Robin learned to walk and talk in Vermont and New Hampshire. He acquired his many practical skills growing up on a farm in western New York state. He attended Hamilton College, then worked as a builder overseas and a sailor on the seas, and was a partner at Hicks Orchard in Granville New York before moving back to Vermont to raise his family. Since 1991 the Chesnut-Tangermans have lived in Middletown Springs where Robin operated Talisman Woodwork, a remodeling business, for 27 years. Later in life, he became a licensed history teacher. He recently obtained his Vermont real estate license and now works with McChesney Real Estate, in Pawlet.
In addition to design and building, Robin has extensive experience in renewable energy (20 years as an organizer of SolarFest, including 10 years booking performers and speakers), and has written a column in the Rutland Herald/Times Argus for a decade.
Robin is now in his third term as Representative, and serves as ranking member on the Energy and Technology Committee.
In addition, Robin serves as Chair of the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules which meets year round, and is Leader of the House Progressive Caucus, the only third party caucus in the country.
Robin served on the Middletown Springs Select Board for 10 years, on the Fire Department for 11, was President of the town library board, and currently serves on the Town Building and Town Energy Committees. Adding to his BA, Robin holds a degree in Mediation from Woodbury College and is a Vermont licensed teacher in high school social studies. Robin and his wife Melissa homeschooled their two daughters Jeni and Malindi from 1991-2003. He taught at-risk youth at The Smokey House Center in Danby from 2014-2016, and has served as adjunct faculty at Green Mountain College in the Renewable Energy and Ecological Design Program (REED).
After three terms, it’s become very clear to Melissa, Jeni, and Malindi that Robin is an excellent representative. His intelligence and grasp of facts and issues, great memory (except for names), open mind and voice-of-reason diplomatic skills have earned him respect among his colleagues. We see how he responds to every constituent who reaches out to him, and how seriously he takes the responsibilities of learning new things and most importantly, synthesizing points of view. He clearly communicates complex subjects to constituents.
Robin serves on the House Energy and Technology Committee where he is the Ranking Member. The HEAT Committee has jurisdiction over energy, telecommunications, broadband, and IT issues.
Robin also serves as chair of the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, comprised of four representatives and four senators. LCAR meets year round to review all rules proposed by state agencies ranging from Fish and Wildlife to the Department of Financial Regulation.
As leader of the House Progressive Caucus Robin is a member of the House Leadership (Democrats, Republicans, Progressives and Independents) meeting weekly when in session, and twice a week during the State of Emergency.
He is also a member of the following issues caucus groups which meet to plan and discuss specific action items:
- Working Vermonters Caucus
- Climate Solutions Caucus
- Rural Economic Development Working Group (REDWinG)
These are a few of the 75 bills I sponsored or co-sponsored this session:
- Increasing broadband access*
- Expanding unemployment insurance
- Banning corporate political campaign contributions
- Supporting small scale renewable energy
- Creating pollinator protections
Some other goals will take a while longer:
- Establishing universal primary health care
- Creation of a state bank for local investment
- Ranked choice voting