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.
Taking the oath of office before a full House chamber I felt the honor and responsibility. In her opening speech Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson emphasized collaboration and strengthening Vermont’s economy: “When economic policies are strong, diverse and inclusive, we can build a Vermont that works for all of us.” I am excited to be part of this legislative body and work together to strengthen our rural economy and build a bright future for all of us.
Following the ceremony, we got our committee assignments, selected our seats and began our work. The bulk of our work in the legislature happens in committee room, and for the next two years I will be serving on the House Committee for Corrections and Institutions. This Committee considers matters relating to the Department of Corrections; public buildings; and State lands and property. Our work will include policy and budgetary decisions on a wide range of topics and issues that touch all communities ranging from historic preservation and downtown village center grants to school safety and infrastructure for clean water to funding for state parks and prisons. You can follow our weekly agenda here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/agenda/2020/305
You may have heard me on VPR’s Vermont Edition on the opening day of the session talking about my priorities going into the session. I’ll be focusing my work on strengthening Vermont’s rural economy and working on policies that promote economic, environmental and racial justice. I will advocate for innovation in public education, affordable childcare and strategic investments in technology to bring our rural communities up to 21st century speed. Such investments, I believe, will both support our students and workers, retain our young people, maintain property values and support and attract families, small businesses and entrepreneurs to our state.
ISSUES + STAYING IN TOUCH
This session we will be taking up issues like updates to Act 250, Minimum Wage, long-term funding for clean water, Act 46, establishing a retail market for cannabis, and a constitutional change to protect women’s reproductive rights. On the seventh Thursday of this biennium the legislature will also be
electing the Vermont Adjutant General (AG). This AG is the senior uniformed officer in the State who is responsible for the organization, training and equipping of the 4,000 members of the Vermont Army and Air National Guard. I’ve met both candidates and am interested in hearing from folks who have served in the National Guard. The issues we debate in Montpelier impact each and every one of us, and your voice and your participation in our democracy matters. I encourage you to voice your ideas and concerns with your neighbors at town meeting, and to reach out to me and your other elected officials. During the session I will host monthly coffee hours in both Guilford and Vernon, and I hope that you will join me this week for one my first series of Coffee with Coffey this week: Monday Jan. 14th from 5:30-6:30 at the Guilford Country Store and Saturday Jan. 19th at the Vernon Free Library. I’m eager to hear your thoughts, concerns and ideas – so please stop by for a few minutes or the full hour.
We face a lot of challenges in our small state, but I am an optimist, and I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to build bridges, find common ground and work together to find creative solutions to ensure that all Vermonters have access to opportunities and a bright future. I look forward to seeing you in the community, at a Coffee with Coffey Hour or at the State House in the coming months. It’s an honor to serve you - please stay in touch! Best wishes,
Sara Coffey State Representative Windham-1/Guilford and Vernon e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org www.saracoffeyvt.com