I’m asking for your support for my re-election to the Vermont House of Representatives, for Burlington’s Chittenden 6-4 District, with my district mate Brian Cina.
Together we’ve worked for a strong public education system, livable wages and working conditions, criminal justice reform, healthcare access, an end to systematic racism, and compassionate relief for the opioid and mental health crises.
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to represent my neighbors, first on Burlington’s city council and now in the Vermont state legislature. I’m continually impressed by the thoughtfulness, compassion, and advocacy of my constituents. I promise to work for you and all Vermonters, to create a state where all are truly welcome and able to thrive.
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!
Burlington City Council
- The council’s Community Development & Neighborhood Revitalization committee continues to work on housing with next steps in an Inclusionary Zoning review and approval of a draft Request for Proposals for a neighborhood stabilization project that will look at ways to re-balance neighborhoods with significant student housing.
- 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.
- I introduced H.333, a bill that would make all single-user restrooms in public places gender-free. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is rolling back student protections established under Obama, a move that will endanger the health and safety of our young people. Attorney General T.J. Donovan says Vermont will stand by a 2007 state law that prohibits gender identity discrimination and protect the trans community. With H.333 we also have an opportunity to expand common-sense, restroom access for all.
- I was thrilled to be assigned to the Judiciary committee in the Vermont House. I knew I had found the right home when we started the session working on a Sexual Assault Survivors’ bill of rights and related bills. In Judiciary we’re looking at important criminal justice reforms, including an immigration bill in response to Trump’s executive order, marijuana legalization, bail reform, and greater access to rehabilitation and restorative justice.
Events and Action
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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/.
- Take the Fair Housing survey to help the City of Burlington, the Burlington Housing Authority, and the Winooski Housing Authority understand more about housing and neighborhood issues.
- Join the Ceremony of Solidarity and Protection at Geprags Park in Hinesburg from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the Week of Action VT to protest the final construction of the Vermont Gas Pipeline. No new fossil fuel infrastructure!
- Come to Burlington City Council at 7 p.m. at Contois Auditorium. Share your feedback on continued negotiations for the Burlington Town Center development project.
- 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.
- Join the Vermont International Film Foundation at a repeat screening of the James Baldwin documentary I am Not Your Negro, 7 p.m. at the Champlain College Alumni Auditorium.
- Check out the amazing Peace and Justice Center community calendar for a fuller listing of local social justice events and opportunities to get involved. Become a member to support their important work.
- Join me at a hearing on Fair and Impartial Policing, held by the Judiciary Committee of the Vermont House of Representatives in Room 11 of the statehouse, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Learn what Vermont is (and isn’t) doing to eliminate bias in policing.
- Join this webinar, from anywhere with an internet connection! Moving Forward on Climate Without Washington: A Reality Check with Senator Bernie Sanders at 7 p.m.
- 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.
- It’s Black Lives Matter day in the Vermont statehouse. Join the kick-off from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for scheduled press conferences, discussions, and meetings. Check out the reveal of the fantastic I Am Vermont, Too project.
- The House General committee is holding a hearing at the statehouse on the question of a $15 an hour minimum wage. Please come raise your voice on the value of livable wages for Vermonters.
- 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.
- Start making your plans for the People’s Climate March on April 29th. There will be actions in Washington, DC and Montpelier, VT.
- 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.
- A long-awaited report evaluating Burlington’s inclusionary zoning ordinance is out and will be presented to the Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization committee this Tuesday, January 31st at 6 p.m. in Contois Auditorium at City Hall. Come find out how inclusionary zoning has helped boost socio-economic integration in Burlington over a period of 30 years. Share your thoughts on increasing access to affordable housing in the Queen City.
- Discussion on Burlington’s practices with regards to immigrants and its status as a “sanctuary city” continues despite the recent executive order, says City Council President Jane Knodell. A council subcommittee continues to meet on this issue, and the Burlington police commission is reviewing a local implementation of Vermont’s Fair and Impartial Policing Policy with input from racial justice advocates, Migrant Justice, the ACLU and others.
- The council is working on a final development agreement for the Burlington Town Center. I’ll be pushing for maximum community benefits, such as employment opportunities and housing that is accessible to the broadest array of Burlington residents.
• Governor Scott’s budget address shocked Vermonters this past week, as he suggested level-funding local school budgets via a special election on May 23rd, while requiring teachers to pay more for healthcare benefits. This would result in an estimated 3 million dollars of staffing cuts to Burlington’s carefully planned FY 2018 budget and $10,000 worth of special election costs. More details of the proposal can be found here. If you’re concerned about Governor Scott’s proposal to eliminate local control of school budgets and what it means for Burlington, please speak up and contact him.
• Last week I introduced my first bill. It’s a bold proposal to combat opiate addiction by adding safer consumption sites to Vermont’s harm reduction toolkit. While the idea is understandably unsettling, it’s been proven to reduce deaths, get more people into treatment and cut down on discarded needles and public drug use, without increasing crime. We owe it to the many Vermonters and their loved ones affected by opiate addiction to strongly commit to results-based approaches that save lives.
• I’m proud to be a co-signer on paid family leave and $15 an hour minimum wage bills this session. In Burlington, city council approved a town meeting day question that will let voters weigh in via an advisory question to the legislature on a $15 an hour minimum wage. Let your voice be heard in support of working Vermonters!
• I was elected as Clerk of the Climate Solutions Caucus, a group of representatives, senators and advocates who meet every Tuesday at noon in Room 10 of the statehouse. Please join us if you’re interested in learning more, and follow VT Climate Caucus on Facebook for updates.
Continue speaking out against discriminatory immigration and refugee policies:
- March and Speak Out Against Deportations, Tuesday, 1/31/17, 6 p.m., City Hall Park (Burlington)
- Rise Up and Stand Up! Solidarity Vigil with our Muslim and Refugee Communities, Wednesday, 2/1/2017, Vermont State House (Montpelier)
- Amnesty International Vermont’s State Meeting and Social, Saturday, 2/4/2017, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m., Waterman Building, UVM (Burlington)
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:
- Black Lives Matter VT
- Champlain Valley NAACP
- Showing Up for Racial Justice
- Justice for All
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!