Key Issues

“I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people. They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves to serve others. If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the Union, and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont.”

–Calvin Coolidge, 1928

                • I

                  FAMILY, FREEDOM, FUTURE.

                  Having attended the TRSU Act 46 Study Committee meeting and Community Forum in Plymouth, I can say that most average Vermonters with children – or those who will be disproportionately affected by school consolidation – have, through no fault of their own, little to no understanding of how this gargantuan piece of legislation will actually impact their communities. With all of it’s reference to terms like “equalized pupils,” “property dollar equivalent yield for property tax payers,” and “income dollar equivalent yield for income sensitivity payers,” the initiative is choked full of legalese and mathematical derivatives that are blind to actual school district needs, and make it very difficult for local officials and parents to comprehend. Ultimately, I think it’s something that was written for the benefit of educators and bureaucrats, by educators and bureaucrats, at the expense of children and families.
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                  Vermont has a unique tradition of tuitioning, better known as school choice, which is the result of life in a rural state with many small towns strung throughout its hills and valleys. Rather than try and replicate – again, for the benefit of educators and bureaucrats – everything that has failed or is failing in the country at large – like large school districts, increased student-to-teacher ratios, and standardized testing – why not embrace Vermont’s heritage and be thankful that we’re actually blessed to have small schools with low student-to-teacher ratios where kids can relate to their own local communities and develop a strong sense of place, something that research shows is way more influential to a child’s development than a standardized test score. In the long run, isn’t that far more preferential than busing kids 30 miles so that teachers can implement better “professional development training and planning” for themselves?.

                • II

                  SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRY

                  Implementing a state-wide plan of “green-powered” industry – to both draw livable-wage jobs back to Vermont, and serve as a successful
                  blueprint for industrial models around the country – should be priority #1 for anyone elected to this office. The “Precision Valley Region” was once home to the most advanced machine tool industry the world had ever seen. The knowledge base is still here – just ask many of the guys in their 50’s and 60’s working the big box stores – as are the rivers that once powered the factories. Advanced hydroelectric/solar/wind-powered factories making high tech-industrial goods that pay Vermonters good wages to do so would jump start local economies, increase the tax base, and establish a real “sustainable” future for Vermont.

                  There are now ways to do industry – just ask the Germans, or the Chinese, who are developing such technology out of necessity – where the externalities are very minimal, where we’re not dumping raw industrial waste into the Connecticut River. Vermont has already made grea advances in alternative energy, so why not use that knowledge base to help design the factories of the future, right here in the U.S., instead of making everything in Asia and Mexico? You could, with the right incentives, but perception is the problem…”we don’t do that here.”

                  The same applies to my plan for implementing legislation to lure New England firearms manufacturers to the state. Since its founding, Vermont has been a bastion of gun rights, although recent debates on the issue suggest otherwise. Why let Smith & Wesson, Remington, Colt, and Ruger decamp to southern states with developed gun cultures and legislatures willing to provide tax-based incentives, when they could in some cases move 150 miles or less across the border into Vermont. Again, only perception is the problem.

                • III

                  LIMITED GOVERNMENT

                  It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. – James Madison, Federalist 48, 1787

                  I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. – Thomas Jefferson, 1787

                  The Founders of this country – and indeed, the Founders of the Vermont Republic, which preceded the State of Vermont – fought an armed struggle against tyranny and oppression born of a centralized power that had overstepped its bounds.

                • Today in Vermont, whether it be Governor Shumlin’s $200 million dollar intrusion into the health care industry, government monopolization of k-12 education, or advancement of an economy-crippling carbon tax, there are too many examples of a bloated state enterprise that monopolizes power for both its own interests, and those in the burgeoning ranks of its compliant Apparatchiks.Vermont State House, Montpelier, Vermont, USA. Vermont State House is Greek Revival style built in 1859.
                • Given the dire situation facing Vermont, with state budgets in the red, ballooning costs of social Welfare, a fast-metastasizing drug epidemic, and disappearing working class jobs, it’s up to Vermonters to elect Representatives who will have the courage and resolve to go up to Montpelier and return power to its rightful owners…the people.
                • For in a Government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” we are the Government,  and the responsibility is truly ours.
              • IV

                DEFENDING ARTICLE 16

                Article 16 of Vermont’s 1777 Constitution – which predates the Bill of Rights when Vermont was still an independent republic – guarantees Vermonters the right to bear arms “for the defense of themselves and the State.”

                Neither Article 16, nor the Second Amendment to the US Constitution have anything to do with hunting or sporting matches. Until the anti-gunners can come to grips with that, there’s really nothing else to talk about. Any further discussion of “gun rights” in Vermont is just an exercise in semantics used to further the agenda of interest groups – in many cases, groups with major influence from outside the state, like Gun Sense Vermont – who themselves have little understanding of either the gun laws they espouse, or the firearms they criticize, and would just as soon see every Vermonter disarmed before they’d consent to one hour of honest discussion on the topic. This mentality manifests itself in places like Burlington, where they tried to pass their own legislation limiting law-abiding Vermonters’ right to bear arms as they see fit. That mentality has no place in this state.

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                My proposals

                1) Passage of the Vermont Firearms Freedom Act: as per similar legislation already passed in States like MT, AK, AZ, ID, SD, UT, TN, KS, & WY, which would limit Federal regulation of all firearms and ammunition produced within the state borders of Vermont.

                2) Passage of the Precision Valley Tax-Free Manufacturing Act: provide multi-year tax-free incentives to any manufacturing firm that establishes relations within the State of Vermont, either newly-formed or relocated.

                3) Either fix or repeal ACT 46

                4) Support Gubernatorial Candidate Phil Scott’s initiative to limit the legislative session to 90 days: the less time legislators are up in Montpelier meddling and writing laws no one wants or needs, the better.