Rep. Pearson running for state Senate in Democratic primary

Burlington Rep. Chris Pearson announced Thursday that, after five terms in the House, he plans to run for the Senate.

Pearson, who chairs the House Progressive Caucus, said he will run in the Democratic primary for one of the six Chittenden County seats. He said he had been considering leaving the Legislature entirely after the session.

Chris Pearson

Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

“I like the idea of continuing to serve, of potentially having more influence but in a slightly different role,” Pearson said.

He added that he likes the idea of Senate work where legislation “tends to be a bit higher-level, less detail-oriented.”

Pearson said his legislative priorities would remain relatively unchanged from his House days, where he worked on issues of climate change, property tax relief and health care reform.

“One in 5 Vermonters can’t afford to fill the prescription their doctor writes,” Pearson said in a news release announcing his bid. “It’s absurd that we pay the highest price on the globe for drugs people depend on.”

Two of the Chittenden County Senate seats will be open. Sen. David Zuckerman is leaving to run for lieutenant governor, while Diane Snelling resigned in March to chair the Natural Resources Board. Her appointed replacement, Helen Riehle, said she will not run in November.

A number of other candidates are running, including Vermont Interfaith Action Executive Director Debbie Ingram, Burlington defense attorney David Scherr and Winooski attorney Faisal Gill.

Four Chittenden County senators are seeking re-election: Democrats Philip Baruth, Ginny Lyons and Michael Sirotkin; and Tim Ashe, who wears the label of both the Democratic and Progressive parties.

Pearson said he will work to collect the required signatures before the May 26 filing deadline and announce an official launch event soon.

“The pieces are coming together,” Pearson said. “I just got out of the session, and I haven’t had much time to do much more than make the decision.”

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Jasper Craven

About Jasper

Jasper Craven is a freelance reporter for VTDigger.

A Vermont native, he first discovered his love for journalism at the Caledonian Record. He double-majored in print journalism and political science at Boston University, and worked in the Boston Globe’s Metro and Investigative units. While at the Globe he collaborated on Shadow Campus, a three-part investigative series focused on greed and mismanagement in Boston’s off-campus student housing market. The series was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.
He also spent two years at MuckRock, a news site dedicated to investigation and analysis of government documents. 

Craven covered Vermont’s U.S. congressional delegation for the Times Argus in the summer of 2014, and worked as a Metro reporter for the Chicago Tribune before joining the staff of VTDigger from 2015-2017.

Email: [email protected]

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