Annual legislative breakfast series to kick off on Jan. 28

ADDISON COUNTY — The 2019 legislative breakfast series will kick off on Monday, Jan. 28, in Bridport and will feature an appearance by Gov. Phil Scott at the Middlebury American Legion Hall on March 18.
Lead sponsors of the breakfast series will again be Bridport Grange No. 303 and the Addison County Farm Bureau.
The legislative breakfasts will take place almost every Monday at several different Addison County venues during the legislative session, which begins Jan. 9. First established around four decades ago by the county’s League of Women Voters, the breakfasts provide an opportunity for area residents to gather for a morning meal followed by a 75-minute forum during which local lawmakers provide updates on goings on in the Statehouse. The gatherings also allow residents to tell their state representatives and senators how they feel about major bills before they come up for votes.
Results of the Nov. 6 elections mean several new faces will join the breakfast conversations this winter and early spring. The new legislators — all Democrats — will include Mari Cordes of Lincoln, Caleb Elder of Starksboro, Matt Birong of Vergennes and Ruth Hardy of Middlebury.
Cordes and Elder will soon be soon be sworn in as the new representatives of the Addison-4 House district, while Birong will join incumbent Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, in the Addison-3 district.
Hardy will partner with state Sen. Chris Bray, D-New Haven, in the state’s highest chamber, representing Addison County, Huntington and Buel’s Gore.
The slate of new lawmakers will replace Rep. Dave Sharpe, D-Bristol (who is retiring); Rep. Fred Baser, R-Bristol (defeated on Nov. 6); Rep. Warren Van Wyck, R-Ferrisburgh (also defeated); and Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison (retiring).
Lawmakers in 2019 will, as usual, have a lot of business to do during the four- to five-month session. Along with crafting a challenging fiscal year 2020 budget, the General Assembly’s agenda will likely include approving a revenue source for the cleanup of the state’s waterways, and considering a tax-and-regulate system for recreational marijuana.
What follows is a list of the dates and venues for the 2019 legislative breakfast series. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and the program begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 8:45 a.m. The Grange will gratefully accept donations on location to help defray the costs of renting the venues.
•  Jan. 28: Bridport Grange Hall on Route 22A.
•  Feb. 4: St. Peter Parish Hall, 85 S. Maple St., Vergennes.
•  Feb. 11: Bristol American Legion Post No. 19, at 56 Airport Drive.
•  Feb. 25: Orwell firehouse, 604 Main. St.
•  March 11: Platt Memorial Library, 279 Main St., Shoreham.
•  March 18: “Governor’s Breakfast” at Middlebury American Legion Post No. 27, at 49 Wilson Rd.
•  March 25: Salisbury Congregational Church at 853 Maple St.
•  April 1: A special luncheon at which participants will focus primarily on farm issues. This event will begin at noon and conclude at 1:45 p.m., in the Bridport Grange Hall on Route 22A.
•  April 8: Weybridge Congregational Church at 2790 Weybridge Road.
•  April 15: New Haven Congregational Church on Town Hill Road.
•  April 22: Whiting Town Hall at 29 South Main St.
•  April 29: Granville Grange Hall at 82 Post Office Hill Road.
The series will conclude with a breakfast on Monday, June 3, at the Bridport Grange Hall at which lawmakers will wrap up major accomplishments and disappointments of the 2019 session.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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