Harrison: Montpelier needs the gift of her understanding about housing

BRATTLEBORO — My parents in 1940 migrated from upper New York State to Long Island. I grew up in a Levitt & Sons' house in the neighborhood called the Roslyn Country Club.

I did not fall in love with my neighborhood, because I would rarely meet our neighbors. None of the houses had front porches that would have reduced the isolation.

My parents' annual trips back to their previous homes in the Syracuse area, populated with old houses with porches and friendly neighbors, made a lasting impression.

Then I fell in love with Bedford Falls, an imaginary town in upstate New York, the setting of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life 1946 film with James Stewart and Donna Reed. One of the reasons I came to Brattleboro in 1970 was that it simply felt like Bedford Falls.

The vision of affordable housing and a neighborhood that accepts all was an incredible gift of the film. Stewart's character, George Bailey, gives up his dreams of traveling the world to run the Bailey Building and Loan, a small community bank with a mortgage business.

Bailey's goal was to provide affordable housing as he faced an aggressive tycoon, Potter, played by Lionel Barrymore, who favored high-rate rentals and wanted to ensure the profit margins of the slumlord.

It is very complicated, challenging, and complex to recreate Bedford Falls, with its affordability and inclusive neighborhoods. As I have tried to embrace this vision, I discovered Wendy Harrison. Her background seems to perfectly match what we very much need in our many towns.

Wendy has long supported inclusive neighborhood development, where residents of all income levels are welcome and diversity is celebrated, not prevented. She is passionate about ensuring that neighborhoods are walkable and bikeable to schools, stores, and other essential destinations.

She has real and valuable experience achieving these types of safe and healthy communities through development of new neighborhoods and through reinvigorating older neighborhoods.

Please join me in voting for Wendy Harrison for state senator so we will have the gift of her understanding and experience in Montpelier as our state continues to search for solutions to the housing crisis.

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