Archives: Past Vermont Updates
2017 State of the Union Essay Contest Roundtable
"I think if every adult in the state of Vermont listened to what these 19 kids had to say, they would be deeply impressed and feel very good about the younger generation," Bernie said following his roundtable discussion at the Vermont Statehouse with the finalists in his seventh annual State of the Union essay contest. "These kids are bright. They are committed." A panel of six Vermont teachers judged the essays and selected the winner and finalists. More than 650 Vermont high school students from 42 schools wrote essays describing what issues they would prioritize if they were president of the United States
‘We Are a Nation of Immigrants’
“We are a nation of immigrants that has a proud history of welcoming the oppressed with open arms. We must not turn our backs at a time when so many innocent civilians – mostly women and children – desperately need our help. If cities like Burlington, Winooski and Rutland want to open their arms to refugees, President Trump should not stand in their way,” Bernie wrote in a letter to Vermonters. “We must not allow President Trump to divide the American people with anti-immigrant and xenophobic hysteria. We are better than that.”
Zuckerman Outlines his Priorities as
Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor
Vermont’s newly elected lieutenant governor, David Zuckerman, says he plans to focus on promoting rural economic development and boosting wages for Vermonters by raising the minimum wage. “Rural communities across the country are struggling,” said Zuckerman, who adds he wants to “level the playing field and make the system more fair for working people.”
Vermont’s Snowmobiling Season Underway,
As New LVRT Sections Open
Vermont’s snowmobile season has begun. This year, Vermonters and visitors to our state will be able to enjoy newly opened sections of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. Cindy Locke, the executive director of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, credits the trail with providing an economic boost to the region. “We have seen businesses growing — businesses being born — because of this trail,” she said. “It is going to do so much for the economy of northern Vermont.” Bernie secured more than $5 million to build the trail on a 93-mile abandoned rail bed.
As Vermont’s AG, Donovan to Focus on
Criminal Justice Reform
T.J. Donovan shared his thoughts on his agenda as Vermont’s next attorney general, including his focus on criminal justice reform. “The poor don’t have a monopoly on committing crime, but that is who is represented in the criminal justice system, by and large. And it becomes a cycle,” Donovan said. “Poverty plays a role in this.”
Converting Methane Gas to Electricity
Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastation across the world. We have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is both healthy and habitable. The best way we can do that is by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels. The Washington Electric Co-op, right here in Vermont, is helping lead the way toward a clean energy economy by using waste methane -- a renewable fuel – from Vermont’s only operating landfill to power roughly 6,000 homes.
Torin Kearns, 22, of Lincoln, Vermont, said considering the cost of college is stressful. "When you get out of college -- having all this debt pile up and a job that might not necessarily make you back all that money in a decent amount of time — it’s scary," he said. "If kids want education, they should be able to have it."
On average, in Vermont, students graduate from college $28,283 in debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
Heating Our Cities with Renewable Energy
With a significant boost from federal stimulus funds, District Heat Montpelier is up and running, heating dozens of state, municipal and private buildings in Vermont’s capital city. Fueled by an innovative wood-chip fired boiler, the project is part of Vermont’s efforts to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable sources of energy.
This fall, Krysta Gingue, 20, became a junior at the University of New Hampshire. The Lyndonville, Vermont, college student credits Upward Bound for helping her get there. “I can absolutely say that it is the best thing that has happened, academically and socially, in my life,” she said. Gingue, who is a first-generation college student, was one of hundreds of students who gathered in Castleton this summer to recognize what they have been able to achieve, thanks to Upward Bound.
National Housing Trust Funded
Bernie helped lead a 15-year effort to create the National Housing Trust Fund, which is based on the success of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund. Vermont is slated to receive $3 million from the fund. Vermont’s share is part of $174 million that is being dispersed nationally to build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable rental housing. “Since my time as mayor of Burlington, increasing the availability of affordable housing in Vermont has been one of my top priorities,” Bernie said. “After 15 years of fighting for the National Housing Trust Fund, I am very pleased to see all 50 states receive funds to provide housing for people who are most in need.”