Opinion: Smith has shown leadership needed to be governor

I’ve been a friend and legislative colleague of Shap Smith for over 13 years and based on that experience, wholeheartedly support him for governor of Vermont I’d like you to know why.
I know Shap to be an honest, direct, and capable leader. His knowledge of issues that face Vermonters is deep and based on close ties to his extended community. His daily engagement with individuals, advocates, nonprofit organizations, medical professionals and educators informs his understanding of our issues in a way that only “on the ground” experience can.
With this deep understanding and engagement, he has been able to inspire action in his colleagues. While all of us in the Legislature should be looking at the best interests of Vermonters, we often don’t agree on what that is. It takes extraordinary skill, diplomacy and energy to move a disparate group of individuals with different agendas in a direction that results in positive action. Shap has done that.
As chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, I have been especially aware of his work on issues that are important to me. I worked with Shap to provide patients with control over their end-of-life care, empower childcare and home health workers to bargain collectively, and expand access to pre-kindergarten for Vermont’s children. Most importantly, we’ve worked to get Vermont on a path to ensure that every Vermonter has access to timely and appropriate healthcare. Shap was there, every step of the way, pushing a successful agenda rooted in progressive values. Like us, he cares deeply about the future of Vermont.
Of the candidates in the race, I know Shap will make the best governor. We have complex challenges ahead of us, and many opportunities. Shap is the steady, capable and inspiring leader who will hit the ground running in the governor’s office.
Shap Smith is the right person at the right time. He’ll be a great leader for Vermont.
Sen. Claire Ayer

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