♦ Vermont public policy that fosters prosperity for ALL Vermonters from every corner of the state and all walks of life.
♦ 21st Century economic policies that foster the creation of family-sustaining jobs, with environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and a desirable quality of life.
♦ Political discourse that is data-driven and puts progress ahead of partisanship.
♦ State and local governments that are transparent and accountable, fostering a political atmosphere, and an administrative and communications infrastructure that promotes and encourages an engaged and active electorate.
How we measure success:
Creating prosperity for ALL Vermonters
Vermont ranks 40th for cost of living in the US. Most northeastern states do not rank well under this metric, however nearly every one of them have a higher median income than Vermont. This means that while Vermont families have one of the highest costs of living in the country, they rank only slightly above the national average in household income. This inevitably means less discretionary spending on goods and services, recreation, and investment in property, and retirement than most Americans enjoy.
Vermont’s cost of living is currently 12% above the national average while household income is only 2% ahead of the country as a whole. Campaign for Vermont would like to see these two statistics converge. We need initiatives that will move our cost of living moving closer to the national average even as they help move effective household income to increase its margin above the national average.
CFV believes this is possible through targeted policy initiatives at workforce development, education, government accountability, and economic development focused on both our urbanized and rural populations.
Progress ahead of partisanship
CFV believes a non-partisan approach is critical to a healthy political discourse. Good ideas can, and do, come from anywhere. We need to be open to them.
Policy initiatives should be well thought through and have validated, comprehensive data supporting them. Too often our inadequately resourced lawmakers, dealing with insufficient or out-dated data, and under pressing time constraints, succumb to politically expediency and opt for the policy easiest to implement. This type of decision-making either reinforces the status quo or creates unnecessarily complicated, confusing, or inadequate legislation, failing to open up the discussion for real progress. CFV has and will continue to search for ways to engender fresh thinking in the law-making process and endeavor find ways to help lawmakers to set aside their political preconceptions and evaluate each policy proposal that comes before them with an open mind, no matter who proposes it.
As a measurement of bipartisanship we would look for fewer legislative votes split along party lines, with the goal of at least half of the bills introduced in the legislature to garner co-signers from both parties, and witness major Vermont political parties avoiding blanket statements about all members of an opposing party with the intent of forcing partisan divides.
A 21st Century Economy
It is well known that Vermont has a growing tech hub, but we need to focus on a strategy that allows for the creation of good-paying jobs across our state in both urban and rural settings to retain and attract talent. Vermont has 42,000 college students that move into the state every fall and every spring 10,000 of them graduate and start looking for jobs, yet Vermont’s employers are starving for qualified workers. We cannot stress enough the importance of connecting our institutions of higher learning with our employer base, this includes our private and public universities, state colleges, and technical education centers. An inadequate stock of workforce-priced housing is a serious barrier to retaining and attracting the talent the state needs. A major policy push is needed to catalyze the creation of workforce affordable housing.
A modern thriving and sustainable economy provides the state with revenue to reinvest in education, environmental, and social wellness programs that are so critical to our social contract. Without a strong economic base, meeting our social and environmental responsibilities will be difficult if not impossible. Building a viable economic base in a world experiencing unparalleled change in every sector of the human ecosphere will require fresh thinking with probing research into solutions being tried across the globe. We must seek out and borrow ideas and practices from successful 21st century initiatives wherever may find them.
Vermonters cherish a unique quality of life. Of course, most people have differing opinions on what quality of life is. Often it is a balance between a healthy society, civic engagement, the natural environment, recreational opportunities, cost of living, and economic prosperity. Essentially it is how happy one is with the lifestyle one is able to live. It is not just a nostalgic notion, indeed, it is something that Great Britain actually uses to evaluate government effectiveness. Visitors to Vermont recognize it and write about. Some, who have the means, move here and, if feasible move their business here with them. We must encourage this.
You can read more about our plan for a 21st century economy here: campaignforvermont.org/economic-development
An engaged and active electorate
Nothing is more critical to democracy than a participatory citizenry. Democracy does not work if the majority of its citizens stay home or do not make their voice heard. This is why CFV has chosen to be a voice for middle-class Vermonters – a demographic we believe to be under-represented in state politics. That being said, we will continue to encourage all Vermonters to be engaged and active in the political process.
CFV would like to see more attendance at town meeting day, legislative hearings open to the public, and engagement in online policy discussion forums.