Galbraith gives up Senate seat - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Galbraith gives up Senate seat

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A Vermont lawmaker says he'll give up his Senate seat without a fight in order to focus on an international crisis.

Senator Peter Galbraith, D-Windham County, says he has been working informally to bring resolution to Syria's Civil War. Galbraith cites his growing involvement in that effort and a desire to spend more time with family as his reasons not to run for re-election.

Sen. Galbraith irked some of his fellow peers by releasing two single-payer financing plans this year. Originally due in January 2013, the Governor has insisted he won't release his plan until it's ready, which is expected to take until next year.

Former State Agriculture Secretary, Roger Allbee, announced his bid for a Windham County Senate Seat earlier in the day Monday. Allbee served under former Governor Jim Douglas and is President of Grace Cottage Hospital. He will run as a Democrat.

Sen. Galbraith served two terms in the Vermont Senate. Prior to that, he held various diplomatic positions over a 25-year period.

He issued this statement when asked of his decision to step away:

"I will not seek re-election to the Vermont Senate.

Vermont has a citizens' legislature, and while serving in the Senate, I have continued my international work. In recent months, I have become increasingly involved in an informal effort aimed at finding a political solution to Syria's civil war, working with Syria's Kurdish and Christian minorities to help them develop strategies to best protect their communities. Reluctantly, I have concluded I cannot do this and still devote the necessary time to my work in Montpelier.

I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish for Windham County. This includes making Brattleboro the only municipality in the state eligible to build a 5 MW net-metered solar facility and securing an additional year of reduced property taxes for Vernon taxpayers as the town makes the transition to the post VY tax regime. On the state level, I introduced the only two health care financing plans presented to date and have at least started a conversation. In 2012, I introduced the first bill in the legislature to ban the environmentally destructive practice of fracking, and, later that year, Vermont became the first state in the nation to do so.

Of course, I had my share of disappointments. The Senate rejected efforts to ban direct corporate contributions to Vermont candidates, to protect the integrity of our forests and to make sure Vermont taxpayers get paid back when taxpayers' money is given directly to a large corporation. There are recorded votes on these questions and I am sure they will be part of the primary campaign this summer.

I want to thank the voters of Windham County for the trust they have placed in me. I have tried to be an independent and common sense voice on your behalf. I intend to remain engaged in the affairs of the community and state that has always been my home, but, for the time being, I will do so under the title of citizen.”

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