For the past several years the Vermont Legislature has had great difficulty passing laws that effectively deal with the issues facing Vermonters.
Efforts to create good jobs, provide preschool to children who live in poverty, enable low income students to access college classes, and control the continuing increase in property taxes have fallen well short of their goals.
Mandates to improve coordination and cooperation between social service agencies have not been successful, to the point where a principal seeking support and protection for a bruised seven year old who doesn’t want to go home after school for fear of being killed by a parent cannot get a response from Child and Family Services and has to call the police to get a judge to intervene.
Act 46, a law intended to eliminate local school boards and institute centralized control, has divide communities and school boards across the state. The headlong rush to qualify for the tax breaks contained in the law must be slowed down. Deadlines need to be pushed back a year so communities have time to explore reforms that are best for children, not just superintendents.
Attempts to finally make it legal for adults to grow small amounts of cannabis for personal use have been overrun by efforts to create a profitable monopoly and a state bureaucracy to regulate it.
Real Understanding is Needed at the Local Level
Although these are complex and entrenched problems, there are programs and public policies that have proven effective in addressing them. Unfortunately, rather than obtaining advice from people working in these fields and taking the time to fully understand these issues, our state government has chosen to listen to the lobbyists who have overrun the State House promoting the narrow interests of their employers. They rely on agency bureaucrats who often have little real understanding of what is needed at the local level.
Our children still leave Vermont to find good jobs, our population continues to age despite an ongoing influx of young people who appreciate the beauty, creativity and healthfulness of our communities. The growth in the number of children living in poverty continues unabated despite the efforts of hundreds of individuals and organizations around the state, and property taxes hamper our growth and opportunity. The seemingly unstoppable growth of opiate abuse is accelerating this trend.
Dave Schoales Makes a Difference
I have always looked to the future when serving on boards and committees, and at the same time I have worked independently to get things done in a way that makes a real difference, including:
- hiring preferences for local residents on town projects
- energy audits and upgrades to reduce school and town costs
- leading the effort to cover the county landfill with solar panels (savings towns and taxpayers millions over the life of the project
- getting the town schools to use lower cost solar electricity and pettet boilers
- lobbying to make sure local experts and contractors get contracts for public projects in towns and schools across the county.