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Lawmakers group to hold hearing at Statehouse for public feedback, new ideas on local economy

The Vermont House Rural Development Caucus will hold a public hearing at the Statehouse, from 5-7 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 7, to hear from municipal, business, education, and nonprofit interests in rural Vermont about what issues are the most pressing.

The Rural Development Caucus, also known as the Rural Economic Development Working Group, is a nonpartisan group of Vermont lawmakers that seeks to ensure that the needs of rural Vermont are considered when public policy is contemplated, debated, or enacted.

“Rural Vermont faces different pressures and economic challenges than the more urbanized areas of the state,” said state Rep. Chip Conquest, D-Newbury, the co-chair of the Caucus, in a news release. “We are looking for viable ideas to strengthen the economies and raise the standard of living in our rural communities.”

“As legislators we have an opportunity to shape policies that stabilize and grow the economies in more remote areas of the state,” said state Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-Dover, and Caucus co-chair. “While we have our own experience and ideas, we know there is knowledge and insight along the back roads that will help us improve legislation and enact better policies.”

The hearing is being organized with support from Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the Vermont Council on Rural Development.

Vermonters are invited to testify in person or through submitted testimony as to the most significant factors affecting Vermont’s rural economy. Those unable to attend, but who want to submit testimony, can send it via email to caucus member Rep. Charlie Kimbell at

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Originally published in The Commons issue #432 (Wednesday, November 1, 2017). This story appeared on page C2.

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