Candidate: Russ Ingalls
Senate District: Essex-Orleans (All towns in Essex and Orleans counties)
Residence: Newport City
What should be legislative priorities in the next session?
The Legislature has to get back to focusing on putting Vermonters first. We spend too much time focusing on issues across the country and world that we didn’t create, don’t contribute to and has little to know impact on us. We still have a drug epidemic that has caused us to lose a whole generation of kids. We have one of the highest in the country property tax rates. We have an anti-business attitude that drives away businesses now and keeps others from relocating here. Our kids do not stay here after they reach adulthood. We have, at least in the Northeast Kingdom, the worst possible cell phone and internet availability in the state. The list could go on. Let’s focus on putting Vermonters first and helping to solve our problems.
What would you say are the top three priorities of the people you represent?
Finally end the 50-year war on our farmers and do the only thing for them that they wish for – pay them for their milk; jobs; too high taxes; government overreach
Define “effective legislator.”
One who listens to the people they represent and does not aspire for themselves grander things. One that will go against their own party or anyone else to ensure that their constituents lives are made better and their problems are solved.
Where do you feel you differ from the other contenders in your district that makes you the candidate worthy of election?
I believe that I have the pulse of the community and that what’s coming out of Montpellier is not what my constituents want to see. They are looking for someone to be their voice.
Does the state budget need cutting or an influx of additional revenue?
Budgets need adjusting every year. Just because money is appropriated one year in an area doesn’t mean that it should automatically be appropriated the next year. Much like our own lives, needs and wants change and budgets should reflect that.
If cuts are needed, where are the areas to consider? If more revenue is needed, what would you spend it on and what tax or fee increases should be considered to pay for it?
We should always be willing to make adjustments but taxes are already too high.
What do you think of education funding in Vermont?
Act 46 was a complete disaster and disenfranchised many who really believed that there was such a thing as local control. We have learned that that’s not the case. Again, I believe that a budget should start fresh every year. I believe that all kids should have the same opportunity. By and large, I believe that our kids are well educated and prepared to move on toward higher education should they choose. I also would like to always make sure that the ones that do make the decision to not move toward higher education have the availability of vocational or trade studies as that’s a segment that our society will always need and it seems to create an avenue of business ownership whether it be carpenters, electricians, plumbers, truck drivers and such.
Do you support an increase in state funds to the Vermont State College System to aid struggling institutions like NVU-Lyndon? How much?
Before I support more funds, I want to see a plan. When these colleges had successful years they were operating more as specialty areas of higher education. Somewhere along the way, these institutions made the change to try too be a one fit all learning facility. We have seen that fail miserably. These colleges are too important for their communities to close. Let’s get back to figuring out how we can provide a service to the people who wish to attend, understanding that one institution might offer something that the other doesn’t. Just like they use to.
Is there racial injustice in Vermont and, if yes, what do you propose the legislature does to address it?
No, there is not. The efforts by the Democrats to defund the police harm the ones they say they want to protect. I find it offensive that the Democrats have called all of us racist when I believe that we are one of the most tolerable and understanding people who welcome diverse opinions and cultures. I’m always weary of the motives of people who throw out unfounded accusations. As a human being, I value everyone.
What does success from the Global Warming Solutions Act look like in Vermont? What, if any, problems could result from the GWSA?
There can be no success with GWSA. To allow a committee of unelected people with zero oversite to sue, with Vermont tax payer dollars, anyone whom they wish, is a recipe for abysmal failure.
What, if any, additional firearms laws do you think are necessary in Vermont?
What are the strengths in the state’s economy? What are the weaknesses?
Strength: Tourism. Weaknesses: a toxic culture toward business; poor choices of the Legislature of funding unnecessary initiatives.
What can state government do to address the weaknesses?
Concerning the state’s plan to increase the minimum wage to $12.55 in January 2022, is the increase too much or too little?
What is your position on the state’s marijuana legalization efforts?
With an epidemic that is still raging, where we are losing lives at an unacceptable pace to overdoses, the fact that we are even discussing legalizing another drug is careless policy.
In recent years the state has been trying to address a substantial unfunded liability in state employee retirement obligations, but the liability remains high and the number of retirees grows. What should be done?
You promised to pay them. Pay them. If you don’t like what that amount is, bargain harder next time.
What, if any, criminal justice and/or corrections department reforms do you advocate?
I believe that if someone goes in the prison as an addict, they should leave there not.
More About Russ
My family has been in Vermont even before Vermont was a State. I was raised as a military brat as my Father was a career Navy man. We lived in Japan, Cuba, Winter Harbor Maine, The Philippines, Montpelier Vt, Adak Alaska and then Irasburg Vermont which I consider my home town. I graduated in 1983 from Lake Region Highschool. I live in Newport with my Fiancé Deb. I started in 2009 and currently co- own RE/MAX All Seasons Realty with two other great partners. Deb and I also own The Derby Carwash. Before that, I farmed, worked as a laborer, and was in the automotive business for 20 years as well as starting and operating a restaurant to which I later sold. My hobbies are work first as I do work 7 days a week. I enjoy hunting and fishing, boating, golf and spending time with family and friends in the off hours. My stint in elected life was serving proudly as a selectman for the Town of Irasburg.