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Voices / Letters from readers

Coffey: caring, outreach, and constituent service

I happily endorse Sara Coffey for Representative of Windham-1 (Guilford and Vernon).

Two years ago, I was optimistic about what she would bring to the State House in her first term, and I was not disappointed — in fact, her outreach and hard work have far exceeded my expectations.

I could describe the attributes that have made Sara such an effective legislator but I thought instead that I’d share two examples of her actions which illustrate her caring and willingness to listen and learn:

• One of the committees that Sara served on was Corrections and Institutions. Sara met with a young friend of mine recently out of prison and full of feedback on how to improve the system in Vermont. At some points, his feedback was laced with resentment and rage.

She listened compassionately and respectfully to his thoughts and feelings. She explained clearly to him some of the obstacles faced by legislators trying to improve the prison system and also shared some of the ways she thought things could and would be changed for the better.

She did not create false expectations for him, but she did let him know that she heard his concerns and would act on them. And she thanked him. He felt heard and valued.

• In March, Sara had scheduled a small meeting of supporters to begin planning for her campaign. As the reality of the pandemic reached Vermont, everything shut down and that meeting was canceled.

Sara did an immediate pivot. She enlisted the supporters who had planned to attend and instead organized them to call elderly residents of Guilford and Vernon to see who might need a helping hand during those early days of COVID-19.

There are many, many more examples of Sara’s caring, outreach, and constituent service. I thank her for her service (almost) every time I see her and you should, too. We are so lucky to have her.

Anne Rider

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Originally published in The Commons issue #583 (Wednesday, October 14, 2020). This story appeared on page B5.

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