Priorities

Here’s what I will continue to work on for us in Montpelier:

EARNED SICK DAYS: This bill would give workers the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. “No person should have to choose between being a responsible worker and a responsible family member. No mother should have to choose between her job and taking care of a sick child.”

#1-Earned Sick days addresses Public Health & Children’s Health issues: Working parents with paid time off are more likely to stay home to care for their sick children than those without paid time off.

#2-Earned sick days helps curb the cost of health care: Studies show parents without earned sick days are less likely to take their child or a family member to the emergency room because they were unable to take time off work during normal work hours. Unnecessary ER visits cause additional burdens on our health care system totaling more than $1.1 billion per year, in Vermont we would save 5 million in costs.In addition, Studies show that children recover faster when cared for by their parents. The mere presence of parents shortens a child’s hospital stay by 31%, which reduces health care costs.

#3-Earned sick days helps make a productive workforce: More than half of human resources executives say that “presenteeism,” is a problem because workers risk infecting others and may lower productivity. “Presenteeism” costs our national economy $180 billion annually in lost productivity, surpassing the cost of absenteeism. For employers, this costs an average of $255 per employee per year.

TOXIC-FREE FAMILIES: This bill would protect Vermonters from unnecessary exposure to dangerous chemicals and give us confidence that the products on our store shelves are health and safe. More than 1 in 5 personal care products contain chemicals linked to cancer. Instead of banning bad chemicals one by one, it’s time to create a comprehensive and transparent system to identify and regulate the worst chemicals.

TOBACCO RESTRICTIONS:  We passed a bill in the House that would restrict smoking tobacco outside state owned buildings, child care facilities and motels.  It also prohibits smoking in a car when a child is in the back seat.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND CHOICE: I’ve fought for women’s rights my entire career.  I am the Vice President of Education and VT Community Affairs for Planned Parenthood Northern New England and have served on the Advisory Board for Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom.  As your State Representative, I’ll  continue to fight for access to reproductive health care, safe places for battered women and victims of domestic violence, and equal pay for equal work.

HEALTHCARE FOR ALL: The growing cost and lack of accessibility to healthcare is a problem. As a patient and supporter of our community health center I know first-hand the critical role it plays in our community.  I support single payer health care.

EDUCATION: Ensuring students have access to quality education is critical to our community’s future. I want our high school students to have all the tools and opportunities they need to be successful–whether at college, tech school, or in a good job.

LOCAL FOOD & URBAN AGRICULTURE: Local food is good for you and good for our economy.  Local food is a nutritious alternative to factory farming, and provides an economic benefit to our community.  Burlington is so fortunate to have the Intervale and a number of community gardens.  Buying local food helps support local jobs and reduces our carbon footprint.  As your legislator, I’ll support our local food economy in the following ways:

1. Expand the farm-to-school program: $75,000 is available to Vermont schools through the Farm-to-School grant program in 2013.  I’ll work to increase funding to this program so our children can enjoy fresh food while connecting with our local farmers.

2. Create a low income community garden program that provides financial assistance to low income Vermonters for leasing community garden plots.  Vermonters can save money and eat healthier by growing their own food.  My innovative program will help reduce the number of hungry Vermonters.

3. Support small, family farms by requiring GMO labeling and opposing subsidies to factory farms.

SAFE & AFFORDABLE HOUSING:: I’ve lived all over our district – renting on Park Street, Maple Street, Peru Street, and Hyde Street. I now own my home on Spring Street, so I know firsthand how hard it is to find an affordable place to live in Burlington.  No one should have to agonize about where they’re going to live, and I’ll work hard to make sure all of our neighbors have access to safe and affordable housing.

1. Support legislation that toughens penalties on deadbeat landlords that fail keep their properties safely maintained.

2. Ensure UVM builds more student housing on campus.

3. Fight housing discrimination that targets minorities and families.

VOTER RIGHTS:: I believe voting is fundamental to our democracy, that’s why I started a nonprofit devoted to registering and getting young people to vote.  We need to expand access to voting and oppose Republican proposals to restrict voting rights.  These restrictions often target poor or minority voters unfairly. In order to ensure every Vermonter’s right to vote, I’ll push for:

1. Same Day Voter Registration:  I’ll introduce legislation to allow voters to register and voter on Election Day.  This is particularly important to our district because students and other renters often change residences just a few short weeks before November elections.

2. Online registration: 11 states already have safe and effective online voter registration.  Online registration saves time for voters and saves money.

CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE:

Corporations are not people.  It’s that simple.  Our power, as average citizens, to influence elections should not be undermined by the collective power of big corporations.  Corporations should not be afforded the same First Amendment rights as people.

  • Voted in support of amending the Constitution to provide that money is not speech and corporations are not people.

Hardworking families are the heart of our community. I will be their voice in Montpelier.