Morrow runs to replace Pajala in state House Crowded field for Windsor Senate primaries; Chase gets a GOP challenger

By Cynthia Prairie
©2024 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Chris Morrow of Weston, the former owner of Northshire Bookstore and a new member of the Weston Select Board, has announced that he is running to replace Kelly Pajala, an Independent, as state representative for the Windham-Windsor-Bennington district, which is made up of Andover, Londonderry, Weston and Winhall.

Pajala, of Londonderry, announced in a letter Tuesday that after four two-year terms serving in Montpelier, she will not be seeking re-election. She was first elected in 2016.

Morrow, 57, said he missed the filing deadline and therefore will be a write-in candidate in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, Aug. 13. Andover Republican Janet Payne is vying for her party’s nomination unopposed. The General Election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5.

In a press release on Tuesday, Morrow said he wants to “put my entrepreneurial problem-solving skills to work contributing to the development of common-sense public policy.”

In endorsing Morrow, Pajala said, “He has been an engaged member of the civic community in our district. He has raised a family here and has experienced the strength of both our public and independent schools. He has also run a successful business that has employed many Vermonters and created a vibrant gathering space in our region. He has the personal experience and ability to work with others that will serve our district well in Montpelier.”

Morrow said, “I have wanted to engage with public service at the state level ever since I sold my business and now is the right time. I enjoy serving on the Weston Select Board and also feel I can contribute to the statewide discussions on the key issues of our time – how we can focus state government on creating the conditions for an affordable life while balancing the many divergent needs of our citizens. Clearly, education funding is driving unsustainable property tax hikes and needs an overhaul. Health care is also a major issue. Climate change adaptation will be an ongoing issue as the mountain towns were reminded of with this last flood. Maintaining school choice will also be a focus of mine – it has worked so well for this region.”

He is the father of two adult daughters.

Crowded field for Windsor Senate District; GOP challenger to Rep. Chase

In early June of 2022, Morrow announced that he was running for the Vermont Senate representing the Windsor District for the seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Alice Nitka of Ludlow. One week later, however, he pulled out of the race when, according to political pundits, it became likely that Democratic Party support would be going to state Rep. Becca White of Hartford. White won the race.

All three current Windsor senators — White, Alison Clarkson of Woodstock and Dick McCormack of Bethel — are from the northern part of the county and, with  McCormack’s retirement this year, no Democrat from the southern part of the county has stepped up to seek his seat.

In the Democratic primary, Clarkson and White will come up against Joe Major, of Hartford, Justin Tuthill of Pomfret and Marc Nemeth of Royalton. Four Republicans from the southern part of the county — Andrea Murray of Weathersfield, Jack Williams of Weathersfield, Jonathan Gleason of Ludlow and Robert Ruhlin of Cavendish —  are seeking the Republican nod for the three-person Windsor District.

In the primary races for the Windham-Windsor House District (Athens, Chester, Grafton and Windham), no Democratic challenger has filed against incumbent Heather Chase of Chester, although Thomas Charlton, also of Chester, is seeking the Republican nod for that seat.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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