The primary is tomorrow—Tuesday the 14th—and I’m filled with such incredible gratitude for the team we’ve put together.
We need to have the courage to listen deeply, to go into the community, sit on doorsteps, and say “What matters to you?” That’s what it’s going to take for Vermont government to be the participatory democracy that we say it is.
It’s going to take each of us stripping away our righteousness and walking towards each other, with questions, with coalitions, and with excitement for this new future.
The way I see it, good policy is built of three threads: what researchers can tell us (evidence-based practices), what people who implement policy can tell us (professional experience), and what communities can tell us (lived experience). I’ve built a career on listening, on making spaces for people to speak, and on finding strategies at the intersection of these three threads.
Sometimes it helps to speak the language of the people in power, or at least the people you are speaking to, so let’s make the case for an increased minimum wage and paid family leave using Governor Scott’s own words and logic:
Happy Mother’s Day! I’m running for office because I’m a mother. But not simply because I want to make the world a better place for my son—I think he’ll do that quite well himself....
I was proud of my state these last few weeks, as student activists made their voices heard, and our legislature listened: quickly passing a series of new measures to increase the safety of our gun culture. When we talk about guns in Vermont we often get into the same conversation about “here and away” or “the way things were.” Sometimes we enter the national dialogue and start talking about “rights.” These are all perfect frames to unpack and ask ourselves questions like “whose history?” and “whose rights”? What did the Abenaki think of those guns? Do we hear the stories of mothers whose sons and fathers shot themselves, or the thousands and thousand of women who have been threatened—“kept in line” by guns throughout Vermont history?