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 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.
• 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:
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!
Burlington Says: Welcome Syrian Refugees
November 28, 2016
6:30 PM Vigil at City Hall
7:00 PM City Council meeting begins
7:30 PM Public forum time certain [may begin earlier if there are many speakers]
RSVP on Facebook
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.
Here are some points it might be helpful to make:
- 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.
Who’s with me?