I am so proud of all of you for the incredible work that each community has done to recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Each of the communities in our district had different challenges and all of you rose to the occasion.
As many of you know, I was appointed by Gov. Shumlin to serve on the Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Fund Board right after Irene. So far, the fund has raised $3.5 million and distributed nearly $2.5 million to flood survivors. We know around the state that there are 700 more families still in need of assistance, so the fund is embarking on a new campaign to bring our fund to $6.5 million. Revenue from the sale of the “I am Vermont Strong License Plates” support this effort as well as the Vermont Food Bank. If you yourself, or if you know a neighbor who may still be having problems with recovery, please go to our website at http://www.vermontdisasterrecovery.com or call 211. There is a network of caseworkers in all parts affected by the floods, and in our area it is Elizabeth McEwen who can be reached at (802) 376-6579.
Legislators are elected for two years during which there are two legislative sessions which together are called the biennium. Legislation introduced in the first year and not enacted carries over to the second year. Then, if not enacted, it dies. In each new biennium committees are reorganized, and each of us reassigned to our prior committee or moved to a new assignment. It is my hope to return to the Appropriations Committee and through that assignment to continue my commitment to change the conversation around school funding. I believe Vermont needs what I refer to as a cultural change in how we collectively think about our education system, and I hope I am having a role in instigating a new conversation.
At the state level it is beginning to be recognized that equity in how money gets into the Education Fund is fundamentally a different question than is equity in how money gets out of the Fund and makes its way to the classroom. That has everything to do with whether every child in Vermont has a substantially equal opportunity for a good education. Equal spending alone does not answer that question.
I hope to continue to work with the effort sponsored by Dover and Wilmington, which has put the question on the table of just what data is needed to let schools evaluate how well they are doing while at the same time telling state administrative and legislative bodies how well the system is doing. Without data, how can anyone know what changes to make to improve outcomes for all students?
While I do understand that running without an opponent makes my reelection seem a cake walk (and it was), please be assured that I do this job with relish and work as hard as I can for all of you.
As always, please feel free to contact me by leaving a message at home at (802) 464-2150 or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.