I am sitting at my desk looking out my window at the beauty of spring in Vermont, reflecting on the last five months of my service in the Legislature. The session started on the morning of Jan. 6, as I looked out at the winter landscape, by taking the oath of office. The insurrection at our nation’s Capitol in the afternoon of that same day led to such fear that the joy and excitement of the morning was quickly forgotten.
But the House Leadership, led by Speaker Jill Krowinski, never wavered from moving forward and working for Vermonters in these unprecedented times. Covid has exposed significant cracks in our state, including broadband connectivity, healthcare, and childcare. The infusion of one-time federal money has allowed us to focus attention on these fundamental problems: education throughout the lifespan, access and affordability of childcare, workforce development, climate change, protection of our landscape, racial and social equity, and so much more. The House passed 100 bills over the course of the last five months, an amazing feat as it was all done on Zoom. Find a few of the important ones here. The text of all bills and their progress through the system can be found on the Legislature’s website. This is a great resource for all Vermonters to follow the work of the Legislature.
The budget sent to the governor totals $7.35 billion to meet the ongoing costs of operating the state government. This includes programs that provide services and benefits to the people of Vermont, and it makes investments in our infrastructure both human and structural. The American Rescue Plan Act contributed approximately $600 million to this budget. ARPA money needs to be spent over three years and an additional influx of money is expected as things evolve in Washington.
So now we are in the “off session.” Although the House is adjourned, we do have a tentative date for a veto session June 23. If this is needed, it will be another new experience for me. As the summer and fall approach, I continue to represent constituents of Windham-3, so please contact me if you have questions or concerns. With Covid receding, I hope to meet some of you out in the world, perhaps at a community picnic or event. I am so looking forward to that!
For those of you who might be wondering, I did report out on a bill: S.22. There was no interrogation and the bill passed unanimously! I am very relieved to have my first bill behind me.
I would also like to express my deep gratitude to my UVM intern, Alexis Drown. From the beginning of the session, we started our week together every Monday morning at 9 a.m. It was a great way to start the week, as we organized what we needed to do over the coming days. Alexis did research for me on upcoming issues on the Health Care committee, and we discussed the complexities so I could come to an informed decision on how to vote. Her assistance with my constituent Zoom meetings, both in planning and execution, was indispensable. I am very confident that she will do well as she continues on her path forward.
I want to say thank you for allowing me to represent you in Montpelier. It is an honor and a privilege for which I am so grateful. Again, please contact me with ideas, thoughts, and concerns through the “off session” and into the second year of the biennium at www.LeslieGoldmanVT.com, 802-869-2989, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The second year of the legislative biennium will start in January 2022.
Rep. Leslie Goldman