Bowman: Building a healthy future for the county

PUTNEY — I have enjoyed many great opportunities in my career, but nothing has touched my heart more than the opportunity I have had this year, working as a navigator for Vermont Health Connect. It has involved listening to the struggles and the fears of folks from every corner of Windham County.

They often needed help because Vermont Health Insurance Plans (VHAP) and Catamount Health were no longer available; others desperately wanted affordable health insurance. I have met with more than 1,000 people: workers and employers, the homeless, the unemployed, and the self-employed. As I came to understand their needs, the job felt empowering, every day.

In spite of the horror stories about Vermont Health Connect, I was able to help everyone, and I found the assistance I needed when talking to the customer service providers. I have been encouraged by being able to help these people and by their faith in me. Many of them pushed me to run for the State Senate. They empowered me to think that I can make a difference on a broader scale.

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There are so many issues to be tackled in the next biennium, but none will be as contentious and difficult to pass as a new universal health care system. It must be fairly and properly financed.

I think I have the best skills of any candidate to work through and negotiate the complex financing, having spent over 32 years turning failing businesses into success stories. I also think I am the most committed to passing this important legislation.

I decided to enter the Democratic primary because I know that we need a senator who has the courage and the perseverance to work through every obstacle and frustration. I want to bring home the resources Windham County deserves, and earn us more respect from Montpelier, too. I think every day about how this can create a healthier future.

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In this primary, we candidates have talked about resilience, sustainability, and jobs. I see all of these issues converging: I deeply want to build a healthy future, and I will tackle these issues with energy, compassion, and total commitment to the job. I will collaborate with others on taxes, renewable energy, education, and opiate addiction.

My father often said to his seven children, “You have to have courage in this world, and you cannot be afraid to speak the truth.” As I weighed my decision to run for the Vermont State Senate, I remembered that Dad was right: telling the truth means that I can be one heck of a leader for Windham County.

Health care is my main issue, but helping you with a problem is the job I am good at.

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