Lt. Gov. Molly Gray: We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do things differently

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray.

A year and a half after the onset of the pandemic, Vermont remains in the midst of ongoing recovery efforts. While there is so much uncertainty about the future, one thing we can be sure of is that our state is in a unique position to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.

Thanks to the hard work of our Congressional delegation, Vermont is set to receive $2.7 billion in federal aid through the American Rescue Plan as well as potential additional funds from the Build Back Better Agenda.

We have a responsibility to ensure these one-time funds result in lasting investments for our working families, communities, and future generations of Vermonters.

Molly Gray

Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray

From the day I took office, my commitment has been to give Vermonters a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation. For that reason, my focus since the legislature adjourned in May has been the Recover Stronger Tour, where I spend time meeting directly with Vermonters impacted by the pandemic. Here are some of the top concerns shared with me over the past two months:

Housing

Like so many, I’ve been a renter all my adult life, and know first-hand how expensive it is. But the pandemic has made things worse. It’s no secret that Vermont is also facing a workforce shortage, and the two are clearly connectedVermonters are struggling to live where they work and work where they live. The Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) shared that in August, they had just three available apartments in their nearly 300 unit portfolio. Only one of these units was subsidized, and LHP received 71 applications for this single unit. Overall, LHP’s waiting list runs 486 applicants deep. Meanwhile, Mark Frier, owner of several Stowe and Waterbury establishments, is one of many employers around the state who has spoken candidly with me about his struggle to find restaurant staff and cooks. The main issue? Housing is simply no longer available or affordable for working Vermonters in the Stowe area. In order to begin addressing this crisis, Vermont must commit to a state-wide housing audit to determine the scope of the issue.

Childcare

While it’s always been a struggle for Vermont families to find and afford childcare, the pandemic has only exacerbated the crisis. In South Hero, I met with a woman named Molly, who had to leave a job that she loved because the cost of childcare for her three children was simply too much to afford during the pandemic. Molly is one of the 5 million American women who left the workforce this year in large part due to caregiving responsibilities. While up in St. Albans, I met with the incredible employees at Northwestern Counseling & Support Services (NCSS) who shared that in the 900 square miles served by NCSS, there were only 44 total openings for childcare; 17 of which were slots for infants and toddlers. Addressing this childcare crisis will require that we pay childcare providers what they deserve and provide loan forgiveness for those who choose a career in early education.

Mental Health

We know all too well that the pandemic has exacerbated the need for mental health and support services, but the demands on providers are reaching unimaginable levels. Clinicians I met with at the Howard Center, Health Care & Rehabilitation Services (HCRS), Spectrum Youth and Family Services, and at the Central Vermont Hospital, all spoke about the rapid rise in Vermonters, especially young people, in need of mental health and support services. Resources are stretched incredibly thin, while organizations with dwindling numbers of staff struggle to meet increasing caseloads. Staff were clear that in order to attract and retain workers, their organizations need sustained funding and a cost of living adjustment that’s included in state funding.

Telehealth

I cannot name a single community from Weston to West Danville where I have not heard how a lack of broadband access has directly impacted the daily lives of Vermonters. What has surprised me most, however, is the extent to which patients and providers alike have come to rely on telehealth to access and provide health care, including mental health and support services. When asked about the greatest barrier to care for clients at HCRS in Springfield, Warren Sergent, the Informations Systems Director was unequivocal, “broadband.” I heard the same from the leaders at Rutland Regional Medical Center who explained that while telehealth is not right for every patient, for every patient it must be a right. Closing the broadband gap must include permanent coverage for telehealth for Vermonters along with the tools and training necessary to access care.

Strategic investments in these areas are paramount. While daunting, these challenges are not insurmountable. We have before us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do things differently.

My Recover Stronger Tour is far from over and will continue in communities throughout the fall. As I continue to assess the need and prepare recommendations for the Legislature, Governor, and Congressional delegation, I want to hear from you. To share your ideas, you can contact me directly via my official website or follow along at @LtGovGray.

Image courtesy of Molly Gray

19 thoughts on “Lt. Gov. Molly Gray: We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do things differently

  1. Hi Lt Governor Gray,

    Would you care to speak about your eligibility to even hold this office? You have not met the bar set by the constitution. Would you be willing to get a judge to rule on this?

    You know you didn’t qualify, and people were too scared to bring it up. Press covered your back quite well, along with many in the GOP. Will you be representing Vermonters or the United Nations?

  2. All you need to know is in this quote from Lt. Governor Gray.

    “We have a responsibility to ensure these one-time funds result in lasting investments for our working families, communities, and future generations of Vermonters.”

    “Investments” is the democratic code word for more taxes and larger government programs.

    • Not necessarily more taxes (before the 2124 election). The Federal government under Trump and Biden both sell debt on the global market, and spread trillions of dollars of the proceeds around so states can “invest” in all sorts of things, some of them desirable. But when the Federal cornucopia runs dry, where is the money going to come from to keep these wonderful things coming?.

  3. It is not just businesses being over-taxed/over-regulated, i.e., castrated to weaken it, so it will be subservient to Dem/Progs.

    The US Media and the USPS were mis-used by Dem/Progs to steal the 2020 election, to grab absolute power over the US government.
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/preperation-of-288-000-mail-in-ballots-in-bethpage-ny-for-use-in

    The Dem/Progs do not like the US Media being such a dangerous/powerful rival.

    The US Media will get their turn in the barrel, so they too can be screwed over by the Socialist/Communist Dem/Progs currently running the US government, which, after just a few Biden-in-the-basement months, is already driving the economy into ruination, goosing illegal immigration, to unprecedented heights, to alter the US demographics in their favor.

    Giving these extremist Dem/Prog folks $3.5 TRILLION, plus $1.2 TRILLION, plus whatever else, to play their ill-fated/wasteful, Build-Back-Better games, would be suicidal for the US.

    A united effort is required to take back the House and Senate in 2022, to derail this un-American freight-train.

    Obsequious, RINO-run businesses will be threatened as well.
    Hopefully, they too will see the handwriting on the wall.

  4. Well, let’s see just how long it takes to squander this windfall, Ms. Molly how about getting
    the state out of debt and its unfunded liabilities before you liberals decide we need more
    ponies for the circus under the” Gloden Doom “…………

  5. Miss Molly, Miss Molly.
    Your grooming is showing.
    That’s great for your corporate lobbyist buddies.
    I’m sure you got a great ‘perk’ for writing this corporate fascist propaganda.
    Hope that works for ya and your kids grow up healthy and strong.
    That you come from one of three cities in Vermont directly tied through fiduciary to the UN Sustainability Agenda Sustainable Goal Development shoulda’ been a clue, I admit.

  6. The comments are a near-uniform condemnation of GRAY’s extreme-leftist, Dem/Prog, GOVERNMENT approach regarding BBB.

    That approach is doomed to fail big-.time

    I very much hope enough people vote to get a lot of those leftist Dem/Prog folks out of office.

    However, Vermont has UNIVERSAL BALLOT MAIL-IN, plus UNIVERSAL BALLOT HARVESTING, both of which will be used, as much as possible, by Dem/Prog-controlled counting centers to “decide” close election races, as was the case in various US states in 2020.

    In 2020, about 15 MILLION votes were counted in EXCESS of what traditional statistical analyses would predict, i.e., these are “unexplainable” votes.

    Those votes likely were “made-up” in a multitude of ways, which are slowly being revealed, due to forensic examination of election data.

    It will take time and effort, but, eventually all will be known.

  7. It appears Gray has not a clue what it takes to have a viable, profitable PRIVATE SECTOR.

    The private sector creates jobs, only if it is profitable to do so, whereas Dem/Prog politicians create subsidized jobs, if it is leading to government programs for “needy, gimme, gimme” folks, who will vote Dem/Prog.

    The private sector pays for EVERYTHING, except for the $BILLION DOLLAR federal handouts Vermont receives EACH year, which help pay for a lot of horse-manure programs Dem/Progs have come up with, over the past 30 years.

    The Vermont cost of living is TWENTY PERCENT higher than the US cost of living, which is largely due to inefficient GOVERNMENT investments in programs, that have poor, but expensive outcomes.

    Vermont has near the HIGHEST EDUCATION COST per student, with average outcomes
    Vermont has near the HIGHEST HEALTH CARE COST per patent
    Vermont has near the HIGHEST GOVERNMENT SPENDING per capita

    These three are the main culprits regarding Vermont being near the low end regarding income per capita.

    VERMONT NEEDS TO TRIM ABOUT $1.5 TO $2.0 BILLION FROM ITS ANNUAL BUDGET TO GET WELL AGAIN, PLUS IT NEEDS TO HAVE MUCH MORE LOCAL CONTROL, INSTEAD OF CENTRALIZED COMMAND/CONTROL

  8. It should be clear now the Democrat Party has morphed into the party of tyranny, treason, and corruption. Throw in the equally guilty RINOs and the uniparty is exposed. The main goal is to destroy the USA and every American who disagrees. Every institution in the country is corrupted and compromised by a sick syndicate of evil actors who will do anything to remain in power and control every facet of life. There is no other word for these people. They are evil and they will never give up on their evil plans.

  9. It’s amazing how the Liberals want to fix problems that they continue to create. Child care was more affordable until they got their hands on it and mandated so many requirements it put so many out of business. The issues with housing is the simple fact that the State of VT has such high property taxes it requires landlords to raise rents. Its the lefts constant smoke show to look away from their own mess to create more Government programs we can’t afford.

  10. New’s flash for Molly dear, the reason EVERYTHING is so expensive in Vermont
    is because your leftist buds have made it more expensive… A one time influx of money the federal government can ill afford isn’t going to fix crap.. your idea is to study it to death then keep on a doing what leftist pukes do… spend like drunken sailors on their unsustainable feelz good policies..What’s needed is ol time
    Vermont frugality and common sense and way less leftists…

  11. I ripped up three “stimulus” checks that I really could have used because I wanted to be able to look into the eyes of my nieces and nephews,. I think on behalf of our children and their children – we should send that money back and figure out how to live within our means. Stop paying pensions to our state workers that NO business would ever give an employee because they would go out of business. I met a teacher who had three months of vacation to use up at the end of their career. In everyone else’s world – if you don’t use vacation you lose it. I’ve done the three job thing and the two job thing. Stop making it so hard to build in Vermont – get rid of the burdensome regulations, insist that people work for benefits and have major limits to them. Like my Mom used to say – you’ve got to figure out your own life. Molly Gray is another useless politician who will do NOTHING to improve any of the issues she lists and can only do anything with borrowed money. Wow Molly Bid Damned Deal. A third grader could do that.

  12. Holy crow, this is such BS. Where the hell does she think this money is really coming from ? The share of the federal debt that the ARPA bill and the “infrastructure” fantasies that the left wants will hang Vermonters with a huge increase in their share of the debt. And the money that will come from tax revenues will now come from only a little more than of third of “taxpayers”.

    What is it with these people? They are gushing over all this free money as if it is theirs to do with as they wish. This money is meant to plug holes in revenues, not create new entitlements.

  13. “The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.”

    That’s from Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum. Sounds quite similar to “Build Back Better,” does it not? Interesting how “BBB” has been parroted by virtually every leader of an advanced nation, as if they all got the same script.

    Schwab is the same guy who also said, “What the fourth industrial revolution will lead to is a fusion of our physical, digital and biological identity.” Transhumanism is his M.O.

    Lt. Gov. Gray needs to see things from a higher altitude, because “Build Back Better” is not what it seems. It’s a Trojan Horse.

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/

  14. This country’s national debt is currently about $28 trillion and growing. There is no plan how on how to repay it, while Joe Biden wants to add another $7 trillion to the ledger with his Build Back Better program. All of this at a time when this country is experiencing the highest and worse rate of inflation in the past 40 years.

    So Molly Gray jumps on the debt bandwagon and roots for the additional spending with no consideration of how this money is to be paid or how it will impact inflation and Vermonters…….This is what happens when individuals with little real life experience prematurely get into office……..We all pay the price.

  15. Re: “…one thing we can be sure of is that our state is in a unique position to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever” because “…Vermont is set to receive $2.7 billion in federal aid”.

    I almost stopped reading Ms. Gray’s missive at this point. But my curiosity got the better of me.

    Ms. Gray continued: “We have a responsibility to ensure these one-time funds result in lasting investments for our working families, communities, and future generations of Vermonters.”

    Yep. I agree.

    Housing
    “Vermont must commit to a state-wide housing audit to determine the scope of the issue.”

    Childcare
    “Addressing this childcare crisis will require that we pay childcare providers what they deserve and provide loan forgiveness for those who choose a career in early education.”

    Mental Health
    While “Resources are stretched incredibly thin, …..in order to attract and retain workers, their organizations need sustained funding and a cost of living adjustment that’s included in state funding.”

    Telehealth
    “Strategic investments in these areas are paramount. While daunting, these challenges are not insurmountable. We have before us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do things differently.”

    Notice anything missing here folks?

    Not a word about reforming Vermont’s ballooning State Employee and Teacher pension program liabilities. Just more studies, paying what people deserve (whatever that is), loan forgiveness, sustained funding and cost of living ‘adjustments’ (i.e. increases), and other ‘strategic investments’. With a $5.6 Billion pension shortfall currently facing Vermont, this latest Federal injection would only cover half of it. And this is how Ms. Gray proposes “…to ensure these one-time funds result in lasting investments for our working families, communities, and future generations of Vermonters.”

    Oh, okay. What happened to the Build Back Better Agenda? Click the link. “MORE JOBS. TAX CUTS. LOWER COSTS.”

    Who does Ms. Gray think she’s kidding?

    It’s you, of course, that’s who.

  16. Wow. The headline says it all.
    Does this woman not realize that for over a generation, Vermont has been ruled (not governed) by people that think like she does? And for a good part of this generation, her party has ruled by a super-majority?
    For her to do as the headline states would be the opposite of what’s written in her flowery press release. This one time hemorrhage of borrowed money comes at a steep price to future generations, Ms. Gray. As to her talking points, each listed in the press release has been negatively impacted by the Vermont Legislature within the last decade. Child Care, Housing, Mental health and the infrastructure that make Tele-health possible all were negatively impacted by members of your party. To do things differently would be to spend less, repeal the laws and regulations your party and the socialists placed on Vermont and that Ms. Gray, I’m certain you will not do.

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