Political profiles: incumbent Chris Pearson

Each week leading up to the election The Cynic will be profiling a different Chittenden County representative. This week in the news is current District 3-4 seat holder Christopher Pearson as he offers his credentials and ideas for a Progressive Vermont

With a UVM psych degree and a couple years’ experience of waiting and bartending at Vermont Pub & Brewery under his belt, Pearson entered politics when he signed on board to help spread the word about Bernie Sanders’ congressional campaign in 1998.

Pearson found his niche in Progressive Party politics shortly afterward when politicking for Anthony Pollina in 2000.

Feeling at home rather quickly, he became the Party’s first full-time director in 2001. This is according to his Web site at www.christopherpearson.org.

Pearson listed his proudest accomplishments since first entering the political arena.

His achievements include an amendment to revoke a “vote-twice” proposal on a costly school budget, an unsuccessful legislative effort to provide residents with the option of blocking junk mail, a biking trip across the country and a proposal to Congress to replace Catamount healthcare with a single-payer, universal plan.

Pearson has also done work for Fairvote and National Popular Vote, both nationwide movements to reform America’s current electoral process. He has been serving as Chittenden County House representative alongside David Zuckerman since 2006.

When asked what he would most like to express to student voters, he first spoke of the importance of his role as a Progressive party member in pushing legislation.

“This district, with a lot of input from students, going back to ’90 has been electing Progressives.

We have greater desires and more independence and we haven’t been getting that out of Montpelier.”

Recognizing that his party is only six in 150, he asserted “we work very closely with the Democrats … we are free to stand up and offer amendments and we don’t face the peer pressure that others face in terms of speaking our mind; this equals a loud voice in the media.”

That being said, he moved on to his central focuses as a Progressive member: healthcare and energy.

Elaborating on his frustration with Vermont’s current Catamount plan passed in 2006 at the beginning of his career in Montpelier, he spoke of pushing the issue of universal healthcare even further past Congress in the upcoming years.

“The answer to a universal healthcare system is one of political courage, all too lacking in Montpelier … what happens is people give the right name to bills, pass the bill, declare a victory and go home and we don’t make any changes … We’ve got to try to keep the discussion moving in the right direction.”

As for energy, he expressed his concern for the upcoming legislative vote on Vermont Yankee.

“I stand with the majority of Vermont who wants to see Yankee shut down. It is too big a risk and continues to produce high level radioactive waste that we don’t know what we’re going to do with.”

Recognizing that Yankee powers about one-third of Vermont, he suggested alternative solutions in wind, solar energy, wood burning plants and the utilization of dams throughout the state.

He cited the Burlington McNeil plant, which converts wood into an electricity-fueling gas, as a “sustainable resource that we should look to.”

He then suggested that helping to “turn the switches back on” to currently unused dams in Vermont would “produce some jobs and decentralize production, which is a good thing.”

Zuckerman and Pearson have received endorsement from Senator Bernie Sanders, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund, The Vermont Labor Council AFL-CIO and the Vermont State Employees.