Sibilia: Let’s lead Vermont first

I love the Vermont state of mind and being.  I can do it myself.  But do you need a hand?  I’m willing to make do with a little less and pay in a little more in return for being left alone to enjoy my (pick as many as you like): beautiful view, quiet dirt road, sleepy little town, small school choice, independence.  For most, I think we also share an understanding of the need for civic participation and getting involved in order to sustain our way of life.  In our little towns, there is an understanding that, “If not me, then who will….” serve on our select board, school board, rotary, united way, regional commission.
In our tiny and well-resourced state, one person can, and regularly does, make something significant happen. The sense of Vermont empowerment that comes from living in our small towns and villages, working our small businesses and yes, even attending our smaller than average schools has been one of the coolest things about raising my kids here.  What a gift.
For all of the same reasons noted above, Vermont is also a very attractive place for political activism.  How many times have you heard that “Vermont is going to lead the nation” on a cause that is federally gridlocked?   We have taken on some pretty hefty national issues here including civil rights, nuclear power safety, labor and health issues.  We’ve had a mixed bag of triumph and failure, as well as some tremendous benefit, and some tremendous costs.
As long as we are balanced in our approach and realistic about limitations caused by our size, there is a place in Vermont for political activists to push us to lead the nation.  But not at the expense of leading in Vermont and in our towns.
Before us we have healthcare challenges.  John Moran has been supporting activists fighting for single payer.  I support high quality healthcare for all Vermonters.  We both need to have two critical pieces in place if we are going to be successful; an adequate number of healthcare workers and a clear enough idea of how you are going to sustainably pay for it so that we can talk to voters about it.
There is a national shortage of physicians.  In Vermont, and particularly in Southeastern Vermont, that problem is more acute. If the solution John is trying to bring to bear with single payer is to provide all with access to quality healthcare, the lack of adequate supply in the healthcare workforce must now be addressed.  Preferably prior to enacting the single greatest tax increase in Vermont history.  I’d also suggest that the complete refusal to fix the solvable property tax problem has not engendered a high degree of trust regarding how single payer will be paid for.
I know many of you have been working hard on this issue, and many of you have concerns and questions.  I’d like to hear from you all as we work to find a way forward!
Laura Sibilia
Independent Candidate for State Rep
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

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