It’s been an amazing experience representing my constituents as a city councilor and state representative at a time when progressive policies and values are more needed than ever. I am so grateful for all the support, encouragement and challenges that keep me doing this work. Thank you!
Along with councilors, police commissioners and advocates, I continue to work for more community engagement in discussions about oversight of our police department. Last month, the mayoral administration and majority of councilors opposed a resolution I co-sponsored that would have created a task force for input from representatives of marginalized communities. Rather than give up, the council’s Public Safety committee (under the leadership of Sara Moore Giannoni) is working collaboratively to build common ground with the administration and ensure a community input process that works for all.
Don’t forget to vote on Town Meeting Day, March 7th! We’ll have an opportunity to weigh in on a school budget and capital improvement bond, a state $15 per hour minimum wage, councilor pay, district representation and a number of small charter changes. For more on the election, see https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/CT/Elections.
Opioid Town Hall Meeting, March 16th, Contois Auditorium @ Burlington City Hall, 6 p.m. Come learn about the principles guiding Burlington’s response to the opioid crisis and share your concerns and solutions.
Join me with the Vermont Sierra Club at a short film screening and discussion on how to protect bees from dangerous pesticides.March 15th, 6:30 p.m. Taplin Auditorium-Second Floor-CHRIST CHURCH | Episcopal, 64 State Street, Montpelier. Email email@example.com for more information.
Celebrate International Women’s Day, Saturday March 18th from 1-3 p.m. at the King Street Youth Center (87 King St.) in Burlington.
Every Friday, Lt. Governor David Zuckerman holds a coffee with constituents from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the statehouse. All are welcome. Learn more about ways to get involved at http://ltgov.vermont.gov/.
You can also speak out in a support of a resolution I’ve co-sponsored with Progressive colleagues, thanks to the leadership of Councilor Giannoni. The resolution would form a task force on community oversight of police with representatives from the “ACLU, LGBTQ, communities of color, mental health community, Police Commission, Police Department,survivors of domestic and sexual violence, youth, homeless community, and refugee and immigrant communities.” I’m hearing the administration prefers to bring forward a set of recommendations without the engagement this resolution calls for and will likely oppose it, so please come speak up for COMMUNITY INPUT ON COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT OF POLICING if that’s important to you.
Public Forum on the Sale of Burlington Telecom, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Contois Auditorium in Burlington. “This meeting is an opportunity to hear [about] the proposed timeline and process for the sale of BT prior to its submission to the City Council for approval. Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions and provide feedback either in-person or by completing the comment form found at this web address: http://bit.ly/2jGhznU“
Get involved at the neighborhood level. The Ward 1/8 Neighborhood Planning Assembly meets at the UVM Medical Center, in the McClure Lobby Conference Room, starting at 7.00 p.m. Parking free of charge in the McClure Garage, courtesy of UVM MC.
Another opportunity to take action on issues affecting your neighborhood and hear from city council candidates: the Ward 2/3 (Central District) Neighborhood Planning Assembly begins with a free community dinner at 5:30 p.m., followed by the NPA meeting at 6:30 p.m. Both are at the McClure Center at 241 North Winooski Avenue.
Join the Peace Vigil at the top of Church Street from 5 to 5:30 p.m.
Demand that TD Bank divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline, as part of the Week of Action VT. The group’s Facebook page says that protestors will gather at the Burlington Waterfront at 8:30 a.m. for an action at 10:30am at TD Bank at 111 Main St, Burlington.
Many of us are concerned about Governor Scott’s proposals to level fund local school spending and interfere with collective bargaining. Join legislators and the Burlington School District for a Community Discussion on Education Funding in VT, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., at the Edmunds Middle School cafeteria.
It’s hard to know where to start, given the outrageous and unforgivable acts served up by our new presidential administration over the last week. From cutting off access to reproductive healthcare worldwide to banning refugees from entering the country, they have shown no mercy or respect for basic human rights. The work that we are doing together in state and local government feels more important than ever. I am committed to working hard for progressive policy that benefits Vermonters, while raising my voice against hateful and hurtful national mandates.
Many white Vermonters, including myself, need to recognize the bias and hatred that’s already present and directed at people of color in our communities. Let’s do the hard work of acknowledging privilege and dismantling racism in our own lives, and get involved in one or more of the numerous organizations working for racial justice in Vermont:
Standing up with so many of you over the last week and a half has given me a lot of hope. Injustice didn’t start with Trump, but I hope we are waking up to our collective power. Keep loving, keep fighting. Together we win!
On November 28th, the Burlington City Council will debate a symbolic resolution declaring our city to be open and welcome to Syrian refugees The resolution resolves that, “The Burlington City Council declares its support for resettlement of United Nations registered Syrian refugees in Burlington and calls on other Vermont municipalities to declare support in their own communities and to join Burlington in supporting a stronger national effort to resettle the most vulnerable Syrian refugees.”
You can find complete text of the resolution on the Burlington Board Docs site. The resolution is co-sponsored by Selene Colburn and Joan Shannon, in collaboration with Amnesty International USA in VT.
If you want to speak in favor of the resolution:
The public forum portion of city council starts at a time certain of 7:30 PM, but may begin sooner if there are a large number of speakers.
When you enter Contois Auditorium, you can sign up to speak.
Speakers are granted 2-3 minutes each and asked to address the council via its President. It helps to have some quick notes or prepared remarks that you know will fit into that length of time.
Please limit cheers, clapping or boos in response to other speakers as it lengthens the forum and makes it difficult to hear all points of view. You can express agreement or appreciation by waving your hands in the air.
The resolution will be introduced later in the evening as the agenda moves forward. If you want to hear councilors discuss and vote on the resolution, please do.
This is a symbolic resolution. The resolution does not request additional refugees or commit Burlington to a certain number of Syrian refugees. We recognize that Syrian refugees may be part of our local refugee resettlement program, as a result of federal decisions, and we welcome and support that. Not all communities or leaders have been so supportive, so this is an opportunity for Burlington to tell a different story.
Many refugees in our community face hardship and discrimination. It’s important to recognize this truth in any attempt to say “refugees welcome” and to ask ourselves how we can recommit to the hard work of dismantling bias and supporting those who have chosen to make new lives among us. If your experience has put you into a position to speak to this, that is a really important perspective for city councilors to hear.
Speak from the heart and let us know why this issue is important to you.
A huge thanks to the voters of Chittenden 6-4 for sending Brian Cina and I to the VT legislature as your representatives in the House. We are thrilled and honored to serve you. Thanks also to my family for trusting in me and making it through another campaign season. Thanks to my wonderful campaign manager Lauren and to all the volunteers who helped us drop leaflets, make phone calls, stamp postcards and much more. Thanks to the many donors whose modest, grassroots contributions helped fund a people-centered campaign. Thanks to the Vermont Progressive Party and Rights and Democracy VT for their support for my candidacy, and to the many organizations who provided endorsements in support of our shared vision for a progressive Vermont. Thanks to outgoing Representatives Kesha Ram and Chris Pearson for their long and valuable service to our district and the state.
Like many Vermonters, I am dismayed by our national election results. As I have said elsewhere:
I am not going to Canada or Norway or Mexico. I am going to the Vermont statehouse where I am going to fight with everything I’ve got to turn back this wave of hatred, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and ableism. I am going to stand against the criminalization of poverty and addiction, the climate change denial, and the income inequality that is sweeping our country. I am going to work with my comrades and colleagues on the left to overcome our differences, so that we can build a true movement of working people who can turn this country around and deliver on the principles that excited so many of us earlier in this election cycle…not four years from now when the Democratic Party offers us a candidate, but right now. I am so grateful for the voters who have entrusted me to represent them, who support a progressive vision for Vermont and our country. When I stepped up to run for this office, I thought I’d likely be in for a Republican governor (we are), but I never really believed my work would require pushing back on oppression of this magnitude at the federal level. That’s privilege, pure and simple, and a failure of the imagination on my part. I am not going to let my children, or your children, see me sitting on the sidelines at this moment in history. I am in this 100% and then some.