Below are some of the key issues that I will be working on in the next biennium. There are many other matters of course, so please contact me if you have other ideas you'd like me to know about.
An Economy that Works for All Vermonters, Not Just a Select Few
The future of Vermont depends on a healthy economy. A strong economy provides jobs, lifts people out of poverty, and reduces the pressure on an already overburdened social services system. With a virtually flat rate of growth, an aging population, fewer young people and young families in Vermont, we need to develop policies and practices that provide opportunities for our citizens which will in turn strengthen our economy.
Today, too many Vermonters struggle to care for and support themselves and their families. I will continue to fight for:
Paid family leave - Working Vermonters should have the security of being able to welcome a new child or care for a sick family member without fear of losing income or being fired.
Increasing the minimum wage - So families can meet the basics. Their spending will boost Main Street, create jobs, and help Vermont communities to thrive.
Workforce development- We must continue to increase access to training, career and tech education so every Vermonter has a fair shot.
Vermont is one of the cleanest, most environmentally pristine states in our country. Our environment, and the health and economic benefits it provides, is under threat from long ignored pollution to our streams and lakes and from climate change. Clean, renewable energy will safeguard the health and futures of our families and communities. Weaning our economy off fossil fuels and generating more of Vermont’s energy locally not only addresses climate change, it strengthens our economy by keeping our energy dollars in-state.
Cleaning up our water - We can’t kick the can down the road, especially when it comes to cleaning up our lakes and streams. We must take action now to secure a long-term plan because our drinking water, tourist economy, property values, and quality of life depend on it.
Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels – Climate change is real and it’s here. We need to take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and increase our use of renewable energy sources.
Strong Schools, Strong Future
Our public schools are the bedrock of our Vermont communities and provide our children the opportunity to reach their potential and succeed in life. With the additional demands placed on our schools from addiction, mental illness, and poverty, great public schools in our communities are more important than ever in giving all children a fair shot at a bright future.
Education funding – It’s been nearly two decades since Vermont rethought how we fund our schools. It’s time to find a new solution upholds our support for great public schools, with local accountability, and with all Vermonters contributing their fair share, including the wealthiest.
Universal Pre-K: A quality education is key to lifting people out of poverty. It begins with early childhood education. Universal Pre-K helps make child care more affordable, gets children better prepared for school, and increases the chances for all children to succeed in school and beyond.
Tech Centers: Not all of our students will go on to a 4-year college and not all jobs require a 4-year degree. Our tech centers, including the Hannaford Career Center here in Middlebury, play a critical role in providing educational and career opportunities for those not college bound. Investing in our tech centers allows students and adults to get the knowledge and skills they need through secondary and post-secondary training so they can enter the workforce and get a good job with a livable wage. Internships and apprenticeships are additional pathways to successful careers.
Addressing Child Trauma - We can take action now to prevent the stress and trauma in children’s lives that too often leads to drug use and mental health issues.
Healthy Families, Healthy Communities
The cost of health insurance and housing are the biggest challenges faced by many Vermonters. Republicans in Washington are dismantling the Affordable Care Act and cutting funding for Medicare and Medicaid. Making health insurance more affordable and ensuring Vermonters have access to treatment without barriers for drug addiction and mental health is critical. All Vermonters should be able to afford to rent, buy, and own a home.
Resources for opiate addiction and mental health – Continue to prioritize funding to ensure that every Vermonter suffering from addiction or mental illness gets timely treatment.
Defending the Affordable Care Act – As Republicans in Washington try to dismantle the ACA and disrupt health insurance markets driving premiums up, we will fight to make health insurance affordable for working families and children.
Continue to push for universal primary care – Support a study to determine a responsible way to pay for this program that will save Vermonters money and increase access to health care.
Access to safe and affordable housing - Work to fund programs that protect and create safe and affordable housing for working families and vulnerable seniors.