May 16, 2016
Dear friends and neighbors,
Serving my first two years as your representative in the Vermont House has been a privilege and an honor. As an independent freshman legislator, unaffiliated with a political party, the learning curve was occasionally steep, always interesting and endlessly inspiring. On your behalf, I worked hard every day to learn the legislative process, forge productive relationships with my colleagues, and use my experience and voice to assist our district, our neighbors, and our state.
My work ethic and willingness to work across the political spectrum on state and local challenges allowed me to be more effective than might otherwise be expected of an independent freshmen. Regulatory initiatives I took a leadership or shared leadership role in include:
- The Vermont House, as a body, has requested a federal audit of VTel federal telecom awards to determine why services promised to tens of thousands of Vermonters have not been delivered, especially in Southern Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom
- Ensuring our towns have a representative to the state working group considering a purchase of thirteen TransCanada dams
- Creation of a Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone and initiative to fund deepening economic development collaboration between Windham and Bennington Counties
- Worked with other House and Senate colleagues to extend developing work on state budget accountability practices and metrics
- Preventing an expedited, top down, regional form of municipal governance from being imposed prior to gauging local municipal demand for regional government
- Requiring a study of the adequate cost of providing an education to a Vermont student which has led to development of significant special education cost savings proposals
- Ensuring that education cost containment measures were both meaningful and fair in that they required financial restraint from schools of all sizes, and not exclusively our smallest rural schools
There are numerous ongoing challenges that need significant work including ensuring health reform initiatives are functioning and properly budgeted for, monitoring the educational governance changes envisioned as part of Act 46 to make sure they result in improved and equitable opportunities for all Vermont students and continuing to push for real property tax reform measures. In addition, we need to prioritize the development of a continuous assessment, development, and investment program for connectivity for all Vermonters. Future opportunity for existing and new Vermonters relies on our ability to sustain and grow a globally connected and low environmental impact economy.
Next year will see a historical change in leadership of state government with a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Senate President, and many long time House members retiring. I am running for re-election to the Windham-Bennington House seat and hope to work with this new leadership on these and other issues important to our district and to the state. Over the course of the election season I look forward to being out in our towns and at local events hoping to hear from you on the issues most important to you, your family and your business. You can keep track of what I am working on, or where I will be on my website http://www.laurasibiliavt.com and social media.
Thank you for your support, your questions and the knowledge you shared with me, about issues you care about, during the past two years. As always, please be in touch with questions, comments or if I may be able to assist you in navigating our government systems for solutions to challenges at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 802-384-0233.