Political analysts say Maj. Gen. Martha Rainville may be a wild card when it comes to Vermont's political slate in 2006.
"She was seen as someone who would be a strong candidate because of name recognition, good public speaking ability, all the public appearances with ceremonies for troops departing to, or returning from Iraq and Afghanistan," explains Middlebury College Political Scientist Eric Davis.
Asked if she would be a candidate for political office in 2006 Thursday night, Rainville would only say: "I'm not here to talk about that tonight, thanks."
But others did. Rainville was the keynote speaker at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner.
"I'd love to see Martha run. I can't say I know her personally, but everything I hear about her, she's such a marvelous person. She's straightforward, she's honest, she tells it like it is. I'd be excited to see her run," says Ray Rose of St. Albans.
"I would love it. I think Martha does a wonderful job, she's very professional, she's very knowledgeable. I think she'd do a wonderful job for the state of Vermont and the country. She already does," says St. Albans resident Mary Samson.
Rainville told the Associated Press she is a mainstream Republican. She is considering a run for Congress, but won't make a decision until this summer. For now, she said, her focus is on Guard troops overseas and here at home.
"I am so impressed with how they have stepped up," she told the chamber. "There are a lot of opinions in the state about the politics of this war. That isn't what matters. What matters are the men and women going to serve."
Former House Speaker Walter Freed has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for Congress. He told Channel 3 he is not planning to run, but would strongly endorse Martha Rainville for the job.
Vermont's lone House seat would be open if as expected, Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, runs for the U.S. Senate. Several Democrats are also interested in the job, including Windsor County State Senator Matt Dunne.
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