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Legislative Review: Cordes energized for next year

“The two parties which divide the State, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made … Now one, now the other gets the day, and still the fight renews itself as if for the first time, under new names and hot personalities … Innovation is the salient energy; Conservatism the pause on the last movement.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Roll calls, division votes, debates, protests, freshperson organizing, vote explanations, hallway persuasion, advocacy, strident, powerful and at times antagonistic public hearings, puppy therapy, tension, gratitude, laughter, tears….a few words to describe the 2019 session, perhaps emblematic of our contemporary conditions of wealth and income inequity, ever increasing health care costs, the climate crisis, and racial and gender justice issues, but also of our common humanity.
While Emerson endorsed evolution over revolution, natural forces bearing down upon us beg that we act in peaceful revolution and move sound policy as quickly as possible (particularly climate). And yet, the much anticipated veto-proof majority was not to be, and many of us learned a valuable lesson in expectation management as well as building authentic relationships with constituents, and colleagues from the three parties and many Independents doing their best to represent their communities and the beliefs that they campaigned on. And — you could say that the “big tent” Democratic Party itself has at least two “parties” within it.
While I share your heartbreak about work left on the table, I am very proud of the large amount of good work we did accomplish. Organizing and policy making take time. I’m moving forward, still inspired by this quote from the mother of a boy that raised $13,000 from his lemonade stand for families separated at the border: “Action breeds hope. Without action, my heartbreak is meaningless.”
I am energized to continue doing transformative work with you and my district mate Caleb Elder. Indeed, I will be joining in coalitions this summer to press forward to address the climate crisis, the significant need for increased mental health services in our communities, removal of barriers to accessing medical care, and getting family leave and minimum wage across the finish line.
Constituents may email me at [email protected].
Rep. Mark Cordes, RN, is co-vice chair of the Legislature’s Climate Solutions Caucus, and a member of the Women’s Caucus, Ethnic and Social Equity Caucus and Worker’s Caucus. She represents Lincoln, Bristol, Monkton and Starksboro in the Vermont House. To see her full end-of-session report head online to bit.ly/2WI0UXd.

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