Rep. Olsen announces resignation from State House; Town Clerk Pajala throws hat in ring

Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Oliver Olsen speaking at the recent opening of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company’s new venue at Walker Farm. Olsen is the incoming chair of the company. Telegraph file photo

State Rep. Oliver Olsen of South Londonderry announced Sunday night that he will resign his office by January 2018.

And this morning, Londonderry Town Clerk Kelly MacLaury- Pajala announced that she will submit her name to be considered for the job of filling out the remainder of his two year-term.

In an email to constituents, Olsen, who represents the towns of Londonderry, Weston, Winhall, Stratton and Jamaica in the Vermont House, cited growing business responsibilities as the primary reason for stepping down.

“I am fortunate to have found success in my professional career, but with increasing professional responsibility comes increasing burdens on my time,” Olsen wrote. “…I have already clocked more than 100,000 air miles this year, and have come to the realization that it would be a logistical impossibility for me to spend a meaningful amount of time in Montpelier this winter.”

From left, Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith, House education committee chair David Sharp at Olsen’s Act 46 Forum at Flood Brook School in September 2015. Telegraph file photo

Noting that he has encouraged two “well-respected and very capable women” to consider serving in the house, Olsen wrote that he hoped that qualified candidates would step forward giving Gov. Phil Scott good options in appointing his successor.

“The critical thing is that our next representative be an independent thinker who understands the unique needs of our region, and can work well with others to be an effective advocate for our community,” wrote Olsen.

“The legislature is a team sport,” Olsen told The Telegraph on Monday. “As a member, you are one of 150 and it takes 76 to pass anything. Everything I’ve done has been in cooperation with others. ”

Town Clerk Kelly Pajala offers a tribute to the late Steve Prouty at this year’s town meeting. File photo by Bruce Frauman.

Olsen said he is particularly proud of being part of the recovery effort from Tropical Storm Irene. He also pointed to his role in organizing to turn away a “very serious threat to school choice from the state Board of Education.” In his email he said he would continue to fight to protect school choice from what he called  “persistent ideological threats.”

In her announcement on Facebook, MacLaury-Pajala listed protecting school choice as one of her top priorities along with economic development and affordability.

Olsen also pointed to his efforts to connect the local community with what’s often a going on in Montpelier. “You have to distill down the process and make it meaningful to folks in our community,” said Olsen.

One example of this was the forum Olsen sponsored at Flood Brook School in September 2015. The topic was the new law known as Act 46 and Olsen brought then-House Speaker Shap Smith and House Education Committee chair David Sharpe to speak on the subject.

While Olsen will leave politics, he said he will continue in public life, including taking on the chairmanship of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company. Olsen is also looking for ways to connect local students with the skills and experiences related to careers in the technology industry.

MacLaury-Pajala wrote that it’s her intention to continue with her elected position as Town Clerk if appointed to the House, noting that town clerks have served in both roles in the past.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: FeaturedLatest NewsLondonderryWeston

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.