"We're hosting these forums primarily to listen to southern Vermonters who want to share their point of view, the challenges they face and their aspirations for the future of our state," Lisman said. "We also want to learn from the panel of local social service providers, employers and other experts."
Panel members will include Joseph Krawczyk, Jr., Chair of the Bennington Selectboard; Paul Carroccio, engineer and owner of TPW Management in Bondville; and Maryann St. John, Bennington County Supervisor for Community Services with BROC - Community Action in Southwestern Vermont.
The forums will highlight the effectiveness of current policy, as well as the need to support local organizations working to meet the increasing needs of the most vulnerable, Lisman said.
"My ultimate goal for these forums is to lead a discussion about advancing non-partisan policies that will help us fight poverty and build an economy where no one is left behind and everyone can prosper," Lisman added. "We think it's important to engage as many Vermonters as possible in this discussion because achieving real results will require real reform."
The free 90-minute forum will include short presentations by panelists describing their work, the challenges they face and suggestions for moving forward, followed by open public discussion. Refreshments will be provided.
"This inclusive statewide dialogue is another step toward building a larger, more diverse and independent grassroots coalition to advance much-needed, non-partisan reforms to build an economy where poverty steadily declines, wages steadily rise, and everyone has the opportunity to prosper," Lisman said.