WESTMINSTER — Michelle Bos-Lun said she has always had strong opinions that she doesn't hesitate to share with her Vermont representatives or senators.
So, she said Thursday, it was a natural progression to think, "Why not me?"
Bos-Lun, 53, a resident of Westminster, announced her candidacy this week to become the second Democrat in the Windham-4 legislative district, a two-member district that represents the towns of Westminster, Putney and Dummerston.
Bos-Lun works for the Brattleboro Community Justice Center, helping former inmates find places to live. Prior to that, she worked for Youth Services of Windham County for five years. She currently is vice president of the board of directors for Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, which serves Windham and Windsor counties.
Bos-Lun said she started preparing to run earlier in the year, but that she had no intention of challenging either of the two incumbents, longtime Rep. Michael Mrowicki, D-Putney, or first-term legislator Rep. Nader Hashim, D-Dummerston.
Hashim's decision on Monday to opt out of seeking a second term prompted Bos-Lun to send out a press release and get into political action. Hashim cited financial pressures as the reason behind his decision.
Thursday marked the opening day for candidates to file for legislative seats; May 28 is the last day.
Bos-Lun attended Emerge Vermont Bootcamp in March 2020, a training program founded by former Gov. Madeleine Kunin, D-Vt., to help encourage women to run for political office and train them as candidates. She said the program gave her confidence in her ability as a candidate.
Recent alumnae include Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham, and two recent House members, Rep. Sara Coffey, D-Guilford, and Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, D-Brattleboro.
"As a person active in education, social services, mental health services, and the criminal justice system, I am aware of areas where change is desperately needed. I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to Montpelier to help make Vermont the best it can be for all who make our beautiful state their home," said Bos-Lun.
Bos-Lun currently works for Brattleboro Community Justice Center, helping to find housing for people who have recently been discharged from prison. She said health care, mental health care, Vermont's sustainability, and welcoming asylum seekers to Vermont are her top priorities.
Bos-Lun is married to Ron Bos-Lun, a teacher at The Compass School, a private alternative school in Westminster, and is the mother of three grown children. She moved to Vermont in 2003 to attend graduate school at the School for International Training, and fell in love with Westminster and Windham County.
She said she cares deeply about the plight of immigrants and is active in CASP, the Community Asylum Seekers Project, as well as the Greater Falls Warming Shelter. She volunteers at her granddaughter's school, the Windham Elementary School. She also described herself as an active gardener and canner.
The 2020 primary campaign and election will be like no other, and Bos-Lun said she expects there will be no one-on-one, door-to-door campaigning. "It will be a virtual campaign," she said.
"I look forward to connecting with individuals and farm and business owners in Westminster, Dummerston and Putney over the next four months so that I can better understand their issues and concerns and be able to effectively help the state rebuild after COVID," she said.
"I am a grandmother concerned about the world my granddaughter Lydia will be inheriting," Bos-Lun said. "Her family have been Vermont farmers for generations, but family farms are facing huge challenges. I want to help the economy and the environment stabilize so that the way of life we enjoy in Vermont today can continue for her grandchildren too."