There is no greater threat to our communities and future generations then climate change. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that we must massively decrease the carbon in our atmosphere in under 11 years, or the consequences and toll on our economy, our environment, and human life will be devastating and irreversible.
I support a Green New Deal that achieves carbon reduction while also addressing economic, social, and racial disparities through community-based solutions and working across state lines with others in our region to achieve the best possible outcomes.
As your representative, some highlights of how I will address the climate emergency:
• Be a leader in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to 100% clean, renewable, and zero-emission sources.
• Prioritize infrastructure and programs that protect and address the harm already caused to BIPOC, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities that are the most vulnerable to the impacts of this climate emergency.
• Honor our agricultural heritage and work with farmers to be part of the solution. Make sure we support and assist them in transitioning to sustainable and restorative practices to ensure their viability with minimal burden.
• Reduce our carbon emissions by re-imagining our transportation system. I will explore ways to improve our public transportation options and increase access to and affordability of electric vehicles for all Vermonters.
• Make sure that affordability for weatherization and other carbon reduction methods for individuals are accessible and affordable to all Vermonters regardless of their income.
Income inequality has grown for decades across our state and our nation, and it will only be amplified in the wake of COVID-19. There is lots of talk about how we return to our normal, pre-covid state, but I believe Vermont can do better. Instead of a return to normal, where so many Vermonters were already struggling and suffering, we need to rebuild our systems and create a just, green economy for all Vermonters.
As your representative, some of my plans for rebuilding our economy include:
• Raising the minimum wage to a livable wage with programs and tax incentives to protect Vermont's thriving small business community. Low wage workers and small business owners are pitted against each other over this issue each year. I will bring both communities together to find creative solutions that work for everyone and protect our downtowns and Main Streets.
• Creating new jobs and promoting economic development in our response to the climate emergency. Fossil fuels direct $0.75 on the dollar outside of our state. Investing in electric vehicles, public transportation, weatherization, building energy efficient affordable housing, and increasing renewable energy sources not only creates thousands of good paying jobs, it also keeps more of that money in our state, boosting our economy.
• Expanding broadband throughout our state to close the opportunity gap for rural Vermonters.
• Investing in safe, affordable, energy-efficient housing for all Vermonters. Housing that meets their individual needs and fully funding supports needed to ensure highly vulnerable people can remain permanently housed. This will create green jobs, attract new people to our state, and keep young families from relocating out of state.
• Working to implement a progressive tax system where the wealthiest Vermonters and corporations pay their fair share, so that we can relieve the burden felt by our low and middle income workers and our state's small businesses.
• Advocating for worker protections, their right to organize, and ensuring Vermont's long history of strong unions continues.
• Eliminating the gender and racial wage gap.
• Implementing universal healthcare, with universal primary care being an easily attainable first step.
Vermont's population is aging, and our young adults and families are struggling to make ends meet. Too many are moving out of state in search of a brighter future. The response to these changing demographics has been to try and lure people to relocate to Vermont, but to truly address the problem, first we need to examine why people are leaving. If we do not create policy that responds to these issues, our efforts to have people relocate to Vermont will be futile.
We must build strong sustainable communities and systems that ensure all Vermonters can thrive. This is how we will retain our youth and our young families, and this is how we will get people to relocate permanently to Vermont.
As your representative, I believe we can build healthy thriving communities by:
• Enacting a robust universal paid family and medical leave insurance program accessible to all workers.
• Creating structural change in response to the systemic oppression that it exists in our state and the harm it has caused our most vulnerable and marginalized communities for generations.
• Changing our education funding structure, fully funding pre-k, our public schools, and state college system, and increasing opportunities for technical education.
• Increasing access to high quality, affordable child care.
• Supporting our seniors and making sure they have access to affordable long term care options.
• Working with people with disabilities on all new policy to ensure we are considering their needs and increasing accessibility across our state in ways that are useful.
• Strengthening and expanding our social support system and guaranteeing immediate access to mental health and substance use treatment when needed regardless of one's income.