Commentary: A Vermont that works for all of us, not just the wealthy

A Vermont that works for all of us, not just the wealthy

I want a Vermont that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.  A Vermont where our families and communities can thrive and where the Vermont dream is accessible to everyone – not just a select few.

During the Governor’s State of the State Address last week, I didn’t hear a plan on how we can create an economy that works for all of us; what I heard was a doom and gloom story of failure and struggle. 

I see a different Vermont: one with many strengths and opportunities with communities working to make our state a better place to thrive.  Instead of his focus on failure, let’s focus on what’s working and how we can make progress and move forward. This spirit of progress is a core Vermont value.

The Governor says we need a marketing program to recruit families to move to Vermont.  I say there’s no better marketing plan than helping working families thrive.  People are attracted to success. Making paid family leave part of every job and gradually raising the minimum wage will improves the lives of Vermont’s working families and puts more money back into our local economy. Vermont is held in high regard for our quality of life, our environment, food and culture.  Slick marketing plans don’t attract workers; good wages and benefits, strong schools, and affordable housing does.

When the Governor looks to override local school board budgets by mandating certain staff levels, I say that imposing the biggest lay off in recent state history isn’t the answer. We need to focus on what’s best for our kids and provide the resources our schools need to meet today’s challenges.  When the Governor cites statistics and teacher/student rations, I see the adults our kids depend on for support and success. Let’s let our local communities balance their school staffing levels with the budgetary challenges all communities face.

When the Governor says we can’t raise taxes while saying we are going to invest in programs, I say we can’t put them on the credit card and pass the cost off to future generations.  We can’t kick the can down the road.  We will find the solution that is right for Vermont and continue working toward making the Vermont dream accessible for all.


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