Scooter MacMillan, Editor
Running unopposed, Chea Waters Evans was confirmed as the next representative to the Chittenden-5 House district in Tuesday’s voting.
Since her win in the August primary, when she defeated incumbent Mike Yantachka for the Democratic nomination, Evans said she’s been reading the legislative handbook, all the House rules found online and watching YouTube videos of that body’s sessions.
“I’ve just been watching them while I’m doing the laundry and just trying to get myself caught up on everything. You know, I was a reporter; I like to research things,” Evans said.
Now, she’s anxious to get down to the actual work and excited about the prospect of being one of about 50 new representatives, which she thinks may be the largest freshman class ever.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, she will be jumping into the actual legislative process, going to Montpelier for orientation.
Evans said she has been talking to people about what they care about and what issues they want her to focus on.
“It seems like everyone I talked to is mostly concerned about the same things,” Evans said. Things she’s heard people are passionate about include helping families, mental healthcare and housing.
Although 1,753 people in Charlotte and 34 people in the small part of Hinesburg that is part of the Chittenden 5 district voted for her; 129 people wrote in another candidate.
Evans said she understands that everyone is not going to agree with her, but she is going to do her best to see that everyone feels like they are being listened to. “I’m not here just to represent the people who agree with me and like me.”
She hopes people will get in touch with her if they have any concerns about the legislature.
Although she ran for student council in middle school, Evans said she can’t even remember if that was when she was a student at Charlotte Central School, so for all intents and purposes, this is a completely new experience.
One that’s different than her former experience as a journalist.
“The surprising thing I’ve noticed so far is, that as a journalist, you’re not supposed to have an opinion. If you do have an opinion, you’re supposed to keep it to yourself,” Evans said. “Now, my opinion, as a voice for the people who I’m representing, is what matters.”