Meet your candidate: Diane Lanpher, Addison-3
HEALTH CARE: Affordable, quality health care was the top issue for citizens and businesses when I first knocked on doors 8 years ago. It is now an economic necessity for businesses and families. I have supported the series of steps to date needed to achieve reform. The failure of Vermont Health Connect, the web site for the federal Affordable Care Act Exchange, threatens to undermine Vermonters’ support for moving forward. Vermonters want us to work toward coverage for all. It is important to have the security of knowing as a resident you have permanent, reliable, predictable health care coverage.
SCHOOL FUNDING: A funding system made up of local spending decisions and a statewide tax means each local vote has statewide impact. This has worked for Vermont but today; constituents are demanding change and relief. Your Legislature worked to find a new governance structure in 2014, however the session closed before a final agreement could be passed. I welcome the partnership of local boards and school administrators as we together continue in 2015 to build an improved structure. The time has come for accomplishing true reform, but only if we are willing to focus on our children and not our fears.
TRANSPARENCY: Vermont has improved its 2010 “F” rating for spending transparency and is currently a national leader according to a new report. We are now one of only eight states to receive an “A” rating. Much effort has gone into developing better ways for the public to access data. spotlight.vermont.gov.
Each committee has its own webpage on the state site www.leg.state.vt.us, this was added in 2014. These technological upgrades assured legislators and the public are able to search for documents and bills in a way that is very close to real time. Explore your state government at the above sites.
OPIATE ADDICTION: On average, one Vermonter dies each week from opiate addiction. Treatment is effective, but needs to be available when a person seeks it. Efforts have reduced wait times, but hundreds go untreated. I support the hub-and-spoke model and five regional methadone providers. I support examining a payment loophole that prevents patients on Medicaid from getting timely treatment. I support investing in training for our family practitioners and hospitals because addiction is a public health issue and needs to be treated as such. Every week, our Drug Task Force estimates more than $2 million of heroin is being trafficked into Vermont.
HIGHER EDUCATION: 47 percent was the announced rate of seniors at VUHS graduation going on to higher education during a ceremony a few years back. The low rate impacted me. Our high school graduation rate is admirable, however we must address the barriers to higher education or our children will lose the foundations necessary to advance in today’s workplace. Some of the recent legislative accomplishments were designed to address barriers and cost:
• Vermont Strong Scholars program to pay for up to one year of college.
• Flexible pathways to foster connections between school and careers.
• Expanded nutritious lunches to ensure students are ready to learn.
• Dual Enrollment, allows a full year of college during high school senior year.
School districts are scheduled to lose state funding for the dual enrollment program. I support the development of a way to hold districts financially harmless. Cost concerns have caused schools to limit this important bridge to higher education.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Government (we the people) has an important role in assuring the state’s economic engine is humming and our citizens are able to access needed support and capital to seed business start-ups or growth. The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) was established in 1974 and VEDA’s mission is “to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.”
I serve on the board of the SIB (State Infrastructure Bank) and have taken steps to assure interest rates were reduced and have helped businesses and municipalities take advantage of SIB opportunities. The SIB is co-operated by VEDA and the Agency of Transportation. I have been working with the VT Treasurer’s Local Investment Advisory Committee, which has now been authorized in 2014 law to address mechanisms to increase local investment. Very innovating and exciting.
CANDIDATE’S CHOICE: I am committed to the people living in Addison-3. I am also committed to Vermont and bring a positive position that balances the desires of the people with responsible financial choices. The citizens of Addison-3 hired me in 2008, and I have shown up ready, willing to engage and listen on their behalf. As a community together we will construct our future and it will be as bright as we build it.
I build bridges not walls. I create circles that are inclusive, not lines that divide.
I am honored to be your Representative and ask for your continued support and vote. Thank you.
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