Double duty for Vermont trooper-lawmaker

WESTMINSTER, Vt. (WCAX) Nader Hashim says it was around April that he decided he was running for the Vermont House of Representatives. And after placing in the top two during the primary, the Democrat sailed to victory unopposed, along with the other Democrat in the Windham-4 District.

Hashim said, "I feel like Vermonters are looking for politicians who really know face to face what people are struggling with in these back roads that people don't often drive on."

And Hashim knows those back roads well. The 30-year-old is a seven-year veteran of the Vermont State Police, stationed out of the Westminster barracks.

"You know, seven years on the road as a trooper, it really exposes you to all the struggles people face. Whether it is poverty, mental health issues or opioid addiction," Hashim said.

Hashim says he got into police work straight out of college because of his passion for criminal justice reform. He says he ran for office for the same reason.

"It definitely put a spin on things knocking on doors out of uniform," he said.

Hashim realized it also opened the door to a new set of challenges. To iron them out, he consulted with the attorney general's office.

"I don't want to police the people I represent," Hashim said. "It's definitely a conflict of interests and it could pose a number of issues."

And while the Vermont State Police fully supported Hashim's right to run for office, they also implemented new guidelines since this is the first time an active trooper will also serve as a lawmaker.

A statement from the Vermont State Police a couple days after the election read, in part: "We are pleased that one of our members has been elected to serve in the Vermont Legislature, as is his right to do so... He transferred voluntarily to Royalton to comply with policy that he not respond within his elected district to requests for Vermont State Police."

Hashim is looking forward to both new roles.

"Bringing that knowledge and experience and the dedication that I have to resolving these issues, I think will be a much-needed perspective in the Statehouse," he said.

When Trooper Hashim is in Montpelier, he will be placed on unpaid leave from the Vermont State Police. He will begin reporting full-time to the Royalton barracks after the first session.