Harnessing the wisdom of lived experience
The legislature must be a place where we spend as much time asking questions as we do asserting opinions. Each of us brings a different skill set to the table – I am committed to nurturing solutions that are already at play in our communities and engaging underrepresented voices to ensure that legislation reflects the realities of all Vermonters.
Over a third of Vermonters who work full-time cannot meet their basic needs, including many of the workers who have been deemed essential during the pandemic. We must make a college degree affordable and coordinate state workforce training efforts so that employers can hire and promote local talent – prioritizing efforts to support people of color and women in accessing high-wage, high-growth jobs. We must make it easier for parents to work by increasing the availability and affordability of child care. We must increase our housing stock – both affordable and market rate – to drive down prices in areas with housing shortages. And we must again fight to advance single-payer health care.
Close Racial Disparities through Anti-Racist Policies
Racism is systemic and Vermont is late in acknowledging its presence and its costs. We must collect and publish data to better understand the particular experiences of people of color in Vermont. We must immediately increase the capacity of the office of the VT Director of Racial Equity and eliminate remaining references to slavery in the Vermont Constitution. We must standardize and strengthen accountability in investigations concerning police violence. The legislature must pass H-478, creating a task force to develop reparation proposals for African Americans. And Vermont must acknowledge its role in promoting eugenics by establishing a reparations commission to determine how to compensate the descendants of those affected by the eugenics project at UVM.
Live up to our Environmental Vision
In 2006, Vermont developed an ambitious plan to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 and 75% by 2050. Increasing the network of electric vehicle charging facilities, moving the state fleet to electric or hybrid vehicles, and prioritizing efficiency improvements in older housing stock would help achieve these goals. We must also work closely with advocates, policymakers and scientists to improve and protect the quality of the water and ecosystems in Vermont’s streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. Finally, our economic growth must be grounded in a commitment to a sustainable future by accelerating investments in green jobs to meet state energy goals.
Reimagine Criminal Justice & Public Safety
We’re long overdue for significant changes in public safety and criminal justice. What might that look like? Address mental health emergencies with mental health expertise, not police. Establish a statewide protocol for investigating fatal or near-fatal police violence to ensure accountability and reduce discrimination. Lowering incarceration rates by eliminating pre-trial custody for all nonviolent offenders. Developing more community-based housing and services to support offenders when released and reduce rates of recidivism. And, bringing home Vermonters who are incarcerated out of state.
Improve Broadband, Data Collection, and State IT Systems.
We all rely on technology to collect data, enable us to work, and provide jobs. COVID-19 has made several things clear: access to broadband and cell services is both critical and an issue of equity; state data collection must include information about the experiences of people of color, people living with disabilities, the LGBTQIA+ community, and women; and state IT systems must be built to enable state agencies to deliver services quickly and effectively.