Why are you running?
I’m running to expand access to quality education, childcare and healthcare in Vermont and build a green economy through environmental protection and job creation.
tell us about yourself
I was raised in an interfaith, multiracial household that valued hard work and public service, graduated UVM in 2008 and spent eight years as State Representative, serving on Ways & Means and Natural Resources Committees. Since, I’ve worked as Burlington’s Public Engagement Specialist and a legal advocate for domestic violence victims.
Is Vermont business friendly?
Many of Vermont’s struggling businesses would be the first to say that our state is still not business friendly. We are, however, considered fairly family friendly with our quality schools, programs designed to give kids a head start, and clean environment. Both are important, and work to make Vermont livable for all. We had a history of struggling farms and businesses long before this pandemic, and unemployment and lack of cash flow have made the crisis even worse. Businesses have been facing rising costs alongside an unwieldy tax system, which we ought to rethink in ways that more accurately reflects ability to pay, and avoid widespread tax hikes in the middle of a recession.
Let’s clarify what business friendly means: a business friendly state is one that attracts working families and treats them with dignity. Business friendly states offer real choice to the residents of Vermont, with affordable options and quality providers. A difficult environment for businesses is a symptom of a greater problem in Vermont – we are facing the challenges of stagnant growth and declining population. To address our broader growth and affordability crisis, we need policies that help newcomers and young families get on their feet.
Why should a business owner support you?
I grew up in my Indian immigrant father and Jewish American mother’s Irish pub, sweeping floors, bussing tables, and generally pitching in for the family business. I saw the vital role our restaurant played as a gathering place, the first employment opportunity for an immigrant, or a hub to provide meals to those in need.
On day one as Senator, I will take immediate steps to ensure our economic recovery efforts prioritize small businesses that have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. Relief must provide reliable cash flow for all struggling businesses until full reopening is possible, rather than first-come, first-serve funds or loans.
I will work in the Legislature to attract workers and middle-class families to our state, and remove the barriers they face after moving here. We have an affordability crisis in Vermont, and support for families is a win-win for small businesses who are overburdened with maintaining a committed and engaged workforce.
I will support the industries that make Vermont strong. Renewable energy is a growing force in our national economy. Our restaurants, tourist destinations, and universities are economic engines in our state. These industries need an entirely new platform of support after this pandemic and beyond.
What could the Legislature do to support the creation of more well-paying jobs in Vermont?
First, the Legislature can take steps to attract the fastest growing industries in the country to our state: renewable energy, service industries such as the arts, tourism, and restaurants, telecommunications and transportation. If we create incentives and infrastructure for budding industries to invest in our state, we will see long-term returns on our economy. These are industries that employ many workers with secure employment, and are necessary investments as we shift away from fossil fuels.
Second, I will focus on better regionalization of public services, and especially public transportation connecting our state to other economic hubs. Employers across the US are looking for regions that maintain this critical infrastructure, and we can’t afford for Chittenden County or any other locale in Vermont to miss out simply because we are not as urban of an area.
Finally, I will focus on the key policies that make Vermont more attractive for newcomers and young families, such as affordable childcare and housing, paid family leave, and phenomenal universities. Increasingly, human capital is a key factor for attracting employers, and if we invest further in the services that already exist in our state, we can attract more people and more well-paying jobs.