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

DOVER — 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 our Deerfield towns, that Vermonters identify with, that comfort us and that beckon to new Vermonters.

But our rural communities have fallen behind in our demographics and economy and our physical and social infrastructure.

To preserve that which we love, we must transition to an economy where businesses and residents in all of our towns are able to use modern infrastructure to connect to the global economy, education, and health care, and we must work together to protect our communities and ourselves from climate change.

We urgently need optimistic leaders who can unite Vermonters in the fight to preserve Vermont's culture by advancing Vermont's future. Molly Gray is just such a leader, and she is running for lieutenant governor this year.

Molly's background is impressive. She comes from a Vermont farming family, is an attorney and adjunct professor, and has been a pursuer of human rights at the global scale.

But what she told me when I first met her - pre-pandemic, at the State House - caught my attention.

When I asked her what she would do as lieutenant governor, she told me she was going to bring attention to the issues of rural Vermont. I have been completely impressed with her commitment and ability to do just that during her campaign, which is happening in the midst of the most serious emergency of our lifetime.

The lieutenant governor has two key roles. The first is to preside over sessions of the Senate, which means you must understand the legal rules for debate. The second role is to be ready to become governor in the event something happens to the incumbent.

Molly's wide array of experiences - as a practitioner of the law at the state, national, and global levels, as a farmer, as a teacher, and as a waitress - give me confidence that she has the skills needed for both of these roles.

Molly is a rural Vermonter, and her optimism, drive, and commitment to that Vermont ethos of working across the aisle to get things done is why I am supporting her and asking you to do so, too, in the primary election on Aug. 11.

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