Why are you running?
Chairing the Senate committee that deals with the substance of issues I care most about- economics, housing and consumer protection- and being able to impact these state policies, is my dream job.
tell us about yourself
Graduated from the Wharton School of the Univ. of Pa. and Univ. of Denver College of Law. Partner in private law practices from 1982-2014. Married to the late Sally Fox for 35 years; two married sons with 2 grandchildren. State Senator from 2014 to present. Chair of Economic Development Committee, Ranking member of Finance Committee.
Is Vermont business friendly?
Not a one word answer. In some ways yes and in some ways no. Certainly, I have learned that too much red tape exists in permitting for development and have pushed for the exemption from Act 250 and duplicative state water permits in designated downtowns and neighborhood development areas. On the other hand, business subsidies such as VEPC should only be expanded once they are tightened as to their metrics and accountability. Certainly ACCD could benefit from more resources. I believe more bonding should be looked at to help businesses grow and I support the need to immediately address our demographics. Broadband, housing, childcare and demographics remain key challenges to our business climate. Again, I do not believe the question is answerable in a one word yes or no answer.
Why should a business owner support you?
I managed a small business for 30 + years, meeting payroll and dealing with personnel issues constantly. My education is in accounting and economics and law. I care deeply about creating and maintaining a vibrant economy in Vermont. As chair of the Senate’s Economic Development and Housing Committee I was proud to author both the remote worker and relocated worker programs that brought Vermont not only new workers, but millions of dollars in free positive publicity. I am also a strong supporter of Tax Incremental Financing (TIFs), smart growth, and affordable housing. I was leader in getting Burlingto(and others) their TIFs and am currently working on allowing smaller communities to access similar creative financing (mini TiFs). I have and will continue to lead on a strong COVID relief package for business.
What could the Legislature do to support the creation of more well-paying jobs in Vermont?
Support for affordable housing and child care are two big items. We need to invest more in tech and broadband and should create incentives to do so. Workforce training is critical and is currently poorly coordinated. We have many workforce training resources but they are so bureaucratic, that they are being underutilized. This will continue to a focus of my committee’s work.