I humbly ask for your continued support in this year’s general election on November 4th. It’s been an honor and a privilege of a lifetime to have a seat in state government representing our little corner of Vermont. We are at a crossroads in many regards and on many fronts and I would like the opportunity to work with you for another two years to choose the right paths and fix the ones we’re already on. In my three years as a legislator I have learned the written and unwritten rules of lawmaking and forged productive relationships with other representatives, senators, committee chairs and leadership in all parties, as well as with agency and department officials throughout state government. I’ve drafted and introduced legislation with members from all parties and independents, introduced and testified on legislation on behalf of constituents and tried my best to address all constituent comments and feedback that I’ve received while in office. We might not always agree on the best course of action, but I always try to find common ground and work from there.
During the last biennium I sponsored, reported and defended bills and amendments on the House floor that have been signed into law, including:
- the landmark genetically-engineered food labeling bill
- the authorization for cultivating industrial hemp
- a proposed expansion of hunting and fishing licensing for disabled veterans
- amending the “hands-free while driving” bill to allow for limited interaction with an affixed electronic device
In my first year on the Agriculture Committee I helped to draft and pass the Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill (Act 142), which has expanded economic development and market opportunities in our robust agriculture and forest products sectors.
My record of tri-partisan cooperation also includes drafting and introducing a 4th Amendment Protection bill with other members to address overreaching public surveillance by the federal government.
As a member of the Working Vermonters’ Caucus I’ve worked with other members outside of the traditional party structure to ensure that state policies balance the interests of the private sector with the needs of the average Vermont family.
In response to constituent requests I’ve introduced legislation to:
- address the double-taxation of retirement benefits accrued out-of-state
- expand Current Use eligibility requirements for senior Vermonters
- change how a town’s CLA is factored into the setting of property tax rates
- protect a surviving spouse who is not signatory of a reverse mortgage agreement from foreclosure
- report grants of surplus federal military equipment to state and municipal law enforcement agencies
- modify septic regulations to reduce the cost of building a new home while protecting the environment
Sometimes I have been able to resolve issues outside of the legislative process by acting as an intermediary between constituents and various state agencies and departments. I have helped retired constituents with limited incomes secure heating assistance for the winter, successfully lobbied the Public Service Board to require a telecom provider to issue a refund for poor service, and mediated a complicated legal dispute between neighbors.
If re-elected, my top priorities will include:
- listening to your concerns and suggestions, answering your questions, and keeping you up-to-date on legislative deliberations and actions
- continuing to hold the line on property tax reform
- finding ways to reduce statewide education spending without reducing quality
- ensuring the preservation of local school boards
- improving education quality without over-reliance on standardized testing
- assessing and reporting on efforts to establish a publicly funded healthcare system
- supporting the expansion of telecom and renewable energy projects while refining the balance between local control and meeting our broadband, cellular and energy goals
- finding sustainable and fair funding methods for bridging the gaps in our transportation budget as federal assistance decreases and the gas tax becomes insufficient and unbalanced
Being a part-time citizen legislator with other jobs and obligations can be incredibly challenging, and it is daunting at times to learn and understand some of the more complex existing and proposed laws. I try to see all the angles in the context of the bigger picture and listen to as many sides as possible before making a decision. I value listening to individual experiences and applying what I learn to the process of making laws that affect our lives, and I take the responsibility of representing thousands of Vermonters at their expense very seriously. While I still have more to learn and welcome more constituent interaction, I hope to earn your trust for the privilege of continuing to serve our district for another two years.