Thank you for keeping in touch throughout Vermont's 2019 legislative session. Over the last 19 weeks I have been immersed in testimony, debate, deliberation and parliamentary procedure. We accomplished a great deal for Vermonters this session to build a stronger, healthier Vermont that works for everyone, not just the select few.
We worked together to build bridges and find our common ground, and as a result accomplished so much this session for Vermonters. We passed a budget without raising new taxes and advanced and a number of bills including some of my priorities to: expand rural broadband; invest in affordable housing and childcare; preserve women’s reproductive liberties; create a permanent funding source for clean water projects; address climate change and invest in workforce training and development. I am very proud of our collective work.
During the final weeks of the session, House and Senate leaders were trying to hash out a compromise on paid family leave and the minimum wage. I’m disappointed the legislature couldn’t work out a deal on these important issues. But it’s not easy—and nor should it be easy—to build consensus among 150 Representatives, 30 Senators and the Governor. In spite of this ending, we accomplished a great deal for Vermonters this session to build a stronger, healthier Vermont.
While we often hear about the issues debated on the floor, so much of our work in the legislature happens in the committee room. I serve on House Corrections and Institutions, where we focus on corrections policy and the capital budget. I believe that budgets and prisons are reflections of our priorities and values, so I have thoroughly enjoyed the work on this committee making fiscal and policy decisions that I believe will help build stronger and healthier communities throughout Vermont. You can read more below.
This blog post is a bit longer than usual as it includes many of the highlights from the session and more details of my work on the House Institutions and Corrections Committee. You can also visit my legislative page at www.legislature.vermont.gov to see the bills I sponsored and how I voted on all the bills that came to the floor.
It has been an honor to represent and serve Guilford and Vernon in the Vermont Assembly this year. In the off-session I will be doing a lot of work with my colleagues around the rural economy and criminal justice and corrections reform. Please be in touch via email SCoffey@leg.state.vt.us if you have any questions or want to discuss your priorities for the legislature when we reconvene in January 2020.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Town Meeting is one of my favorite traditions in Vermont -- it’s democracy at its best, where budgets and issues are respectfully debated among neighbors. It was great to talk with so many neighbors in Vernon and Guilford at Town Meeting this year.
Following the Town Meeting recess, I returned to the State House for “crossover.” This is the time when bills need to have moved out of their policy committees and voted up in either the House or Senate in order to "crossover" to the other legislative body to remain alive for the year. So, it's been incredibly busy and exciting time, and this update includes some of the highlights.
It is an honor to represent Guilford and Vernon in our citizen legislature in the Vermont House of Representatives. I have been commuting to Montpelier for eight weeks now, and every day as I approach the State House I am greeted by Ceres, the goddess of agriculture atop the golden dome. Ceres reminds me of who I am serving and of the importance of Vermont’s agricultural heritage. I am committed to working to build bridges, finding common ground and working together to find solutions to ensure that all Vermonters have opportunities and equal access to a bright future.
February update: connectivity, fish hatcheries, electing the next Adjutant General, protecting women's reproductive rights in VT & more
I’ve been commuting to Montpelier for six weeks now, and every day as I approach the State House I am greeted by Ceres, the goddess of agriculture atop the golden dome. Ceres reminds me of who I am serving and of the importance of Vermont’s agricultural heritage and our rural communities. Sometimes living in Guilford and Vernon, the southeast corner of the state, we can feel distant from removed from Montpelier, so I feel like a big part of my new job is to bring visibility to our communities and to be a conduit to share the discussions and debates that are happening with my constituents.
Today we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King. The words and actions of Dr. King remain powerful reminders of what our country stands for. He led with compassion and challenged hate with love. When faced with a fight he turned to peace. When confronted with wrong, he put all his energy into doing what was right, for as he said, “the time is always right to do what is right.” Dr. King’s words and actions can inspire all of us and guide us every day in our life and work. During these challenging times, I’m so inspired by Dr. King’s example, especially as I serve in the Vermont Assembly.
It’s been an incredible week filled with ceremony, fiscal meetings, speeches and lots of snow!
On Tuesday I headed up to Montpelier for a full day of fiscal briefings from the Joint Fiscal Office on various aspects of the State’s and on Wednesday morning, before my family and alongside my new colleagues, I was officially sworn in as the State Representative for Windham-1 to represent Guilford and Vernon.