PUTNEY — Covid-19. Climate. Racial/social justice.
We are facing this triple pandemic in this nation and still, we have no plan from the White House.
So the lack of national leadership means state and local leaders have to step up.
And in Vermont, we have.
The recently concluded Overtime Session of the Vermont Legislature has passed a number of bills to address those major concerns, along with the everyday nuts-and-bolts bills that keep the government running.
At a time when more Vermonters than ever are looking to the government for help, it's vital that we make government work as well as it should.
That's why I and other state representatives jumped in to help numerous people who were struggling with their unemployment claims. On top of regular constituent service and the policy-level bills, this made for as busy a session as I've known.
And, now that the session is done, the election is coming up fast.
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Looking back at the session, I'm glad to report that as a member of the Legislative Climate Caucus, we got the Global Warming Solutions Act passed.
As a member of the Racial/Social Equity Caucus, we passed a package of bills addressing use of force and police training in regard to systemic racism.
As an appointed member of the House Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee, I'm not forgetting that the #MeToo movement has kicked in the door to sexist and misogynist behavior.
And bills that create programs like Everyone Eats and provide other help for getting the economy going are essential, because the year ahead looks daunting.
Most of all, we have to stay vigilant and stay safe, to keep the smoldering wildfire of COVID-19 at bay (again, without leadership from the current president).
It won't be easy, though.
As hard as it's been and despite pandemic fatigue, this is no time to let up.
This is as important an election as I've known and at every level, this is a referendum on Donald Trump and his policies.
With that in mind, we have to hang tough, to exhort one another to keep pushing and not quit or get discouraged. Because after the election, there will still be lots of work to do.
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With the election coming fast, I ask for your votes in November, so that I can keep working on the connection between the Windham-4 District of Putney, Dummerston, and Westminster and the work in the State House.
I want to continue to take what I hear from constituents and bring it to bear in legislation that affects us at the local level, as well as the whole state.
It could be replacing a stop sign that was flattened in a snow storm to that big three - COVID, climate, and racial/social justice. It could be the work to keep our bridges, roads, schools, and health systems going. It could be supporting farms and forests in the working Vermont landscape.
It could be all the priorities of 25 House and Senate committees in the Legislature - it's all equally important.
And it's equally important is to see this work through the lens of justice, as any progress we make without justice is just an empty shell.
As this most important election is moving quickly towards us, I ask for your support and the honor of continuing to serve you.
I have great hopes that we'll be riding a blue wave in November and invite you to join me in persisting, working for the long haul, and making progress with justice.