With election, Hashim's police job changes

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DUMMERSTON — State Rep.-elect Nader Hashim, D-Dummerston, the first active Vermont State Police trooper to be elected to the Vermont Legislature, has accepted a voluntary reassignment to the Royalton barracks to avoid any potential conflicts of interest with his constituents.

Hashim, 30, a seven-year veteran of the state police, was elected to represent the towns of Dummerston, Putney and Westminster, along with longtime State Rep. Michael Mrowicki, D-Putney.

Both men ended Tuesday night with the same vote total — 2,786 votes, or an identical 42.98 percent of the total votes cast.

Hashim received the most votes in his hometown of Dummerston, with 863 votes to Mrowicki's 790, while Mrowicki led Putney with 1,008 votes, compared with Hashim's 969.

In Westminster, Mrowicki received 988 votes, compared with Hashim's 954.

Hashim and Mrowicki said they were surprised at the virtual tie, but said that since they both will serve, it will have no real effect.

"It means we both start out on equal footing," said Mrowicki.

Hashim replaces longtime State Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, who retired after 30 years in the Legislature. Hashim and Mrowicki won the Democratic primary in August, and faced no Republican opponents Tuesday.

For Hashim, the election means a change in his professional life, as he will stop being a part of the Westminster barracks of the Vermont State Police, according to Lt. Anthony French.

Adam Silverman, spokesman for the Vermont State Police, said Hashim agreed to the transfer to follow the police's policy that elected troopers not cover the same area as their legislative district.

Silverman said Hashim had the right to serve under the Vermont state employees collective bargaining agreement.

"We are pleased that one of our members has been elected to serve in the Vermont Legislature, as is his right to do so," said Silverman. "He has made arrangements to serve on unpaid legislative leave once the 2019 session begins until it has closed, which is permitted under the collective bargaining agreement.

"Additionally, he transferred voluntarily to Royalton to comply with policy that he not respond within his elected district to requests for Vermont State Police service to avoid any potential conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts," he added in an email.

Hashim said he will continue with the state police in Westminster until Jan. 9, 2019, when the 2019 Legislature convenes, and will go on unpaid leave, noting he will rely on his legislative salary at the time. Once the Legislature adjourns, he will report to the Royalton barracks.

He said there was a possibility he would work for a private law firm in Brattleboro after the Legislature adjourns.

Both Hashim and Mrowicki said Act 46 remains of high concern of their constituents, and in particular the action by the state Board of Education forcing towns to merge their school boards and administrations.

"The number one issue is Act 46 and forced mergers. The second, is race relations in the state of Vermont," said Hashim, who serves on the Fair & Impartial Policing Committee for the state police.

Mrowicki also listed Act 46 as a top concern, but he said in his view people's top concern is countering the policies and actions of the Trump administration.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com or 802 254-2311, ext. 154.

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