Posted Fall 2020
My vision for Vermont: good jobs and wages, affordable health care, well maintained infrastructure, affordable renewable energy, clean air and water, statewide broadband and cellular service, a great education system, a fair system of taxation, and a great quality of life.
We need to preserve our working lands, parks, and forests. These are aspects of our state that make it attractive to residents and visitors alike, and are the heart of Vermont’s landscape. They are an integral part of what makes Vermont a quality place to live.
I am very concerned about people being able to afford to heat their homes, put food on the table, pay for transportation to get to work, and afford other necessities to allow for quality, healthy lives. We need incentives to attract businesses to Vermont in order to provide employment and fulfilling careers. And we also need to ensure that there are training programs so that Vermonters are adequately trained to fill those jobs. We need to do more work on options for affordable housing. We need to support the continuation of effective programs designed to protect the most vulnerable Vermonters.
Across the nation we are in the middle of a dynamic population shift as the “baby boomer” generation ages and retires. Once we move through this I suspect the demographics of Vermont may resemble those of pre-1960. It is not particularly surprising that some young people are leaving Vermont while in their twenties to pursue education and career opportunities in states with larger urban centers. Many of these young people eventually return, or are replaced by newcomers. These folks come to Vermont with specialized skills and with assets. This serves the state by supporting existing businesses and attracting new business endeavors.
Quality education, economic opportunity, and a diversified social scene are key elements to keeping young adults in Vermont. We need a strong economic development strategy that includes statewide broadband internet and telecommunications services, incentives to attract and support small businesses, affordable housing, development of jobs that pay fair wages, and policies that discourage outsourcing or off-shoring of jobs. Vermont is a great place to live. A strong economy will encourage young Vermonters to stay here.