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Meet your candidate: Calvin McEathron, Addison-1

HEALTH CARE: When it comes to healthcare, we should all be fighting for the same objective: providing quality care to everyone at an affordable price. Yet a look at the Vermont Health Connect website indicates a need for immediate change. Additionally, many of us are struggling to afford the combination of rising healthcare costs and a growing property tax burden. This is why I continue to urge Gov. Shumlin to release the financing plan for single-payer so we can take the next step in determining the viability of this program. It’s time to get to work on healthcare reform, but first we need the details.
SCHOOL FUNDING: There are families across Vermont who are struggling with the impossible decision of leaving our state or finding the money to afford their property taxes. I’ve knocked on over 1,500 doors and it’s become abundantly clear that we need systemic change. Our schools form the basis of our communities around Vermont and students benefit from the small class size and collaborative environment. Yet, we are grappling with a lethal combination of shrinking enrollments and rising costs. We must streamline administrative costs, as we have the most administrators-per-student in the country, while increasing resource sharing — such as language teachers. True reform, however, must come from the bottom up.
TRANSPARENCY: I believe transparency is the basis for an effective democracy and in order to serve Vermonters to the best of my ability, maintaining constant contact is essential. For this reason, I will be holding weekly “roundtables” at different spots around Middlebury, where anyone can swing by to talk legislative issues, sports or the weather forecast. Additionally, I will send out bi-monthly updates through my website, CalvinforMiddlebury.com, to give Vermonters access to exactly what is going on. I hope to be your voice in Montpelier and a consistent and open dialogue is the best way to ensure this.
OPIATE ADDICTION: As we saw following Irene, Vermont communities are resilient. We’re facing a wave of opiate addiction and although we have responded rapidly, lasting change will be a prolonged battle. Following the passage of the Risk Assessment law in June, many offenders will be offered a chance at rehabilitation as opposed to jail time. This law will not only cut relapse rates for addicts, but also provide tremendous cost savings ($1,097, per patient, per week). As your legislator, I would push for a portion of these cost savings to be used for the creation of more treatment beds to eliminate wait times.
HIGHER EDUCATION: Many of our Vermont State College students are paying for an education that leaves them strapped with a daunting financial burden. For example, UVM is the sixth most expensive public school in the nation.
In an effort to alleviate the cost of Vermont State Colleges, while creating more applicable instruction for our evolving economy, I believe that we should implement a Co-op program. The program would match students with Vermont employers and entrepreneurs to provide training in a specialized area, according to their major. Students would be given a semester’s worth of credit, through a particular department, saving them 17 percent off their total tuition bill. Additionally, this would provide Vermont businesses the opportunity to gauge potential employees, working to drive down student cost while keeping our workforce here in Vermont.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Legislative policy plays a vital role in economic development, as almost every bill has the potential to influence the growth prospects of a particular region. Aspects such as permitting, quality of life, affordability and strength of our public education system all contribute to the type of economic climate that we choose to foster. Most important, however, are the programs that directly address the Vermont business community and these are vitally important to the long-term health of our state. As your legislator, I would work to protect and promote our existing enterprises, while working to bring small businesses back to the state. I would fight to get entrepreneurs the capital necessary to start and expand here in Vermont, by pushing for a renovation of the Licensed Lender Law. Additionally, I would work to increase seed capital for startups and expand the Vermont Working Lands Initiative, which provides grants to our invaluable agricultural industry.
CANDIDATE’S CHOICE: I grew up baling hay and fixing fences on a small Vermont farm. The pay wasn’t great and the days were long, but those are some of my favorite memories.
Whether it’s hiking on the Long Trail, swimming in Lake Champlain or chain sawing on my grandparents’ sheep farm, we all have our favorite parts of Vermont. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful state and it’s our greatest asset. We need to protect our landscape and as a legislator, I pledge to do so. 

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