Q: Given that Vermont is on track to be the state to best contain the coronavirus in the nation, do you agree with the response by the legislature thus far? Would you like to have seen a different response thus far? How would you like to see the legislature proceed in responding to the virus in the next biennium?
This pandemic has changed the course of the legislature for the good, at least for the time being. When we shut down on March 13th and began to work remotely, us in the legislature put in many hours to help our fellow Vermonters. It was the first time as an elected official where I saw the legislative leadership willing to put partisan politics aside and work with Governor Phil Scott.
One thing that was very helpful to me and for my constituents was the ability for me to reach out to the Vermont Department of Labor on behalf of my constituents and place a claim on their unemployment. This allowed me to help hundreds of my fellow Vermonters receive their benefits in a timely manner. When there was a backlog, the legislature worked together to get more claims resolved. This was truly a great sight to see our state's leaders work together to help the people of Vermont like we were elected to do!
All of this bipartisan work was refreshing, but it did have a few issues in my opinion. I feel like Governor Phil Scott's proposal of $50 million to help farmers was adequate and I was upset when they cut that money down to $30 million. I was also upset that a majority of our elected officials decided to give themselves a pay raise next year while over 40,000 Vermonters were still out of work. We were also restricted on how we could spend most the federal funds and we were unable to help those who put their lives on the line as essential workers. I'm hoping more can be done going forward.
I truly believe that Governor Phil Scott and his administration have done a great job keeping Vermont safe during this pandemic. It is a real testament to see what can be accomplished when the right people are in charge. The work isn't done and we'll be back on August 25th to continue our work.
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