Meet your candidate: Betty Nuovo, Addison-1
HEALTH CARE: I believe that the state should enact a single payer health care system, providing universal health care for all. The legislature’s task is to provide a means of funding this through state revenues. I expect something in the form of a payroll tax would be the primary source, but other sources may be considered. This is the way Medicare is funded. This will be a priority task for the upcoming legislature.
SCHOOL FUNDING: The legislature needs to remind itself that the purpose of Act 60 was to provide equal funding across the state, with all towns paying their fair share. This has become eroded. We need to return to our original purpose. We also need to consider more efficient ways to organize school districts. But this requires beginning at the ground level and working up from local communities and school districts. We have to begin with a conversation involving all of these groups. We also need to find ways to fund education that depends less on property taxes.
TRANSPARENCY: Over the last 5 years, the legislature has worked to enact laws that provide for more transparency in government, such as open meetings and access to public records at all levels of government. This is a work in progress, which I support. What we require is more testimony from individuals and groups who have sought unsuccessfully to gain access to government information, and with their help, we can craft new laws to achieve full transparency in government. We should also seek testimony from local government officials to develop laws that can be efficiently administered.
OPIATE ADDICTION: Drug addiction is an illness, not a crime. Secretary of Health and Human Services Harry Chen, a doctor, recognizes this. His focus is to address the causes of addiction and finding effective ways of treatment. I support this effort. Methadone clinics have proved effective. We now need an effective drug education program for young people on the problems of drug use that tells the truth about drugs, health hazards, mental problems, the consequences of addiction, and the damage to families and communities. Police efforts to crack down on drug dealers are also essential.
HIGHER EDUCATION: We need an efficient and richly diverse educational system to guarantee that our children will grow into adulthood with the necessary skills to compete in the job market. Key components of this are our state colleges and community colleges. The goal should be to provide access to higher education to everyone in the state. I would like to see more support for Community Colleges as the best means of providing higher education that is local and affordable. I support the goal of Act 148 to make UVM and the state colleges more affordable to Vermonters. VSAC will require more funding for incentive grants. Regular conversations between schools and businesses are needed to develop programs that provide graduates with high level skills for business and industry.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: One very important role is to help to create an effective work force. A good public education system in High Schools and State Colleges that educates our youth and prepares them for trades and professions and for life, so that they have the requisite knowledge and skills is required. Support is needed for the department of commerce and other town and county agencies in their effort to attract suitable new industry to our state. We need to coordinate their efforts. Support is needed for local businesses through these agencies, helping them to market their goods, to better finance their operations, and to find well trained employees. Finally, there should be increased measures taken both state wide and locally to facilitate start-ups and to sustain and grow our agricultural economy and renewable energy ventures. I have and will continue to support legislation in all these areas.
CANDIDATE’S CHOICE: My topic is preserving Vermont. This involves a range of problems, economic, environmental, and educational. Vermont is a way of life that arises from a respect for the land, for its beauty, for our traditions of open government, community involvement, town meetings, family farms, small businesses that operate with a commitment to social responsibility, and for a sustainable economy, clean water and clean air, promoting energy efficiency and developing renewable energy sources. So there needs to be a coordinated and concerted effort to achieve this end.
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