ROCKINGHAM -- The Windham 3 Statehouse district primary will feature three Democrats vying for two seats.
But for the most part, party affiliation is where similarity among the candidates ends: Carolyn Partridge is a seven-term veteran of the Legislature, Matt Trieber is an appointed incumbent who has not run a state campaign and Chris Moore ran for the seat in 2010 as an independent.
But each say they're uniquely qualified to serve the newly labeled district that consists of the towns of Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Rockingham, Windham and part of Westminster.
For Partridge, it's all about experience; the Windham resident first was elected in 1998 and has served in the House since.
"Six years of that time, I was in caucus leadership," she said. "For the last four years, I have been chairing the House Agriculture Committee."
Partridge cited passage of the Working Lands Enterprise Bill - and an accompanying $1.175 million allocation - as a signature accomplishment from this year's legislative session.
"These investments will be deployed through grants to leverage private capital, jump-start new businesses and help farmers with access to land," Partridge wrote in a note to constituents on her website as the session came to an end.
In an interview this week, Partridge said her familiarity with how state government works is a big benefit when it comes to such large-scale legislative efforts.
Matt Trieber hasn't had much time to build such a network. He was appointed to his House seat in January 2011 by Gov. Peter Shumlin after longtime Rep. Michael Obuchowski departed for another state post.
But Trieber is no stranger to government, having been elected twice to the Rockingham Selectboard. He still serves on that board.
Trieber also runs Atkinson Street Environmental LLC, a Bellows Falls environmental-consulting firm he started in 2008.
Because he was appointed to the Legislature last year, Trieber has not yet had to campaign for his seat. But he said he wants to continue the work he has begun, both in Montpelier and in Windham County.
"What is particularly rewarding is working with constituents to try to direct legislation and have their concerns heard up in Montpelier," Trieber said, adding that he has been working with fellow lawmakers to bring economic development funding to Windham County.
Looking to unseat either Partridge or Trieber is Moore, a Bellows Falls attorney who ran for the House in 2010 as an independent. He lost to Partridge and Obuchowski.
In explaining his switch to the Democratic Party, Moore notably identified the seat with Obuchowski - not Trieber.
"The 2010 campaign was fun to do. Our message resonated with the working Vermonter, and I'm proud of our strong showing," Moore said in an e-mail to the Reformer. "With Representative Obuchowski's open seat up for grabs, it is time to align myself with a major party."
Moore said he is an eighth-generation Vermonter who is the "only native" in the race. He is concerned about an exodus of young people that he attributes to a lack of jobs and a high cost of living.
"We cannot be vital and vibrant with our current demographics and future projections," Moore said. "Economic development and job creation in Windham County are my focus and my passion. Everything else will follow."
The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.