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Excerpts from articles during Mark's 2006 run for Congress:

Hold On - We're About To Be Assaulted!
Springfield Reporter and the Vermont Standard
Kurt Staudter, Columnist | August 3, 2006

   ...I'd be totally cynical about the upcoming political season, but check this out: Last week I did an interview with U.S. House candidate Senator Mark Shepard, Republican from Bennington County, and I was treated to a Vermont politician truly in the tradition of Aiken, Flanders and Jeffords. I'd met him in passing a few times in the statehouse, and got to talk with him at length during the Windsor Heritage Days. Now while Mark and I live at opposite ends of the political spectrum, the hour-long interview for SAPA-TV turned out to be one of the most enjoyable interviews I've ever done, and continued long after we turned off the cameras.
   Ironically, Mark is getting royally screwed by his party even though he more closely represents the traditional beliefs of those Yankee Republicans that keep electing Jim Douglas Governor. I was disgusted at the Windsor Heritage Days while making my rounds of the political booths to find the lawn signs for Shepard had been physically hidden from view, and that those party officials staffing the booth treated it as a big joke that they'd be so one sided before the primary. Rainville was the anointed one - Period! Here we have a native born Vermonter, raised in Hartland, with a proven record of fighting for property rights, keeping public lands open to sportsmen, controlling the size of government, lowering taxes, and on and on and on. His common sense positions on the issues, his passion to improve the lives of his fellow Vermonters, and the humility which he brings to his public service, are those same qualities that led both Rs and Ds to keep sending Jim Jeffords to Washington. Mark is no party hack, but a pragmatic family man and entrepreneur, running a shoe leather campaign in the finest Vermont tradition....

Underdog and the anti-establishment candidate
June 14, 2006

   ...Shepard's background fits his rhetoric. He's a fifth or sixth generation Vermonter, born and raised on a small [strawberry] farm, learned his hard-work ethic from his growing up a farmer's son, and his moral values were home grown as well. He graduated from Hartford High School in 1978 with little interest in a college education, but having learned how to wire a house with his dad at a young age, he had an affinity for electrical sciences and got his journeyman electrician's license in 1982. He stumbled into higher electronics, then took an interest in computers and ended up graduating from the University of Florida in 1986 with a electrical engineering degree and received a Master of Engineering degree following work at MIT and RPI.
   In short, Shepard has a populist pedigree, but has leveraged his natural talent and home education into a lucrative electrical engineering business, which he formed several years ago and runs as an independent business. He's married with four kids.
   All this makes Shepard's story far more interesting than most Vermonters would know at this early stage in the campaign, but will soon begin to discover as Shepard makes the rounds and Vermont's press corps starts to cover Shepard's race against Martha Rainville in the Republican primary.
   While Shepard's story is compelling, his politics are less easy to grasp. He's an ardent opponent of big government and believes the marketplace is the best driver of societal goals. He was one of two state senators to vote against the Catamount Health care plan recently passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Jim Douglas, saying that the marketplace would be a better engine of change if only there were more competition in the state for health insurance. He would promote such competition by allowing consumers to buy insurance across state lines and by promoting health savings accounts. That there is no cooperative agreement among states to allow that to happen doesn't faze Shepard. Making the marketplace work for health care is a goal he would work toward, whether realistic or not.
   On taxation, Shepard splits the Republican causes. He supports Bush tax cuts and wouldn't reverse them, but doesn't think more tax cuts that would create larger deficits is a good idea. He said spending needs to be trimmed...
   Shepard's fresh approach to the issues makes his campaign interesting, at the very least. Whether he stands a chance against the well-financed campaign of Rainville, the GOP's anointed darling, is yet to be seen. But we suspect Shepard will find a few converts along the way with his brand of common-sense populism and a style that is unafraid to stir the pot and rankle some feathers. Add his honest approach to politics, and an old-style campaign that is refreshing and endearing, and you have the makings of a bona fide candidate. Whatever you've heard about Shepard's candidacy on the periphery of political news, his characterization as a candidate not of the middle has been greatly exaggerated. He has a few issues on which he's rowing his own boat, but on many others he's a mainstreamer trying to bring some sense to entrenched party policies and politics that cause problems with no hope for answers....

Candid Assessment -- Where the Candidates Stand on Our Issues
September 2006 | Vermont Woman magazine
Who is the Guy from Bennington County?

   Many Vermonters are encountering Shepard for the first time, since this is his first campaign for a statewide office. And they're finding that he isn't shy about stating his opinions, or why he's a better choice than his opponents in both parties. "You can tell that, by looking at where they are getting their money, the whole focus is the 'high stakes' of this race. There's nothing about Vermont that is high stakes,' he said. "I am very passionate that politics is about making life better and government [allowing] more opportunities.'
   Comparing himself with his colleague and Senate President Peter Welch (D-Windsor), Shepard highlighted their different concepts of government. "I sat next to him for four years on the finance committee and he comes from a very different point of view [that] government can solve everything, government needs more control, more regulation is a good thing,' Shepard said. "Government has its place, it certainly does, but there are things that can be done much better by the private sector.'

Health Care and Small Businesses
   Shepard's legislative career and current campaign both draw heavily on his experience as a small business owner. "That's where most of the jobs are and quite frankly, that's where most women's opportunities are. The high regulatory system hurts small businesses much more than large businesses,' he said. "Every time I deal with something in my business, whether it has to do with taxes or regulation, I am not earning any money.'
   Shepard was one of only two dissenting votes on the Health Care Affordability Act this session, largely due to questions about funding the Catamount Health Plan through Medicaid and tobacco taxes. "It is irresponsible to pass a bill that is going to make people dependant on the government when the government has no dependable source of money,' Shepard said. "I think a better choice would be to move towards allowing Vermonters to purchase insurance out of state. Vermonters already do [that]; they just have to move there to buy it.'

Articles, Stories and Letters from Mark's 2006 campaign for Congress


"... many politicians talk the talk about doing something tangible about new jobs and it doesn't go much further. Sen. Shepard walked the walk."
"Sen. Shepard's big accomplishment, and it is a significant one, lies in the major role he played in bringing the Bennington Microtech Center into being."

Bennington Banner State Senator Endorsement Editorial, October 29, 2004

Paid for by Shepard for Congress Committee

Copyright © 2006, Shepard for Congress Committee. All rights reserved.