We have this opportunity that I think [Woodstock Rep.] Charlie Kimbell said you don’t let a crisis go by without taking advantage of the opportunity. What an opportunity we have right now for so many important policies.”
– Rep.-Elect Erin Brady, Williston
By Guy Page
The Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity to accomplish longterm economic development and legislative goals, Vermont Democratic lawmakers said in a Dec. 5 caucus meeting.
The discussion occurred five hours, 18 minutes into the House Democratic Caucus meeting, held on Zoom and available on YouTube. Lightly edited by Vermont Daily below, Williston representative-elect Erin Brady and veteran Springfield lawmaker Alice Emmons are reporting to the caucus about their small group’s discussion:
Brady: “We had a very similar discussion….the same idea of short-term recovery springboarding to long-term economic development plan. So many of these issues” – citing broadband, childcare, state colleges, natural resources protection, racial and social equity – “are not new issues or Covid issues but they are amplified by Covid….We have this opportunity that I think [Woodstock Rep.] Charlie Kimbell said you don’t let a crisis go by without taking advantage of the opportunity. What an opportunity we have right now for so many important policies.”
Emmons (to Brady): “You summed it up well. It was good. All the individual pieces that are listed there, the first step is dealing with Covid recovery and doing it in the context of a longterm economic recovery solutions act. Your medium and longterm involve all of these subsets of what we are dealing with with Covid. You set the foundation of that with the Covid recovery. Then over the years, you build on that.”
Observing the discussion on YouTube, 2020 Republican Rutland County Senate nominee Terry Williams of Poultney told Vermont Daily that Brady seemed to be referencing a statement attributed to Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
“The legislature plans to carry on with what they did in 2020, using Coronavirus and Zoom to push out more intrusive and expensive state government,” Williams said. “The Vermont Legislature will be returning for the 2021-2022 biennium in just a few weeks. Ready for more big government?”
Other lawmakers and lawmakers-elect visible on the Zoom call and presumably listening included: likely House Speaker Jill Krowinski (Burlington), Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (Bradford), Tristan Toleno (Brattleboro), Carol Ode (Burlington), Martin LaLonde (South Burlington), Maida Townsend (S. Burlington), John Gannon (Wilmington), Sarah Coffey (Vernon), Scott Campbell (St. Johnsbury), Kristi Morris (Springfield), Caleb Elder (Starksboro), MaryBeth Redmond (Essex Junction), Mike McCarthy (St. Albans), Tom Stevens (Waterbury), Jana Brown (Richmond), Robin Scheu (Middlebury), Barbara Rachelson (Burlington), Jessica Brumstead (Shelburne), Robert Hooper (Burlington), Curt McCormack (Burlington), Sarita Austin and Curt Taylor of Colchester, Emilie Kornheiser (Brattleboro), and several others.