Opinion: Helping families, communities thrive

This month, Vermonters from all corners of the state returned to the Statehouse for the 2020 legislative session. The Speaker kicked off the first day with her vision to create an economy that works for everyone, not just a select few. Vermont faces its share of challenges and opportunities. We have a plan of action to give all Vermonters a fair shot and ensure a strong Vermont future. 
During the 2019 Session, House Democrats led initiatives to move all 14 counties forward. We invested in childcare to strengthen our system and make it more affordable for working families. We worked to extend broadband service to the farthest corners of all 14 counties by developing the boldest, most innovative connectivity law in state history. We created a long-term funding source to invest in clean water infrastructure that incorporates climate change resilience. We took action to protect reproductive rights, which are under attack across the country. 
This year we will continue our work to build a strong Vermont economy. We will make paid family leave part of every job and raise the minimum wage to improve the lives of Vermont’s working families, put more money into Vermont’s small businesses, and help our communities thrive. We will ensure older Vermonters have a fair shot in the new economy that will emerge as our region experiences changing demographics. We will evaluate and ensure the strategies we’ve put into place to make health care more affordable and equitable are making a difference. 
In 2020, we will reestablish Vermont as a leader in combating climate change. Vermont’s pro-environment tradition has never been partisan. We pride ourselves on living in one of the cleanest, most environmentally pristine states in our country. Our environment, and the jobs it creates, is under threat from climate change and harmful pollution. Cleaning up our waterways, weaning our economy off of fossil fuels, and generating more of Vermont’s energy locally not only addresses climate change, they strengthen our economic future. That’s why we’ll pass a package of climate change bills to ensure Vermont meets its climate change goals and reduces its carbon footprint. 
We live in challenging times, where many question the direction of our nation and its leaders. I believe Vermont stands apart, playing an important role to lead issues in a time of Washington’s paralysis. We partner at the local level and do our very best to find solutions to pressing problems. This year, House Democrats welcome the chance to work with our colleagues, and Vermonters from across the political spectrum, to move our state forward and build a Vermont that works for all of us, not just the select few. 
Rep. Jill Krowinski is the Vermont House Majority Leader. 

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