The coronavirus has upended the way we learn about candidates running for office. We’re limited in being able to talk to them directly. There are no crowds, which subtract from the energy. Most Vermonters are singularly focused on surviving; parsing through a candidate’s positions takes a se…

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When campaigning on the issues does not work for a candidate, step two is to discredit the opposition. That is the step Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe has taken with Molly Gray, his most serious rival in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

In the 1960s, the Canadian government inaugurated a monthly quota system for its dairy farmers and today those farmers say that if it weren’t for the supply management system the dairy industry in Canada would not exist.

In mid-July the state of Vermont issued the guidance our school boards were to follow as they cobbled together plans to start the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance was not prescriptive; like the flippers on a pin ball machine, it was meant to keep things centered, with no one going off kil…

Gov. Phil Scott is offering hints that instead of asking Vermonters to wear masks, he may require them to. Let’s hope so. It’s a small ask, with potentially huge returns.

The most popular tagline for public figures running for office in Vermont is the call to hold down property taxes, which is another way of addressing the high cost of the state’s school system.

As we debate the role of School Resource Officers [SROs] in our local schools it’s important to recognize the opportunity it presents, an opportunity that takes advantage of our small size, the closeness of our community, and our reputation for transparency, tolerance and open-mindedness. Th…

Vermont’s hospitals have lost $107 million so far this fiscal year, an amount over eight months that has sent shudders of alarm throughout the health care community and its regulators.

David Hemingway explained more than he perhaps intended when quoted as saying he wanted Swanton to be the “quiet sleepy New England Town” it’s always been, and that he just wants “peace.”

It is easy to rag on Vermont. The cold. Taxes. High costs. Lack of diversity. No sun. But as the state with the least number of Covid-19 cases, and a state generally regarded as the safest, we’re looking pretty good. We’re not a state full of fools who have yet to figure out that masks are f…

Political candidates come in two stripes: The first is someone who has the vision to see the world about them, the humility to understand the needs of others, the energy to drive change and the persistence to weather the opposition. The second is someone who puts themselves at the center, wh…

Four decades ago, St. Albans had two hospitals. The first was the St. Albans Hospital, located where Bellows Free Academy is today. The second was the Kerbs Memorial Hospital, built in 1948, on upper Fairfield Street. It soon became impractical for a community of our size to have two competi…

Sophie Zdatny was named chancellor of the Vermont State College system on Monday. She has been in the role as in interim chancellor since April. She had been VSC’s general counsel and is regarded as someone who is a talented collaborator, a strong negotiator and someone committed to a sound …

The Covid-19 pandemic has made politicking a struggle, like striking steel against the flint hoping an errant spark will catch the kindling afire. In the Democratic gubernatorial primary it’s been particularly tough for the two main challengers, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and former Secretary …

The Scott administration, led by Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith, is set to begin parceling out $275 million to the state’s health care system. The money, part of the federal stimulus package, is intended to help repair the damage incurred by the Covid-19 crisis. Vermont’s hosp…

Within the next month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont will appear before the Green Mountain Care Board to present its proposed budget and to, most probably, defend a request for a rate increase. Wrapped inside that request will be last week’s news that the company lost $40.6 million, or 5…

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman Tuesday embraced a report by State Auditor Doug Hoffer raising questions about the efficacy of Vermont’s All-Payer Accountable Care Organization [ACO] and whether the relationship between the ACO and the Green Mountain Care Board is in the best interest of Vermonters.

Teachers in Vermont will return to work mid-August, with their students following the week after. That’s roughly six weeks away. The Vermont-NEA is questioning whether our schools will be ready and it’s asking for a commission to put together a plan that meets the needs of educators, parents…

When former education secretary Rebecca Holcombe took aim at her Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman for being an anti-vaxxer it seemed an unusual tact; gubernatorial primaries typically focus on baseline issues, not whether Vermonters should be able to opt out of vaccinations.

Vermont’s students are set to begin school in the fall as they would in past years with the requirements being that their temperatures are checked daily and that the staff wear masks. Schools are also required to amp up their monitoring and to have the necessary cleaning supplies and protect…

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Just when the presidential campaign of Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders was on the verge of being unstoppable, the South Carolina primary happened. The influential endorsement of House Majority Whip James Clyburn — who called Mr. Sanders an “extra burden” for Democrats to carry - pulled the sta…

Thursday, the Vermont House voted 129-16 against a proposed amendment to strip state employees of the wage increases that were to go into effect for the next two years, beginning in July. Fair enough. These were negotiated increases before the Covid-19 crisis and in a time of sky high unempl…

The nation’s hospitals [including Vermont’s] suffered grievously during the pandemic as its services were shut down, but the patients that fill their beds and line up for their scheduled visits apparently did not suffer, raising questions about whether the health care system we’ve built is n…

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch Monday stood on Church Street in Burlington and spoke in support of a $120 billion relief package for the nation’s restaurant industry. The legislation is particularly appealing to Vermont, which recently reported 13,000 fewer restaurant jobs than a year ago; …

Vermont legislators are pushing a package of police reform measures intended to be passed by this Friday, the date being set for adjournment until August when legislators address the FY2021 budget.

The Vermont Legislature is on the verge of approving $300 million to shore up the state’s health care industry. The money is a significant portion of the $1.25 billion Vermont has received from the federal CARES Act and is intended to fill the financial holes caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

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If the average Vermonter were to have been asked a week ago whether a business had the right to fire an employee for being gay or transgender, most would have answered no, thinking the issue had been settled long ago. But until Monday, it was legal in more than half the states to fire worker…

Talk about a gift. Talk about an idea that should be emulated by others who have the means. Talk about a proposal that could make a life long difference to those involved, and to Vermont as a whole.

A proposal to cut 20 percent of the Vermont State Police budget has been urged by three progressive Vermont lawmakers, which would amount to almost $13 million. The proposed cut accompanies a similar effort in Burlington; there is a push there to also cut the city’s police force. Other citie…

The Saint Albans City Council is saddened and outraged by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. We stand in solidarity with our community, and people across the country, stating unequivocally that black lives matter. The Council supports the peaceful protest of system…

As the controversy swirls about how to reform the nation’s police forces, including Vermont’s, with a growing chorus favoring a cut in police budgets, it’s worth noting that on a per capita basis the United States employs about 35 percent fewer police officers than other nation’s worldwide.

Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce and former chancellor of the University of Maine system James Page have concluded the Vermont State College system will need anywhere from $19 million to $46 million to make it through the next school year. Legislators were advised by Ms. Pearce to aim clo…

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As the weather gets warmer, Vermonters are comforted by the simple pleasures of summer, among them, fun with friends at Vermont country fairs and festivals. My own family has enjoyed fairs all over the state year after year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused this summer’s fairs and festival…

For every dollar Vermonters send to the federal government we get back $1.14 in federal funding. It’s one of the metrics used that put us in the top ranks of states most dependent on the federal government. We are also highly dependent on tourism, which accounts for six percent of our econom…

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A veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis city council Sunday voted to defund its police department. It will instead spend the money on a new system to address public safety. What is to be done in Minneapolis is also on the minds of activists nationally and is a core social media response to …

It’s being called the “Covid-slide.” It began mid-March when the schools were shut down and teachers and their students were sent home and expected to keep the learning process alive and well remotely.

When it became apparent the state would lose upwards of $400 million in revenue for the next fiscal year, the Scott administration was prudent and asked state agencies to cut spending by two percent, or $32 million through July, August and September. House lawmakers Wednesday reversed those …

It is hard to feel anything other than despair. We watch as the nation spirals downward following the senseless murder of George Floyd beneath the knee of a Minneapolis policeman. We watch helpless as the world sees us a nation that has lost its moral bearing and its worthiness to be followed.

Gov. Phil Scott has announced his intentions to run for a third term, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the only departure from the norm is that he will not hire a campaign staff, raise any money, or begin to actively campaign for the office until Vermont’s “state of emergency” is over.

Our struggle against Covid-19 has produced one example after another as to how the very few do so much for the rest of us. Even when they did not have to, when there were easier alternatives.

It’s been made clear in Vermont, as elsewhere, that we have more fault lines than we knew existed, courtesy of the pandemic. Margins were wafer thin; what we assumed was robust wasn’t. Now, we are having to choose what must be let go, and what can be salvaged, and what can be not only salvag…

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The Center for Disease Control reports that on a 10-year average Vermont loses 57 people a year to seasonal flu. The total deaths in Vermont from Covid-19 stands at 54, with seven months left. Keeping the case numbers low, and, hence the rate of mortality low, is our overriding objective. It…

Now the fun starts. Gov. Phil Scott Wednesday proposed a $400 million recovery package intended to provide essential relief to businesses laid low by the Covid-19 pandemic, including housing and agriculture. The proposal goes to the Legislature, where it will be reviewed, tweaked, or redone …

South Burlington has passed a resolution requiring people to wear masks in city-owned buildings. Burlington has done the same, but has added the requirement for customers in retail stores. Legislative leaders in Montpelier are pondering whether to pass legislation that would require all Verm…

Vermont reports, again, no new cases of the coronavirus and no new deaths even as the number of tests has increased. By anyone’s definition that should be good news, which gives Gov. Phil Scott the momentary freedom to say Vermont’s the “envy of the nation.”

When talented leaders leave their positions, it’s important to recognize their work, and what they have added to a community’s value. It’s an process that should be dressed in reflection and perspective and a sense of good will. It’s this exercise that allows us to plan with our eyes wide op…

Sometimes is as valuable to know what not to do as what to do. The Scott administration’s proposal to have all Vermont’s school districts schedule revotes on their budgets, and to have the revotes complete by late summer or early fall, is an example of what not to do.

The heads of Vermont’s agencies and departments have been instructed to put together three-month budgets for fiscal 2021 and to do so budgeting at 23 percent of their fiscal 2020 level. If the economy continues to sink and if the percentage cut is maintained for the remainder of the fiscal y…

The coronavirus has infected the University of Vermont’s finances to the tune of at least $15 million, and potentially double that if fall enrollment figures fall short of expectations. UVM, like all other universities, is putting in place plans to cut costs where possible, not unlike the ex…

The political picture is a lot less clear than most people believe, and that applies to Vermont as well as it does nationally, the reason being that the havoc wreaked by Covid-19 is not fully understood and voters are, by nature, fickle. States are just now budgeting for the next year and wh…