This letter was submitted by Peggy Stevens of Charleston.
I am running for the House seat in Essex- Orleans to bring needed attention to our rural communities.
The challenges facing us today- shortages of essential workers in the trades, education and health care, and of essential infrastructure like housing and childcare and internet and cell service; the need for additional support for our community schools; lack of access to services to seniors, veterans and substance-dependent individuals- all of these issues combine to bring hardship to too many and slow our progress towards attracting new business and industry, growing our local workforce and economy, and expanding our tax base.
Many of our legislators in this district have decided over the years to vote “no” in the interest of being “fiscally responsible”, in other words, not spending money.
I think it is fiscally responsible to spend money at times in order to save money down the road. Just as investing on repairs and maintenance on my car and home saves me money in the long run, the same is true for spending to address problems in our community.
The good news is we don’t have to raise taxes to resolve our community’s problems. The money we need to address our needs is here in Vermont today.
Thanks to the hard work of our Federal Congressional delegation, Vermont has received more dollars per capita than most states. The question is how will that money be pursued by our local representatives and allocated by our legislature?
If elected, I will speak up and work hard for what we in the Northeast Kingdom have been denied for too long, a fair and equitable distribution of funding.
Working cooperatively with other NEK legislators, I am committed to bringing needed resources to fix what needs fixing here and to protect all that is good.
My personal and professional experience have provided me with the communication, long- term planning, and decision-making skills needed to get the job done.
Investing now in our people and our communities will result in a brighter future for us all.
Directing money to train, attract and retain essential tradespeople, teachers and healthcare providers- by equalizing pay in all of these fields, and ensuring that folks have a secure roof over their heads, quality care and education for children, and needed services for adults- will see our rural communities grow and prosper.
Buying into climate solutions and green energy projects will not only protect our environment and natural resources, vital to our recreation and agricultural economy, and our children’s future, but is predicted to save us money on utility bills in the long run.
There’s no time to waste, so let’s find common ground and get to work on improving life for every one of us in the Northeast Kingdom. Together, we can do this!