CEI Member – Be Fruitful
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Mark Shepard lives in Rustburg, VA with his wife, Rebecca and their four sons. Mark holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in Electrical Engineering, beginning his studies at Letourneau College, then completing his undergraduate with high honors at University of Florida. His graduate studies split between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mark owns and operates a small industrial controls business he started during his last year of graduate school (1993). Prior to college, Mark worked in the building trades where he completed the four-year Vermont Electrical Apprenticeship and earned his Journeyman Electrician’s License.
Mark was raised on a strawberry farm in the hills of Hartland, Vermont, where his family has lived for several generations and where he, Rebecca and their sons lived until 2011 when they relocated to Rebecca’s home state of Virginia.
In 2000 Mark, having never run for any elected office, nor considered such, unexpectedly ran for the Vermont Senate. The establishment Republicans quickly lined up behind his “moderate” opponent; however, he and Rebecca worked tirelessly running a totally grassroots campaign, and soundly won the Republican Primary. He lost in the General Election, but ran again in 2002 and won. He served two terms (2003-2006), followed by a run for Congress.
In the 1970s Vermont, with its small size and live-and-let-live nature, became a beachhead used to move America away from its free-market limited government origins, based on the laws of nature and nature’s God, and toward socialism, where the state (man’s wisdom) is considered supreme. Many socialistic leaning people with political ambitions moved to Vermont, got elected and radically changed state politics. Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean, both from New York City, are just two among many.
By 2006, the Democrats, who held a 23-7 super majority in the Vermont Senate, push for socialism was no longer a hidden agenda as they introduced a Senate resolution to honor Venezuelan socialist dictator Hugo Chavez along with his longtime admirer, then Congressman Bernie Sanders. Senator Shepard led the effort that killed that resolution, thus keeping a huge stain off the Vermont Senate. Today, with Venezuela going from the richest nation in South America to a state of mass poverty and starvation, those pushing socialism no longer lift it up as their example, but in 2006, even with Chavez’s many human rights violations and clear problems in Venezuela, Chavez’s Venezuela was a model that was very much embraced by Congressman Sanders and the Vermont Democrats. It was in that radical environment that Mark ran, won and served in elected politics and which cemented in Mark a commitment to do all he can to steer our nation back to its sound roots.