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Posts from the ‘Bolton’ Category

Before We Forget, Let Us Remember

August 9, 2014

reptomstevens

2014 Accomplishments

As we quickly approach election season, it will be easy to forget some of the major accomplishments achieved by your Vermont Legislature. Election season is a time where we stop being “legislators” and become “politicians.” As someone who enjoys representing my constituents, as well as shaping legislation that benefits all Vermonters, it is always a bit sad when our office is reduced to “politics” and the good and hard work we did in the winter and spring is forgotten, replaced by the “could haves” and “should haves” and “will do” of campaigning. It need not ever be different — we do our work in the bright lights, if you’re looking — so I would like to take a moment to highlight some of the things we did these last two years, and provide you with a list, mostly but not wholly prepared by the executive branch, of the things that passed through the legislature and became law, as well as some of the economic successes we’ve seen. You can click here to get a view of the list that I’ve produced for this site.  Read more

Here’s Our End of Session Report!

August 7, 2014

reptomstevens

End of Session Report 2014

It has been over two months since we gaveled out of session this year, and we are less than three weeks from the primary. Rep. Ellis and I are lucky not to have one, but we are still on the ballot and we urge you to vote, either by early voting, or on August 26. We will be door knocking this summer and fall, and we look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail. This End of Session Report is a quick take on some of the work we did as your representatives over the past two years.

It has been a privilege to serve you for these last six (for me) and four years (for Rebecca). We believe that we have accomplished quite a bit on behalf of our district, our constituents and Vermonters — from helping to secure the return of the State Complex to Waterbury to increasing our commitment to earth-friendly energy and recycling policies.

So have a read! I’ll be posting a more comprehensive list of the progress made this biennium, and a look at what the future holds for issues such as education finance and governance, health insurance reform, and family-friendly work policies, among many others.

Quick Town Meeting Wrap Up

March 6, 2014

reptomstevens

As far as major issues were concerned, the towns of Waterbury, Huntington and Bolton passed everything put before them — all municipal and school budgets passed, a bond to increase the fresh water supply at Harwood passed and the bond to fund a new municipal office building and library passed.

Each of these issues must now await the thirty day rescission period. Rescission, for Australian ballot measures, is the bane of progress in Vermont. I agree wholeheartedly with keeping it for votes off the floor, but the required process for Australian ballot issues means that there are no surprises on voting day, you vote on what was warned, and that should be that. Rescission, as it has been used in Waterbury, is a “two bites at the apple” weapon that has been abused in the past. It is, in my opinion, an antidemocratic tool when applied to Australian balloting. Strong words, I know, but it is completely disrespectful of the process the community goes through to develop plans and bonds to pay for them, sometimes over a year, only to have it win (perhaps) by narrow vote questioned and voted again by a rescission vote.

I am happy that we passed all of our school votes, in all three towns. This was a tough year, which followed a tough year, with our education finances. It is clear that the system will need to be adjusted to acknowledge the difficulties we are facing, namely the large increases in tax rates when the districts are keeping their budgets spare. While it is easy to say that the Great Recession is still playing a role (with our mostly level property values over the past four years), it is also playing a role in keeping the common level of appraisal even. But the situation isn’t that simple. Our role in Montpelier will be to find an adjustment that works, while not dismantling our excellent public school system.

We must be careful to not overreact…the number of budgets voted down were the highest in ten years, but nowhere near the most in one year. There are still 19 towns left to vote their budgets, and we expect a couple of them will reject the budgets the first time through.

And we must be careful not to celebrate the passage of the bond in Waterbury. Many of us see it as another step in the road to recovery from Irene, which means it has not been easy. Our tradition of rescinding votes is one of drudgery, but one that has been marked with hope. The margin of victory on this vote was substantial, and the selectboard and the building committee did their job in presenting an affordable project, made more so with a $1 million grant from CDBG-DR. If April 4th comes and goes without a petition to rescind, we can break out the champagne and then get to work raising the money necessary to pay for it. If we must vote again, we must do it before we lose the grant.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to making our democracy as powerful and messy as it is. We have a special brand of it in Vermont, and I am so very lucky to be able to witness the wonderful variations of it in Waterbury, Huntington, and Bolton.