Pajala, ready to take Olsen’s House seat, eyes taxes, economic development

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Kelly Pajala

Londonderry Town Clerk Kelley Pajala was appointed by Gov. Phil Scott on Thursday to fill the unexpired portion of Oliver Olsen’s term in the Vermont House.

Pajala threw her hat in the ring shortly after Olsen announced that he was stepping down on Oct 15. Pajala put her name forward noting that whether or not she was appointed she would run for the seat in 2018.

Since making her announcement, Pajala has been appearing at select board meetings and talking with people on the street. She told The Telegraph that the No. 1 topic of concern is “increasing taxes,” followed by the state funding of education, the effects of Act 46 consolidation, the opioid crisis and economic development.

“I’m looking at bringing my constituents’ concerns to Montpelier,” said Pajala, who will represent Weston, Stratton, Londonderry, Jamaica and Winhall. “Democracy works best when people get involved.”

Pajala said she had met with House Speaker Mitzi Johnson on a recent Montpelier visit, but that she is not official until she is sworn in in the near future. Asked which committees she would like to be considered for, Pajala said she would let the speaker make those decisions.

Pajala told The Telegraph that while she is in Montpelier her assistant town clerk will fill in. “I’m not disappearing, I’m just a phone call or text away if someone needs me.” Pajala said that the Londonderry town office staff works well together and that they are behind her bid for the House. To retain her seat, she will have to face election in November 2018.

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