Vermont Emerges as a Guiding Star for Massachusetts, New Hampshire

From 2002 until last year, Vermont's republican governor vetoed almost all of the major initiatives passed by the state's progressive legislature. In January, governor Peter Shumlin, a democrat who lives near Brattleboro, took office. Already, Vermont is setting an example for Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Under Shumlin's leadership, Vermont has moved decisively to join Europe and Canada in enacting single-payer health care; to close the decrepit Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, located a few miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire; to build attractive, energy efficient, affordable apartment buildings in the state's downtowns; and to stop sprawl by permanently protecting farm- and forest-land.

At the national level, U.S. senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has spearheaded the push for locally owned news media. Sanders will speak at a public event on this issue in Boston on April 8: http://conference.freepress.net

On March 24, the Vermont house voted for single-payer health care. The senate president has vowed to follow suit in the coming weeks. Shumlin says he will sign the bill; he campaigned on this issue. The insurance industry is lobbying to water down or kill the legislation. A major rally is set for May 1 at the capitol in Montpelier: www.workerscenter.org/may12011

“This is great news,” Adam Necrason said of Shumlin's proposal to fully fund Vermont's affordable housing and land protection program; he spoke recently with the Valley Post. Necrason is a lawyer www.snlawvt.com and volunteer with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition. From 2002 until 2010, Vermont's governor proposed zero spending on the program. Shumlin's budget, to be voted on by the legislature in the coming weeks, proposed $12.6 million. The Coalition doesn't yet have a web site, but several of its member groups do:

www.nature.org

www.vlt.org

www.hvt.org

More information on this issue is at www.valleypost.org/category/article-tags/valley-land-use-map

More information on the fight to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power reactor is at www.valleypost.org/node/541

Shumlin has so far resisted calls from members of the Progressive party like state senator Anthony Pollina to act more like Robin Hood in his tax policies: www.ProgressiveParty.org Shumlin has not raised taxes on the richest Vermonters; his budget cuts funding for mental health care for poor people.

Comments

Shumlin is working on getting

Shumlin is working on getting Amtrak trains to run direct from New York City and the Valley (Springfield, Mass.; Northampton, Greenfield, and Brattleboro) to Montreal, Canada. Amtrak currently stops on the U.S. side of the border in St. Albans, Vermont. From there, passengers must take a bus to Montreal.

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