A man who spent nearly three decades lobbying Vermont lawmakers has become the newest member of the Legislature.
Jim Harrison was sworn in Tuesday to fill a seat vacated by former Republican Rep. Job Tate, who resigned his seat last week in advance of a deployment with the U.S. Navy’s Mobile Construction Battalion.
Harrison, of Chittenden, was the longtime head of the Vermont Retailers Association — now the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association. Harrison’s former job involved influencing lawmakers to vote for or against legislation related to the industry.
“I would be dishonest if I said it didn’t help shape some of my viewpoints and backgrounds, but the reality is I represent the constituents of Rutland-Windsor-1 … and I’m going to work hard to do my best job for them,” Harrison says. “I’ve severed the ties with the association, and I’ve got to go on to do what it is that works in the best interest in the members of our district.”
Harrison’s district includes the towns of Chittenden, Mendon, Killington and Bridgewater, and he says he hopes to focus on economic development issues in Montpelier. He says he plans to run for reelection in 2018.
Gov. Phil Scott appointed Harrison to the seat, and says he brings “tremendous knowledge and experience working with the Legislature to this position.”
“I am confident he will be a dedicated public servant, representing the best interests of his constituents as we work to grow the economy, make Vermont more affordable and give Vermonters a break from increasing taxes and fees,” Scott said in a written statement.