For ten years now, it has been my honor to independently and effectively serve the people of Danby, Dorset, Landgrove, Mt. Tabor, and Peru in the Vermont House of Representatives. So, as this long, and sometimes arduous 2013-2014 legislative biennium comes to a close, I am pleased to announce my intention to seek reelection to the Vermont House.
As your representative, I have worked diligently in Montpelier to bring attention to your issues and concerns. From small items like helping to craft legislation enabling Mad Tom Orchard to install a larger outdoor sign to attract customers (not as large as we would have liked Tom but we sure worked it hard!), to larger items like working with my colleagues to get better services to families who face the challenges of raising children with autism. In addition, while the rollout of Vermont Health Connect was abysmal, I have worked tirelessly to help our neighbors and friends in this region and beyond to enroll for the Health Care Exchange.
As many of us are also aware, over the last few years there have been serious efforts to undermine school choice in Vermont; specifically, to impose unnecessary restriction on our local schools, like our own, very high-achieving Burr and Burton Academy. Working closely with Burr and Burton and my colleagues under the Golden Dome , we have been able to successfully thwart those efforts. I continue to be a watchdog at the state level to protect our tradition of educational independence.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene I felt an overwhelming sense of duty. In working with the Vermont State and federal governments, and members and organizations of our amazing community, I was able to help direct resources, financial and otherwise, to those in our communities who were in such need. This effort remains a highlight in my life. Our state continues to have other challenges as well, not the least of which is the fact that property taxes continue to climb at unsustainable rates for families and small businesses all across the state. I have fought throughout ten years for education funding reform and property tax relief. Unfortunately, the majority in the legislature, and the Governor have stifled those efforts.
While the funding system remains to be addressed in any meaningful way, I have been able to get my colleagues in the House to agree that any and all future mandates put on our schools by legislative action in Montpelier will not be put onto the backs of the property taxpayers, and instead, be paid for by the General Fund. I am hopeful the Senate will agree to this as well.
Finally, our state's future health care reform plan remains shrouded in mystery. I have significant concerns about the so-called "single-payer" plan the Governor and legislative majority seems intent on putting in place come 2017. First, and most importantly, there are still so many unanswered questions: 1) What will the benefits package be; 2) How much it will cost Vermont families and businesses; and 3) How exactly, it will be paid for? I believe my constituents deserve far more than blind support for this effort and I promise to continue to educate myself so I will make informed decisions on your behalf. I feel privileged to be able to serve you in Montpelier. I have done so independently - keeping an open mind, and listening, learning and working across party lines to support efforts of importance to you.
I humbly ask for your continued support and your vote in November.