I was not able to attend the ‘Meet and Greet’ at the Pownal Elementary School on Tuesday, Feb 27. Here is the 3 minute statement that was read on my behalf:
My family has called Pownal home since the 50’s, and Vermont home for centuries.
Over the last year, I have become more involved in town politics due to my concern over what I see as the growing divide between certain factions in town as evidenced in the vision of the town plan which has a lopsided focus on the arts. This mostly socio-economic divide has created an emerging culture that embraces the vision of a few over the needs of us, the silent majority. What I see is a massive disconnect between the needs of the working class and those that have affluence who are able to live here with financial security.
Common solutions offered to struggling families are more state intervention, more social services, and more tax funded grants. Not only are these solutions mere band-aids to the needs of our citizens, the expansion of our state and local government is killing our economy. Forbes now ranks Vermont 48 out of 50 for economic outlook. Pownal needs jobs. We need large employers who offer not only entry level jobs but upward mobility, training and the kind of stability that helps struggling families meet their basic needs with a level of dignity not available from government programs.
A large employer will provide locals with more disposable income to be able to spend in local businesses. A small farm or food producer would have more opportunities to sell their goods when the base line standard of living is raised, and more people are coming to the area to work and live. Local electricians, plumbers and carpenters will have more opportunity for work when families have the income to be able to upgrade their homes. More disposable income will also create possibilities for working families to be able to afford dump fees, beautify their homes and properties and buy and maintain working vehicles.
People struggling to feed their children and maintain their living situations cannot be patrons of the arts in any way. When we try to improve our local economy by way of grants and government funding, we are using the tax money of these hard working Vermont families. The till will be empty if we do not also aggressively increase tax revenue through sources that will continue to generate money….not just spend it. Our current direction is NOT SUSTAINABLE.
The proposed town plan has 8 “requirements” that large employers would have to meet to be able to locate in Pownal. These are not just requirements, they are barriers. These barriers make it highly improbable that any large employer would ever come to Pownal again. This ensures that the only kind of employment that will be available in town is low paying with no upward mobility or benefits. This is detrimental to Pownal’s struggling families, who will either need to move to access real opportunity, or become dependent on welfare and subsidies.
Pownal citizens must have a stronger voice and less centralized control over the decisions that affect them. The people who live here are the best equipped to choose their town clerk, how their local school is run, and what kinds of businesses are allowed to exist here. We need to stop spending Pownal families’ precious tax dollars and instead create more revenue that will allow us to take care of infrastructure needs here in town.
These are my most pressing issues that I have chosen to campaign on. I also have many thoughts and ideas regarding other important questions, which I would be happy to answer and discuss.
In closing, I also want to take this opportunity to strongly recommend a ‘No’ vote on Article 28 to keep the town clerk an elected position. I enthusiastically endorse Julie Weber for that position.