contested Okemo Valley election will come down to one of two Cavendish Select Board members.
Democrat Mark Huntley and Republican Scott Ranney are vying for the Windsor-2 House seat soon to be left vacant by outgoing Rep. Ernie Shand of Cavendish. The Windsor-2 district represents Cavendish and Weathersfield.
As the election finish line approaches, Huntley and Ranney have been busy knocking on doors and handing out campaign literature in recent weeks. A sense of civic duty is what has inspired them to run, they both said.
They both serve on the Cavendish Select Board. In fact, they sit next to each other at meetings.
But, regardless of where they sit — or stand on the issues — the candidates still respect one another, they said.
“I respect anyone who wants to do this. It’s a ton of work. They’re doing it from the heart,” Huntley said.
“I guess it’s a little awkward. But it is what it is,” Ranney said with a laugh.
Huntley grew up in Rutland and attended local schools. He left Rutland, went on to college, and lived in Los Angeles and New York for 25 years.
Huntley moved back to Vermont and is now owner and proprietor of Huntley Financial Services in Ludlow. He is also a Green Mountain Union High School Board member, a justice of the peace, and a former Cavendish Town Elementary School Board member.
School taxes and health care are two concerns facing Windsor-2 voters, according to Huntley. As an experienced financial planner, he believes he has something to offer in Montpelier.
“The tax system needs to be more straightforward, equitable and sustainable. It’s like trying to turn the Titanic. I want to work in Montpelier and find those solutions to complex issues,” Huntley said.
Huntley also supports Green Mountain Care, a proposed statewide private/public single-payer exchange system. He thinks legislators are making progress on the issue and he doesn’t believe current health care efforts should be reversed.
“I understand there’s no magic bullet to (Green Mountain Care), but we need to be moving rather quickly. We need to get our ducks in a row and make the transition,” Huntley said.
Ranney is an independent businessman and justice of the peace. He owns a floor sanding business and works for Kelley Real Estate in Ludlow.
Ranney is concerned with the local economy. He cited a recent study in which Vermont was ranked as the 46th most business-friendly state in the nation.
Ranney thinks Vermont can do better than that and should “stop being a benevolent state.” He said he supports legislative efforts to attract businesses not only to the state but to the Cavendish-Weathersfield area.
“Taxes are going up, the elderly are feeling the pinch, and we need to attract more businesses to Vermont,” Ranney said. “We just don’t have enough employers and the jobs people have, say at Okemo Mountain Resort, pay maybe $2 more than the minimum wage. People need to make more money than that.”
Ranney thinks the Legislature needs new faces and can do much better. For that, he will rely on the opinions of Windsor-2.
“The number one thing is I want to listen to what people in the district want. I will send out block emails every week, let them know what’s going on, and see how people feel about certain bills being discussed,” he said.
For more information, visit Mark Huntley’s and Scott Ranney’s Facebook pages.