Add-Rut Candidate Alyson Eastman Q & A
HEALTH CARE: Government should negotiate with insurance providers to ensure that adequate coverage options for quality care are available at affordable prices for consumers. Consumers should be able to choose the plan that best fits their needs. Vermont Health Connect has demonstrated the need for the state to take a more incremental approach to healthcare reform – identifying opportunities for modest success, and building on that.
SCHOOLS: We need to start educating families much earlier about the options to finance higher education. Parents and students are willing to learn, but the information is very intimidating, and often comes very late in the process. I would promote our Agency of Education designing curriculum to be taught to students and parents in high school both in the classroom and online for those that cannot attend the classroom environment. Additionally, we need to do more to promote 529 savings accounts – by getting families to start saving early, they can avoid unaffordable student debt down the road. I do not support college for all, however I would support an income driven repayment plan to keep the payments more manageable, as well as support streamlining and improving higher education tax benefits.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Broadband and cell coverage is important in supporting the growth of jobs in Vermont and in retaining our youth. In the 21st century more businesses offer employees to work remotely. Working remotely is not an option without reliable broadband and cell coverage. It’s both small and large employers that need employees to have connectivity.
Connectivity allows workers to train both on and off the premises. Worker training is most effective when done “in house” with an employer. Providing an incentive to delay payment of the State Unemployment employer contribution on a probationary employee for a two-year period until on the job training is complete is a way to incentivize employers to hire those workers that do not have the experience necessary for the job. I don’t believe it would have to be “paid for” elsewhere because this is money that wasn’t being contributed if the employee was unemployed, in fact once hired it would save if the said employee was collecting unemployment.
OPIATE ADDICTION: We cannot ignore the opiate epidemic. Opiate addiction has affected those of all walks in life; more are talking about the issue and with that we see even more willingness to seek treatment. But those seeking treatment continue to wait on a list for far too long. We need to find ways to save money in our corrections system and reinvest it in treatment, so that we can treat the illness, and avoid throwing money at the symptoms.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: While I am a big supporter of renewable energy, I do believe that the Legislature needs to take further action to improve siting standards for renewable energy siting. We need to find a reasonable balance between the need to meet our renewable energy goals, while conserving prime agricultural lands and protecting our natural resources. By striking the right balance with greater local input, we can help accelerate the continued expansion of renewable energy in Vermont in a way that protects our natural resources.
AGRICULTURE: I will continue to support and encourage all aspects of farming. The beauty Vermont has with the green mountains and open lands is not to be taken for granted. The transition and new agricultural practices are evolving. As a legislator I will assist advocate for farmers as each come into compliance with the water quality standards. We need to work together to care of the beauty of our state. My attention will be on the work being done to bring waste water/sewer treatment plants and residential septic systems into compliance. All need to be held accountable, not JUST our agriculture industry.
CANDIDATE’S CHOICE: It is really important to me that my constituents always know my lines of communication are open. Please do not ever hesitate to contact me. Assisting constituents is the most rewarding part of this job!
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION: Maybe. It would be irresponsible to commit to voting yes or no on any bill without taking the time to review the details.