Laura Sibilia

For moderate House member, support of Balint for Congress is about character, not ideology

As an independent member of the Vermont House of Representatives, I have worked closely with three of the candidates for Congress. Today, I am endorsing Becca Balint.

When I've shared this news, some have responded with surprise. They know me to be a moderate and Becca to be openly progressive.

My support for Becca is not about ideology - it's about character and whom I trust to put Vermonters first.

I met Becca almost 10 years ago when we were both working to help southern Vermonters grapple with the realities of shifting demographics, significant job losses, and the effects of climate change. She engrossed herself in listening carefully and intently to the challenges our neighbors and regional leaders described and engaged us all in probing questions as we contemplated a future that looked very different from our past.

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Climate bill offers transformative action and smokescreens from opponents

‘Delay in implementing climate solutions — whether they are strategies to reduce carbon emissions or to enhance resiliency and preparedness — is costly. There are economic consequences for inaction.’

This past February, the Vermont House of Representatives passed the Global Warming Solutions Act with tripartisan support, 105–37. In June, the Senate passed it, also with tripartisan support, 23–5. The vote margin and nonpartisan nature of the vote might have surprised some, but what it revealed about the Vermont...

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Gray: Preserve state’s rural culture by advancing its future

I have served in the House of Representatives since 2015 as an elected independent for rural communities here in southern Vermont. While our state is full of innovators and cutting-edge businesses, it is the scenic farms and villages, rural startups and arts culture, trails and smallness of places like...

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How will rural Vermont face the challenges ahead?

Over the next few years, Vermonters, Vermont businesses, and Vermont's public institutions will face significant challenges at the state and national levels from the long-term effects of the global pandemic. I hope my regular online updates have been helping alleviate some of the unknowns for families and businesses. Through regular online meetings and contact I have been working to keep the district's concerns closely connected to our government. We will need hard-working, ethical leaders across our geographic and political spectrum...

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Legislature must do the simple and right thing

Vermont's existing education funding formula, Act 60, also known as the Equal Educational Opportunity Act, was signed into law in June of 1997. The Legislature drafted the law in response to a Vermont Supreme Court decision that said the state's existing educational funding system was unconstitutional. The court, in Brigham v. State of Vermont, concluded that the state must provide “substantially equal access” to education for all Vermont students, regardless of where they reside. In 2018, the Vermont House and...

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A new strategy for rural broadband

The House Energy and Technology Committee deals with matters relating to energy (including the regulation of power generation, transmission facilities, energy efficiency, natural gas facilities, and siting of energy facilities), utilities (including rates and quality of service), telecommunications (including siting of telecommunications facilities, the buildout of cellular and broadband services, and rates and quality of service), and the state's information technology systems. Tim Briglin of Thetford was named chair of the committee, and I am serving as vice chair. We...

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For rural internet access, a Venn diagram of doom

By the 1930s, “nearly 90 percent of U.S. urban dwellers had electricity, but 90 percent of rural homes were without power,” according to University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives Research on the Economic Impact of Cooperatives. “Investor-owned utilities often denied service to rural areas, citing high development costs and low profit margins. Consequently, even when they could purchase electricity, rural consumers paid far higher prices than urban consumers.” Vermont has state-of-the-art communication technologies. We have cell service throughout much of...

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Choices to make

At the end of this year's regular legislative session, both education finance/tax and state budget bills passed by large tripartisan majorities. Governor Rick Scott vetoed both, citing the property-tax increases that the bills allow to go into place. I voted for both because I believe they struck a good balance for where we are in time with our distributed education system. The governor vetoed both bills because of the property-tax increase they would allow this year. In addition, and importantly,

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