Shepard not concerned about GOP support of Rainville

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(Host) Bennington Senator Mark Shepard says he plans to build a strong grassroots organization to help him win the Republican U.S. House nomination.

Shepard says he’s not at all concerned that most party officials are supporting the candidacy of Martha Rainville.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) While there’s been a lot of attention focused recently on Rainville’s decision to run for the GOP nomination, Shepard has been quietly putting together the framework for his campaign organization.

Shepard is a two term senator from Bennington County who owns an electrical engineering company.

He’s says he running for the U.S. House because he wants to focus on ways to reduce the federal budget deficit, expand health care opportunities and allow greater use of national forest lands.

(Shepard) “I’d like to give people the option of having to buy insurance from other states if they so chose. That’s not something we have right now. That’s something I support. I think the spending in Washington is way out of hand. I’d like to help rein it in so that we could get rid of our deficit.”

(Kinzel) Many GOP party officials are lining up behind Rainville’s candidacy. Shepard says he’s not concerned about this development because he faced a similar situation when he ran for the state Senate in Bennington.

(Shepard) “We were well outspent and we won the race by 38% and so we’ll do it again. At the end of the day who is the one that should choose? Is it inside party people like has happened with the Democratic Party and like maybe some in the Republican Party want, or should it be the people of Vermont. I think that’s really the question to ask. If the people of Vermont don’t choose me, that’s ok. It’s their choice. But it should be their choice and I want to give them the option.”

(Kinzel) Shepard isn’t convinced that Rainville’s military experience necessarily translates into being an effective legislator.

(Shepard) “I think that’s going to remain to be seen who Martha Rainville is, where she is on positions. You know we all respect her for what she’s done but you go into Congress it’s a different situation than being the top of an organization. You’ve got to work legislatively, work with your colleagues and try to push things through.”

(Kinzel) Shepard says he hopes to raise enough money to be competitive with Rainville and he looks forward to discussing issues with her on the campaign trail.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier .

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