I am now closing in on my second campaign for the Vermont House of Representatives representing the newly reapportioned Windham-3 (Brookline, Rockingham, Westminster). This election cycle is totally different from my first one during Covid, which was focused primarily on campaign mailings and phone calls.
Although this cycle has had a large campaign mailing and the upcoming weeks will be focused on getting-out-the-vote phone calls, the bulk of my time has been spent going door-to-door, which I have always loved.
In addition to seeing every breed of dog you can imagine, meeting people at their homes gives me a window into their lives. These images will stay with me when I am (hopefully) re-elected and go back to Montpelier in January to start working on policy.
For this campaign cycle, I have been meeting residents throughout the new Windham-3 district with Rep. Michelle Bos-Lun (my new district mate) and others. Of course, many people are not home when we stop by, and we leave a postcard on the door knob, but many people engage in conversation. We talk about issues that are important to them, like climate change, taxes, child care, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, and about the importance of returning their ballots.
We recently stopped at a house where an 11-year-old boy answered the door and told us that he would get his grandmother. Her suspicion was obvious when she first came to the door, but when she saw two women and we started talking about the election, she visibly relaxed. She did say, however, that she doesn’t care about elections and she generally doesn’t vote.
In the meantime, though, her grandson found my website, started reading it, and then said he agreed with many of my ideas. This is what makes it fun. The conversation continued, and we talked about the fact that even if she doesn’t vote, I will still represent her in Montpelier if I am re-elected. I asked her to take my card with my contact information and be in touch if she had any problems which I might assist her with. She said she would keep it, and I’m hoping that she and her grandson will keep up the dialogue!
Campaigning has been what has occupied most of my attention this summer. But policy issues have required attention as well. As legislators, we are only paid for the time we are in session from January to May, so it’s reasonable to expect us to go home in May, resume our regular jobs and do those things that we’ve been putting off. But I find constituent concerns don’t end at the conclusion of the legislative session and significant time is often required to address unexpected issues.
One example occurred in June when concern was raised about closing the Route 121 bridge in Westminster for up to 18 months requiring a significant detour. There were concerns about how this closure would affect school bus routes, safety access, plowing, and the local economy in Rockingham and towns to the west.
Working with our Selectboard and town government, I helped to arrange a meeting with VTRANS (Vermont Agency of Transportation) to review the issue. As a result, Rockingham will now be copied on communication to Westminster from VTRANS so we are included in the ongoing reconstruction planning.
Also, in preparation for hopefully being re-elected and continuing my work on the Health Care Committee, I have spent significant hours this summer watching hospital budget presentations to the Green Mountain Care Board. The Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, Act 167 of 2020 addressing the issue of hospital fragility and sustainability. I believe this is a crucial moment for health care in Vermont, and I wanted to do my own research to come to my own conclusions regarding our current situation. As I went door-to-door, I learned about the struggle of affording health care from my constituents and want to take this back with me to Montpelier.
I am so grateful for all the support that I received throughout this campaign! Your willingness to donate money, have a yard sign, or go door-to-door with me has meant so much. As always, please be in touch with me with your ideas, concerns, or questions.
Please vote by Nov. 8 and vote “Yes” on the Reproductive Liberty Amendment!
Rep. Leslie Goldman