State representative candidate Rebecca Baruzzi

With state representative Maxine Grad retiring after 22 years, three candidates are running for Washington-7’s two state representative seats. Incumbent Kari Dolan, D-Waitsfield, is running for reelection and Rebecca Baruzzi, I-Fayston, and Dara Torre, D-Moretown, are running for the first time.




Baruzzi works for the Mad River Valley Community Fund and formerly served in the Coast Guard. She has also been a legislative assistant. “I’ve always been a public servant. It seems like a natural fit,” she said.

Her priorities if elected include housing, health care and restorative justice. She noted mental health care is an important part of health care. If given the choice, she’d be interested in serving on committees to address health care, human services, economic development and transportation. “Housing is a solvable problem. Health care is a solvable problem, early education, all of these things. You can’t talk about housing without talking about climate change. And you can’t talk about those two things without economic development. Having a systems approach, asking questions, making that table as big as possible.”

Baruzzi was the lead in establishing Free Wheelin’ in The Valley to provide rides to seniors who need to get to health care appointments, the grocery store and other resources. She is the parent of a fifth grader at Waitsfield Elementary School.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of projects. I spearheaded the purchase of the Mad River Park,” working with people from Waitsfield, Warren, Fayston and Moretown to establish the recreational space for Valley residents.

“I’ve always been an advocate and community organizer. I owned a small business. I’ve seen a lot of problems up front, how systems don’t work and where the leverage points are to make them work. I think that that’s what we need.”

When approaching situations in which one needs to work with folks on the other side of an issue, she said, “I think a lot of times the end game might be the same for both parties but how you get there is different. A couple years ago I went to a Gunowners of Vermont meeting. I went there and I listened to people to understand where the anguish was coming from. It’s about independence and culture and values. A lot of times it’s really understanding what is motivating the person on the opposite side as well as figuring out where you can agree and moving toward that. I think I have an engaging personality, I’m approachable. I’ve had a lot of experience. I ask questions. When I approach a project, I look around to see who do I know that knows something that I trust, always deferring to this person who knows way more than me.

“I’m able to look at systems and recognize what’s working and what’s not working. Being in office and having that kind of position would allow me to apply more pressure for things to happen here locally as well as the state level.

“What I bring to the table is looking at how hard it is for the working class. We’re losing our middle class. What does that mean for our education system, our health care system, people who want to retire here? This is where I want to focus.”