Add-3 Candidate Fritz Langrock Q & A
HEALTH CARE: Every Vermonter should have good affordable health care. Care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not insurance companies. Vermont Health Connect was an admirable but flawed attempt to get there. The issues were practical and technological. Before we consider abandoning it, the current proposal of an all-payer system should be pursued. It moves the incentives away from paying for procedures to paying for care. The director of the Vermont Medical Society, which represents the interest of doctors, believes it is a “sincere effort to move in a good direction.”
SCHOOLS: Any Vermonter who wants to should be able to go to college. We need to work with UVM and our state college system to make higher education affordable. Dual enrollment in high school and college helps. For those who do incur burdening debt, we should explore opportunities in public service in return for debt forgiveness. Not everyone, however, wants or needs to go to a four-year school. I support Sue Minter’s proposal to make CCV and VTC tuition free. Additionally, we need to support real world education at the high school level, like the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Vermont is a great place to live and work. There are challenges to making a living here, but we have great opportunities to promote job growth in agriculture, finance and insurance, service, technology, and our growing green industry. I disagree with those who disparage Vermont as a bad place for business, who feel we need to deeply cut or eliminate taxes on business to promote growth. We can creatively use responsible incentives and grants to promote businesses that will provide good paying jobs and contribute to our economy. We also need to invest in the vitality of our towns and cities. The business partnerships in Vergennes and Middlebury are models for energizing our communities. To attract new businesses, we need to continue to promote Vermont’s beauty and outdoor way of life.
OPIATE ADDICTION: Opiate addiction is not a crime. Addicts are in need of help, not punishment. The only real way to combat the problem is to go after the dealer and distribution chain, not the user. Vermont should promote and fund the approach of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) spearheaded by the Gloucester, Mass., police department. No arrests for users or addicts, and a bed for anyone who wants one. Over time the cost of education and treatment will be much less than the cost of incarceration. It will reduce crime, and it is the right thing to do.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Renewable energy, including solar, wind, and hydro, needs to be responsibly promoted. We also need to improve the grid that delivers electricity. And we have to recognize that the beauty of Vermont is in itself a vital resource. Renewable energy siting requires a balancing of local, state, and business interests. It works best when energy companies work with communities and homeowners. The pilot project that Green Mountain Power and Panton are running to provide both energy and efficiency is a big step in the right direction.
AGRICULTURE: Farmers want to reduce the impact of their farming on the health of our waterways, including Lake Champlain. They also want a level playing field. Vermont has to clean up the lake. Vermont also has to take care of farmers. To do so, Vermont will have to address all sources of pollution: agricultural, municipal, and residential. Rather than look at this as an attack on farming, I think we can approach this as a way to improve our municipal infrastructure, the quality of our water, and the quality of our farming practices. Vermont needs both working farms and clean waterways.
CANDIDATE’S CHOICE: As a lawyer, I am proud to have helped many Addison County residents navigate Vermont’s court system. But many people who could benefit from the court system, and some who truly need it, cannot afford a lawyer. These people are left with giving up their rights or trying to deal with a complicated legal system on their own. It is vital to our economy and to our residents that the Vermont courts provide meaningful access to justice for everyone, not just those who can afford it. This requires a fully supported judiciary at all levels.
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION: Yes, but that does not mean I will vote yes on any bill.