"This is more of an exploratory type thing, but without a committee," he said. "I know it's very early, but as an independent I'm going to have an awful lot of work ahead of me. I want people to know there are going to be options this round."
Citing his inability to accomplish his goals in the House, Pillsbury said that regardless of whether he ends up running for one of Windham County's two seats in the Senate, he will likely not run for re-election to his House seat.
"I've been serving the people of Brattleboro now for 12 years. I love doing it and I want to continue doing it, but I want to do it where I can be more effective," he said.
Pillsbury is announcing his intentions now for a couple of reasons, he said. He wants to gauge whether he will have enough support in the county to raise the $10,000 he believes the race will cost. He also wants to alert potential candidates for his own seat that it may be vacant, and he wants to get the word out before the Legislature reconvenes in January.
"The thing is, once I'm up north, I'm going to be very focused on what I'm doing," he said. "I've never fundraised before, so I've gotta figure out if I can raise some money."
At the end of his present term, Pillsbury will have served in the House for eight years. Before
Pillsbury would presumably be challenging incumbent Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, and Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham, though he says he is "not running to overthrow anybody."
"I think they're doing a fine job. It's about what I offer, which is not just the Democratic agenda," he said.
White could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but according to Shumlin, "It's a little early to be thinking about political races. There's plenty of time to do politics when the Legislature adjourns."
"I haven't given it a lot of thought. I expect I'll run again and I expect Jeanette will run again, but it's way too early to get into this stuff," he said. "It's the first I've heard that Daryl is interested in serving in the Senate. Obviously if he ran I'd wish him luck, but I'll be supporting Jeanette White and Pete Shumlin."
In the 2006 election, Shumlin and White won with 12,484 and 10,498 votes respectively. They beat Liberty Union candidates Aaron Diamondstone and Ben Mitchell, who received 1,558 and 1,498 votes respectively.
As an independent, Pillsbury said he hopes to attract votes from Progressives, Democrats and even Republicans. Though he mostly votes with Democrats and plans to run on health care, energy policy and labor, Pillsbury cited his support for parental notification for abortions as an example of his unwillingness to toe the party line.
"I want people to know I am an independent voice for the people I represent," he said.
Rep. Rick Hube, R-Londonderry, said Pillsbury could be a "breath of fresh air" in the Senate and has the ability to work with members of all Vermont's political parties.
"I think he brings a different perspective. It's not all politics," Hube said. "I think he'd play well (in the county). As people get to know him, you can't help to like the guy if you know the guy."
Pillsbury said that if he runs, he hopes to make health care activist and Reformer columnist Richard Davis his campaign manager.
According to Davis, it may be difficult for Pillsbury to unseat two incumbent Democrats, "but people want change. If people do want change, maybe he's the guy."
"It's a hard thing to predict," Davis said. "Predicting politics is like predicting the weather in New England. No matter what you think, you usually end up being wrong."
Paul Heintz can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.