Turner for lt. governor
Don Turner will be an outstanding lieutenant governor. We are very fortunate to have a person of Don’s caliber willing to serve the people of Vermont.
Over the last four years, I have gotten to know Don very well as we both served in the Vermont legislature. Don is a consensus builder and a natural leader. He is an effective communicator as well as a good listener. He is a man of unquestionable integrity.
Don has incredible energy. In addition to serving in the legislature he owns a real estate business and has been a member of the Milton Fire Department for 34 years. Since 2004, he has served as the chief of Milton’s fire and rescue departments. Earlier this year, he stepped down as chief to become Milton’s town manager. In the four years I have served with him, Don demonstrated the ability to multi-task.
The two most important issues to Don are 1) making Vermont affordable and 2) growing our economy. He understands that we need to reduce property taxes, which impacts both renters and homeowners. He is an advocate for building more affordable housing. If taxes are not reduced and affordable housing is not available, it is going to be a challenge to attract young adults to move here. Don also knows that unless we grow our economy, we are not going to generate suffient tax revenues to fund existing programs for the less fortunate, much less, institute new ones.
Please join me in voting for Don Turner as lieutenant governor. He assuredly will contribute to the well-being of all Vermonters
Rep. Bob Bancroft
Chittenden 8-3, Westford
Support for the speaker
Rural working-class districts of the state often feel that their concerns get lost in larger partisan squabbles and come in second place to the very real needs of Vermont’s most populous county. As current members of the House, both elected independents from rural Vermont, we’ve spent our time in the House advocating for fiscal responsibility, good governance and rural economic development efforts.
There has been no stronger ally in this effort than Mitzi Johnson. She has encouraged and supported a reinvigorated Rural Economic Development Caucus in the House. Like Mitzi, this tri-partisan group of legislators hail from the rural pockets and corners of Vermont and have focused our efforts on expanding telecommunications, supporting working lands and rural infrastructure. Mitzi has maintained a long-time emphasis on results-based accountability – and an insistence on tracking the impact of taxpayer dollars. This has been critical in the budget process and is helping prevent excess and wasteful spending throughout Vermont state government.
As Speaker of the House, Mitzi has emphasized participation from all members, regardless of party affiliation. As independents (the ultimate minority), we have appreciated her inclusive approach, and her emphasis on ensuring minority input into how the People’s House operates. To be clear, we have each come to different conclusions than Mitzi on some issues and have vigorously opposed a few efforts she supported. That being said, her presence in the House (and as speaker) is invaluable to the state of Vermont.
With a focus on accountability, process and inclusion, she has represented her district, and the rest of rural Vermont with force, grace and determination. She’s the type of politician we need more of in Montpelier and we urge the voters of Grand Isle County and West Milton to support her bid in November.
Rep. Ben Jickling
Rep. Laura Sibilia
Vote for the Morgans
Twenty-five years ago, we moved into our house in South Hero, a house that we helped design and build. Our income at the time was sufficient to cover our household expenses, including a mortgage. Several years later, the legislature passed the illegal Act 60 (the conference bill was amended) that created the statewide education property tax. John Labarge, representing Grand Isle County, tried to correct the inequities of this but was unsuccessful. Since then, no representative has even tried.
Every two years during her re-election campaigns, Rep. Mitzi Johnson talks about fixing Act 60/68, but after each re-election, she does nothing. She has made many votes that have made it worse, including restrictions on home values and household incomes for determining prebate qualifications. Act 60 also mandated that any surplus funds will be returned to the taxpayers. Instead, Mitzi has always voted to circumvent the mandate by creating new programs. All of her efforts have caused our homestead property taxes to increase 300 percent. As senior citizens on fixed income, our income has increased less than 50 percent. We have now been forced to leave South Hero and the home that we have loved for 25 years.
Once again this November, Mitzi Johnson and Ben Joseph will be talking about property taxes, but if re-elected, will again do nothing about correcting the inequities. Mitzi, especially, continues to talk the talk but will not walk the walk. This year we have two candidates from West Milton, Leland Morgan and Mike Morgan, who are committed to representing Grand Isle County and West Milton in Montpelier. This next session will have proposals for a carbon tax and the funding of $50 million per year for Lake Champlain cleanup. We already know how Mitzi and Ben will vote, only making matters worse. It is time that our representatives listen to the residents of our district and not the establishment in Montpelier. On November 6, please vote for Leland Morgan and Mike Morgan.
Supporting the Morgans
To the West Milton voters: I am supporting your neighbors, Mike and Lee Morgan. They are running for state representative for the Grand Isle and West Milton district.
There are a couple of topics I’d like to talk about. The first is our lake and working on cleaning it up. Rep. Ben Joseph added his “yes” vote when the legislature passed bill S.260 to raise $6.4 million primarily from increased state rooms and meals tax (from 9 percent to 9.25 percent). The rest would come from the recycle bottle deposit program. I don’t know what the cost to a farmer is to install a manure pit, but I know that I spent over $30,000 to install a state certified mound system. But the major cities to our south (the lake flows north) have dumped millions of gallons of partially treated and untreated sewage into the lake several times. Just imagine if that was an industry dumping contaminants into our lake. What do you think the fines would be? It just might cover that $6.4 million. Tourism is a major benefit to Vermont’s income structure, and we shouldn’t be making our state less attractive for tourist to come and visit.
At our South Hero Town Meeting last year Rep. Mitzi Johnson spoke about school funding and the direction that she saw as the future. Shifting the funding from property based taxation to income-based taxation. Act 60 was the first step of taking the control of our schools away from our community. I see this as the next step to having little to no say in education. Instead of just looking for more funds, we should be looking at the costs/benefit analysis. Our neighbor to the east (New Hampshire) ranked No. 1 in the nation for the services they received from the taxes they paid. Vermont scored 45th. In education they scored 9th and Vermont was 16th. It’s no time to be proud. If we don’t have the answer, look to those who do.
British author and philosopher C.S. Lewis wrote, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” After reading the ad that Michael and Leland Morgan ran in The Islander, I think they will get Vermont back on the right road.