Mid Session Report from Montpelier
First of all , I want to thank you for the opportunity to represent you in Montpelier .
I love Vermont and I love living here and I am grateful to be able to do some work to try and keep Vermont the great place it is to live, work, play and raise our families.
This year, the session in Montpelier has been a little like driving on our roads this time of year, with the frost heaves and potholes. It’s pretty much bumpety-bump- bump on Rt. 5 and and it’s been that way in Montpelier as well.
One of the reasons is all the chaos coming from the White House . We have to do our work keeping one eye on whats happening in Washington and the other eye on what we’re doing in Montpelier.
As for our work in Montpelier, it is focused on protecting our families and helping our communities thrive.
On building an economy that works for all, not just the well connected.
And, that’s why we’re fighting for a $15 minimum wage, Paid Family Leave and trying to bridge the Pay Gap between men and women.
We want a Vermont where everyone can afford high-quality Health Care, attain a great Education, and Retire with Security. These goals are under assault at the federal level, though.
As is our environment, but thankfully we have David Deen working hard on that especially when it comes to Clean Water. and protecting ACT 250.
Another area we have to protect that’s under attack from this president is Planned Parenthood. Millions of women have gotten basic health care at Planned Parenthood for decades and this president and his cronies in Congress keep threatening to cut their funding .
This is unacceptable.
So, to protect against that, I have had a bill drafted that, should we need it, will back fill any cuts to Planned \Parenthood by taxing Viagra and other ED drugs.
We want to make sure we don’t forget about what a vital part of our culture and economy is- because Agriculture is facing serious challenges . The largest dairy farm in Putney just went out of business, so we want to make sure we are all aware and informed and supporting our local farmers.
Education is another important topic on our work list. And, at every level. From early care and education struggling to keep enough slots open for parents that need them to finding enough qualified staff . Our K-12 system Public schools continue to do a good job educating our students , but still challenged by a performance gap between in the cohort of lower income students and a Governor who says, We have too many schools for the number of students- which means closing schools. This is unacceptable as schools are at the heart of so many of our communities.
And, lastly, I want to talk about public safety… first of all recognizing that the MeToo movement is changing this country for the better and we are workin together to make Vermont a safer place for women in all areas of their lives, with workplace safety and strengthening our laws on domestic violence.
Last year, the House passed a bill that would protect women and children in situations where domestic violence was happening and remove firearms from such situations.
Recent events have finally pushed the conversations around Gun Violence to the point where the Senate has picked up on this and passed some bills and now we can work on reconciling our differences and send some Gun Violence protection bills on to the Governor- who has had an epiphany of his own, about gun violence since the recent Florida shooting and viable threat of a school shooting right here in Vermont.
There is nothing more important than keeping our children safe and we will do what we have to so kids don’t have to fear going to school and parents don’t have to fear whether they’ll come home or not .
Do we want an America, where kids have to fear getting shot just going to school?
Is that the Vermont we want?
I don’t believe so.
We have work to do to make sure that doesn’t happen here and we are taking that challenge and doing the work.
In closing, this is, a time of many transitions in our society, with changes in Education and Medicine…Transportation and Finance.
And, Under the banner of justice we see Economic, Environmental and Racial / Social justice all lined up needing our attention.
We’re working towards those ideals and we’ll use those values to inform our work.
Just as importantly, we’ll use what we hear from you to inform our work, to help build a strong, healthy Vermont and a better future for all. So, Please feel free to be in touch.
And, again thank you for the chance to serve you.
For a more comprehensive report on the actions of committees in the Vermont House of Representatives, please visit our website; www.windham4.net
Windham 4 District- Putney, Dummerston and Westminster