Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rep. Mark Higley (R-Lowell), who represents the Orleans-Lamoille District in the Vermont House of Representatives. It is co-signed by current and former legislators listed below.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented public health and economic challenges for the people of Vermont. Vermonters have lost their lives, many have lost access to healthcare services, one in four are now unemployed, and too many families are struggling with hunger and food shortage. The true extent of this devastation will only become clear over the next several months.
I believe the crisis will either mark a turning point for Vermont or the point of no return. This makes the 2020 elections all the more consequential. We need to elect candidates who have the competence and courage to tackle the challenges ahead with fresh solutions that prioritize Vermont’s workers and middle and working class families. I am asking for your endorsement and support for Meg Hansen, who is running for Lieutenant Governor.
I have known Meg for several years now, since her efforts working with the House Republican Caucus where she helped us reach out to our constituents. A passionate woman with an immigrant background, she represents the next generation of diverse and devoted public servants. I learned of her unique life story as well, which speaks to the strength of her character. It is marked by resilience in the face of tragic loss, courage to forge an independent path despite adversity, and immense gratitude for being a part of the American story.
As a member of Vermont’s Medical Reserve Corps, Meg is assisting with COVID-19 testing at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. She is medically trained and has investigated Vermont’s powerful healthcare bureaucracy well enough to understand how we can overcome our broken healthcare and health insurance systems. She also owns a small communications firm through which she engages in various local volunteering and entrepreneurial efforts.
Vermonters want lawmakers to cut government spending to address the budget shortfall caused by the ongoing economic shutdown. A Representative from the Northeast Kingdom and US Navy veteran, I understand the struggles of my constituents to make ends meet and how government policies, taxes, and over-regulation hurt them. The pandemic has worsened these hardships. Meg understands this as well. But Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (P/D- Chittenden) does not.
This must be why Ashe and other Democratic and Progressive Party politicians are in favor of tax hikes. When Ashe asked of all Vermonters, “Tell us the programs you want to get rid of,” Meg responded by asking him to tell us, the people of Vermont, what parts of our household budgets should we scrap to afford new tax increases. We need this brand of representation and advocacy for Vermont families and workers in Montpelier.
Vermonters are known for our hard work ethic, independence, and respect and appreciation for the land and environment. Meg’s campaign priorities symbolize all of what will make Vermont a vibrant and flourishing state. 1) Empowered working and middle class families that have access to different forms of productive labor, and freedom to make choices in health care and education. 2) A pro-business climate, and a growing and diversified economy where all Vermonters can create prosperity and own property. 3) A transparent government that fulfills its debt obligations, and is held accountable for its actions.
As a lawmaker, I have been promoting the same priorities and trying, respectfully for years, to encourage the legislative majority to adopt them. I recognize the importance of sharing this message, and vision of prosperity for all Vermonters, far and wide through a statewide campaign. Meg Hansen needs all our support. Let’s elect Meg to help us move Vermont forward in making our state a prosperous place to live and work for all.
Rep. Steve Adams (Hartland, West Windsor)
Rep. Robert Bancroft (Westford, Essex)
Rep. Larry Fiske (Enosburgh, Montgomery)
Rep. Douglas Gage (Rutland City)
Rep. Robert Helm (Castleton, Fair Haven, Rutland, West Haven)
Rep. Ronald E. Hubert (Milton)
Rep. Gary Nolan (Elmore, Morristown, Woodbury, Worcester)
Rep. Albert Pearce (Highgate, Franklin, Berkshire, Richford)
Rep. Brian Smith (Derby, Holland, Morgan, Charleston, Brownington)
Rep. Harvey Smith (New Haven, Weybridge, Bridport)
Rep. Job Tate (Killington, Chittenden, Mendon, Bridgewater)
Rep. Gary Viens (Newport Town, Newport City, Coventry, Irasburg)
Rep. Janssen Willhoit (St. Johnsbury)
Wendy Wilton (former Rutland County senator)