You may know him as House Speaker, but now he want’s to be Vermont’s next Lieutenant Governor.
Shap Smith grew up in Lamoille County, graduating from high school at Peoples Academy in Morrisville.
“Much of the campus is still the same,” says Smith.
Peoples Academy is not only his alma mater, it’s where his two children attend, and it’s in the district he’s represented in the House for more than a decade and as House Speaker for the last 8 years.
“What I think you can do is bring people together from around the state to deal with really important issues,” says Smith.
Shap is a University of Vermont grad. He says as a product of the public education system some of those important issues to invest in include early childhood education.
“We know that investments for kids as soon as they’re born until they’re three make a huge difference and I think we have to figure out a way to expand access to that.”
But he’s sees much needed improvement in secondary and higher ed as well.
“We know that we have fewer students, tens of thousands of fewer students than we did just 20 years ago in this state. we are going to have to make change.”
He says one place to look is Act 46, the state’s school consolidation law.
“It has created mergers and governance changes where i think it was necessary, we’ll take some feed back next year and see if there ways to modify the law to address the concerns around the state.”
As Lieutenant Governor, Smith says closing the state’s budget gap would be a top priority.
“We really probably need to look to balance our budget within the current revenue that we have. We have to figure out ways that we can be more efficient.”
But he tells me one thing that can’t be ignored is climate change, specifically how the next Lieutenant Governor will address it.
“Renewable energy generation is going to have to be one way that we do that.”
When asked what sets him apart from the rest of the candidates, he points to his role as Speaker of the House.
“My leadership style is to try to bring people together, let other people shine and take lead on the issue and help them get issues across the line and I think that’s something that the lieutenant governor’s office can do too.”