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A Tribute to Representative Howard Crawford

By John Kleinhans
On April 20, 2012


You would never think that a kid who is 21 would say that one of his best friends in college was a man three times his age.

A legend is retiring. He has been an inspiration and leader to many in the Northeast Kingdom since the mid 1960's. This man has taught me an incredible amount about Vermont government and without him, I would not be where I am today. This Op-Ed is a personal look at the career of Howard Crawford from the perspective of a 21 year old.

Four years ago, I started my collegiate career at Lyndon State College. I was a young and ambitious 18-year-old Television Studies major from Connecticut. I remember the first week I was nervous and afraid but ready for a challenge.  After sitting around my dorm room for a few days bored, my dad suggested that I call up the local Republican Party to get involved. That day, I called Representative Howard Crawford of Burke who told me that he would be right up to the college so I could drive him door to door. He told me that he would meet me by "that smoking hut".

Howard picked me up in his Mercedes Benz and said, you can drive I've got to knock on some doors. So the journey began there. We continued this for about three times a week until the November elections, when Howard won re-election. The amazing thing was how hard Howard that year campaigned and the truth of it was, he was running unopposed.

Howard Crawford has been a lifetime employee of St. Johnsbury Academy where he has worked his tail off for the betterment of students for the last forty years. Legislators at the Vermont State House respect him for his quick wit and ability to get the job done fast. I learned this first hand in the spring of 2009, when I became his intern. Howard sat on the all powerful House Appropriations Committee, but his heart was in the Education Committee, which is where I spent most of the semester, because as Howard like to say, "they are locking me in Approps because they don't want me running around causing trouble." As I would see over the course of that semester, Howard Crawford knew how to start trouble, because he truly cared for each and every one of his constituents in his district. He would do anything for a resident of the Northeast Kingdom.

There are three words that stick out when I think of what Howard has taught me.

Persistence- Always be chasing your dreams. If you ever stop, you will never achieve them.

Loyalty- Always be true to yourself and the people who have brought you through the game of life.

Dedication- Don't half ass your work because people will never  be able to rely on you.

Howard and I have spent a lot of time together these last few years. Whether it was in Montpelier or at the Pizza Man, I've enjoyed every moment of it. Without his guidance and encouragement, I'm not sure if I would be graduating this upcoming May.

When he sells his condo, the plan is to move to Georgia with his lovely wife Judith. I'll miss the family meals I've shared with them and my girlfriend Meghan, but I will always know that my second family will be just a phone call away.  Thanks Howard for everything you have given me and done for me, it will never be forgotten

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