White: Working at the foundation of our democracy

PUTNEY — The past 12 years have been exciting, challenging, frustrating, rewarding, and humbling. I would like to continue to use my experience and relationships to work for Windham County and the state of Vermont.

I served on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee as we began working toward a universal, single-payer health-care system. I continue to work toward this goal.

Our mental-health system has also been a priority of mine. Serving on the Mental Health Oversight Committee, I have worked hard so we can have a system that offers adequate community-based services with acute-care services when needed. Making sure that the Brattleboro Retreat was part of that system of care was part of my position.

My views on economic development are not just private-sector job creation, or about the state creating jobs. The role of the state is to create a climate that allows entrepreneurs and businesses to flourish in an environment where they want to live and operate their businesses.

This means good schools, cultural opportunities, good infrastructure - roads, public facilities, Internet access, clean water and air, decent housing, and more. We need to decide what kind of jobs we want and then support them with creative loan/grant programs, universal health care, and money for research and development.

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As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I have worked hard to reduce our prison population by providing treatment and rehabilitation rather than incarceration where appropriate, sentencing reform, use of risk assessments, and different types of supervision.

I serve as chair of the Senate Government Operations Committee. While some think of this as a lesser committee, to me, it is the very foundation of our democracy. Its purview is elections, the structure of government, municipal issues, state employees, professional licensure and regulation, retirement funds, promoting democracy, open meetings, public records, and government transparency and accountability.

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I love this work. Over the years, we have revamped our elections, made necessary statutory revisions, changed the constitution to allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will turn 18 by the general election, overseen the many professions in the state, and worked to increase government accountability and transparency at every level.

I thank you for your past support and now I ask for your vote in the Democratic Primary on Aug. 26. Let me continue to work for Windham County and Vermont.

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