Opinion: New Haven resident reconsiders, will run for Vt. House
In recent weeks I have been asked to run for state Legislature, and after initially rejecting the idea, I have reconsidered. Our citizen Legislature needs balanced, thoughtful and open-minded members, and I believe that I can be a voice in this direction.
Our issues are complex, and require nuanced and thoughtful policy. We need to switch to renewable power — but in a thoughtful way. We probably need to legalize marijuana — but in a thoughtful way. Agriculture, the bedrock of our very being, will eventually need to shift in ways that will help to sequester carbon, protect our soils and water quality, and rely less on destructive chemicals, and as this happens our farmers will need careful and thoughtful government support. We need family leave to support working families, and we need a higher minimum wage, both to encourage work and to help our most vulnerable citizens.
We have a strong, vibrant and adaptable state, and despite difficulties we are holding our own in a world where global economic forces are working against rural areas like ours. But the future is bright — with leadership we can put systems in place that will create a fairer and more equitable economy, support our small businesses as they navigate ever-changing markets, lessen the impact of money in politics, and continue to make Vermont a shining star.
In the past Vermont has always led the way. We banned slavery even before we were a state, and we passed a remarkable billboard law, the first in the nation of its type, in the early days of the environmental movement. We followed this with Act 250, and then multiple firsts in the area of marriage equality.
Most recently, we have made our values clear with a call for GMO labeling. We are, and always have been, a state of determined, scrappy and independent thinkers. We need to capitalize on this progressive past, and continue to lead, as we lower barriers to higher education, forge new paths in the fight against global warming, and provide fair working conditions for all of our people.
We are a state that is renowned for its natural beauty, but we must realize that we are equally known for our values. These values are a large part of what brings people here, both as visitors and as innovative companies who want to be part of who we are. Protections for working people will only improve this, by drawing workers into our state and by helping to retain young people.
All of these changes will grow our tax base, which will then enable us to do all of the other things that we care about — improve primary and secondary education, invest in infrastructure, improve access to health care, fight the scourge of opiate abuse, and protect the disadvantaged.
I am running for office to do my part in making all of this happen. The world is a changing place — economies shift, markets change and global forces impact us. But change can bring opportunity as easily as adversity, and Vermont is in a truly unique position to be able to capitalize on this, and to emerge stronger than ever.
I bring a broad set of qualifications and life experience to this job. I am a former Marine Corps officer and a combat veteran, and I have a master’s degree in history and the humanities. I serve on the board of directors for the Acorn Renewable Energy Co-op, and I teach — and am a student of — economics.
I am running for state representative for Addison-5, which comprises the towns of New Haven, Weybridge and Bridport. I humbly ask for your support in this endeavor of running for office. Our state, and our world, are coming into a critical time, and we will need all hands on deck.
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