Campaigning During The Elections

ST. JOHNSBURY-Running for re-election, Representative Scott Campbell gives some insights on what campaigning has been like this year during the pandemic.

Campbell just finished up his first couple years of being a Representative for the House, sharing his first years experience. There are definitely pros and cons to the job, it's a big learning curve. There's a lot to learn about the process, and the importance of what kinds of relationships a person forms with their colleagues in the House.

"I first went in with attitudes about, I'm not going to be able to trust anybody on the team or whatever. But that's not really true, you have to be trustworthy with everybody, or you won't get anywhere. At the same time, there are games that happen, and you have to learn the games," Campbell goes on to say.

Campbell expresses that he wishes he had more time for his family, but he says that the best part about his job as a Representative is being able to work with amazing people that advocate for this state. Campbell is on one of the smaller committees in the House, Committee on Energy and Technology. Even though this was his first term, and he had nothing to really compare it to, it felt like a very cohesive group. Despite the group members being in various different parties, he feels that he has made some good connections with everybody.

"They're just really terrific people as far as again, being committed to learning about the issues, and doing the best they can with the issues."

The most recent Bills Campbell has worked on, that got pushed was on Broadband and Global Warming. With the Broadband Bill, the committie wanted to create a pathway for communities to build out broadband in their own area. Campbell thinks this year was a big year where everyone could see that the state of Vermont really needs high speed internet.

The Global Warming Solutions Act was made to push the state to start coming up with a plan to deal with climate change. This act does not necessarily solve the problem of global warming, but guides Vermont in the right direction to decrease climate change. 

"It involves planning for, and building resilience, infrastructure, and mitigating the effects of climate change," Campbell explains.

Campbell goes on to talk about the challenges of working from home once everybody left the state house. No one has been back since March 13th, and obviously, everything has been done online over zoom. It has its pros and cons, but having interpersonal relationships is difficult. 

"It's very difficult to have those interpersonal relationships on zoom. You can get formal things done, but it takes longer. In the case of votes on the floor, usually a voice vote that takes a couple of seconds, now takes a few minutes on zoom. So it is a clunky replacement for in-person meetings."

Moving forward, Campbell would like to solve Vermont's demographic problem, there needs to be more time spent into stretching Vermont's revenues. Campbell believes the problem will become worse if the state does not find new ways to attract people to Vermont.

In terms of campaigning, it's been very different this year due to the lack of travel going door to door. Typically a candidate has four thousand to eight thousand doors to knock on, but Covid has made this impossible for most candidates this year.

"In pre-Covid times, knocking on doors is what you do in order to meet people. To get your message out, hear people's concerns, and with Covid you can't do that," Campbell explains.

Some people are doing some literature drops, which Campbell expresses he is not very comfortable with. So instead he's been doing weekly zoom meetings to get his message out, and talk to people. On Saturdays he's been doing weekly coffee hours in Central Cafe downtown on Railroad street. As well as getting involved with local community events, posting things on front porch forum, advertisements, and lots of honk and waves.

Campbell really sympathizes with the new candidates running this year, because like he has said, campaigning in these times is difficult. Campbell says it's very important to go door to door, especially for a first years, when it comes to building a candidate's name up in a community. But he has high hopes for winning this year's general election, and looks forward to the results. To find more on Scott Campbell, you can visit his personal website.