There are several lenses through which one must view the generation and implementation of public policy in Vermont.
If you’ve ever visited the Vermont State House during a legislative session, you know how it hums with activity. Legislators sit tucked away in small committee rooms discussing issues of importance to Vermonters, school groups listen to tour guides as they point to the history encompassed in the building, and legislative staff shuffle up and down the stairs to take down testimony that eventually becomes law. Another thing that is clear, it is usually uncomfortably crowded most of the time. The visiting school groups scramble to figure out where to stow backpacks and eat lunch, advocacy organizations struggle to assemble hundreds of Vermonters who came to the State House to have their voices heard, legislators have no private space to meet with constituents with sensitive concerns, and committee rooms often resemble a New York City subway at rush hour: standing-room only, jostling for seats, feeling uncomfortably close to others in the room. It was an uncomfortable situation before the pandemic; now it feels untenable. We must take this critical opportunity to reimagine how we want the State House to function for all Vermonters in a post-pandemic, 21st Century world.