Why are you running?
I want to make Vermont’s economy stronger, more resilient and fair. This will be especially important as we recover and rebuild after COVID.
tell us about yourself
I am serving in my 2nd term in the Senate and previously served for 8 years in the House. I run a small non-profit consulting business, am married to a public high school teacher. Together we are raising two elementary school children.
Is Vermont business friendly?
I can’t really answer “yes” or “no,” more like: it depends. If you want to open a restaurant or a retail store Vermont is pretty business friendly. If you want to open a manufacturing business in the middle of our rural landscape, we are not business friendly. I have tried to push the legislature to reduce duplication in our permitting process. While Act 250 can feel cumbersome, it’s often other state and local permits that cause delay. We are moving to make development simpler in downtowns, and that’s the right move. We have to protect our rural landscape and push businesses and housing development into our town centers.
Why should a business owner support you?
My approach to state government is that laws should be as simple and straightforward as possible and the bureaucracy should be efficient. We have a long way to go. I was the lead sponsor of the bill creating the business portal. That continues to make progress and should result in businesses having one-stop when it comes to interfacing with state government. It will also contain all state permitting rules in one place. During the COVID crisis it became obvious that the state’s ability to reach out to businesses based on their sector was very limited. This is another benefit of the work we expect to see from the portal project.
What could the Legislature do to support the creation of more well-paying jobs in Vermont?
I think we need to emphasize what makes Vermont special. Small-scale diversified agriculture that looks to produce more of the food and products we need would be a good example. Let’s become the regenerative leaders of rural America. Let’s build on our local food success. Let’s trumpet the climate friendly nature of sustainable agriculture. Let’s pair these with renewable energy build out that makes us resilient and keeps more of our energy dollars here in Vermont. We must also continue to invest in broadband across the state. Combined, these strategies would strengthen our economy and make us a destination for forward thinking Americans looking to work in communities that are building a healthy, strong future.