Add-3 Candidate Monique Thurston Q & A

HEALTH CARE: VTHC is a failure. It should be abandoned. Single Payer was declared unaffordable by Governor Shumlin.
Medicaid exists for people who can’t afford insurance. Eligibility should be based on assets as well as income.
The free market should provide health insurance competition across state lines for everyone else until Medicare age.
All Payer is similar to the new federal Medicare payment system (MACRA), but combines Medicare, Medicaid and all other forms of insurance into one budget. Because of many open questions, Governor Shumlin should leave this complex issue to the next governor and legislature.
Tort reform and patient responsibility must be part of the cost reduction equation.
SCHOOLS: The focus of education should be to develop marketable professional or lay skills, depending on the ability and disposition of the student. College is not meant for every student and trade skills development is equally important. College should have the purpose of obtaining a degree which will provide a career capable of repaying the debt incurred. Colleges should decrease costs by eliminating programs not leading toward a productive career. The use of on-line college courses providing lower cost and flexibility to individual circumstances.
The GI bill provides for college for those willing to serve our country.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Four major factors inhibiting job growth are over-regulation, excessive tax burden, lack of skilled workers, and affordability. The costs to operate a business in Vermont compared to other more business friendly states hurt competitiveness and ultimately hurt employees. While many Vermont businesses compete in the global economy, Vermont ranks 47th for business climate according to the 2017 State Business Climate Index from the Tax Foundation.
State spending tied to revenue growth would provide stability and help attract new business. Existing businesses will take the risks necessary to grow without the burden of undue government interference. Entrepreneurs complain that the permitting process is too onerous, lengthy and requires the hiring of expensive lawyers and consultants.
Employers need motivated entry level employees with a strong work ethic and good basic skills developed in grades 1-12, who can then be trained for the particular job.
OPIATE ADDICTION: Improved guidelines for pain killer prescriptions and tough sentencing of professional drug dealers will decrease availability and usage of drugs. Addicts need to be able to access treatment when they are ready to face their addiction. Long term free methadone treatment should be limited so that recovery becomes the goal. To the extent that addiction is partly a result of anxiety, depression and loss of self-esteem often related to joblessness, a healthy economy will help to alleviate those conditions.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Towns should have the final say on land use regulations including the location, set backs, limits to size and height, and the ability to use conditional use criteria including character of the area affected for renewable energy projects over a certain size. This would satisfy the demands of the 155 towns that signed the Rutland Resolution in January 2016 calling for developers to comply with “appropriately developed-municipal siting standards”. Act 174 does not go far enough in that direction because the PSB retains final authority. The energy planning work required of local volunteer planning board members is enormous and expensive.
AGRICULTURE: Dairy farmers’ cost of production is often greater than the milk price paid so farmers should not bear a disproportionate burden for causing pollution. Recognize what farmers have done to decrease water pollution including vegetated buffers, cover crops, injection spreading of manure, subsurface tiling, no till soil management, and bio-digesters. Give equal attention to the pollution created by the overflow of untreated sewage from municipalities. Establish better communication between farmers and the Legislature, a chronic problem explained to candidates at a recent ACORN forum.
Do not impose a carbon tax, or more fees.
CANDIDATE’S CHOICE: After meeting with hundreds of residents of Addison 3, I have seen a troubled Vermont hidden beneath the surface, where many people have given up on their government. In speaking to business owners and citizens, I sense a pervasive malaise across generational and socio-economic groups. The fiscal burden has become too heavy, the regulations too burdensome for entrepreneurs, opportunities for young adults are shrinking. I hear from many working folks and retirees about their desire to move away. The ship of state is listing to port. I am running with the desire to help to “right the ship”.

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