WARDSBORO >> Former state representative John Moran wants to return to Montpelier.
"I think the Bernie Sanders revolution within the party is a very good thing," Moran said of the Vermont senator who is running for president and has changed conversations in the Democratic party. "I think he's bringing issues up that we really need to be addressing."
Fairness for working Vermonters is one of Moran's biggest issues. He hopes to create a livable wage for more residents, a figure higher than $10 per hour. He looks at Sanders' campaign as an opportunity to focus on this area but insists he's not "grabbing" onto it as he runs against incumbent Laura Sibilia.
"Bernie's proposing a lot of things I have been proposing for 10 years or more," said Moran, who served as a representative for four terms over eight years in a district where many jobs are within the ski and service industries.
Mount Snow and the Hermitage Club's Haystack Mountain are resorts where residents from his Windham-Bennington district, which covers Dover, Wardsboro, Searsburg, Readsboro, Stamford and Somerset, secure employment. They're making beds, cleaning hallways, serving food or running equipment. And they're not making a livable wage, said Moran.
Nationally, Moran pointed out, two-thirds of the economy is powered by domestic spending. Providing tax credits or other programs to corporations who do not offer livable wages, he said, bills residents twice. Tax dollars are used for assisting the corporation then the employees who receive supplemental support through state programs.
"I think it's hard to justify supporting an industry by creating a servitude class that doesn't make enough money to live on themselves. It's a little illogical," he said. "It's not about me. I've never been shy about where I stand on issues."
Moran has long supported gay marriage and sponsored the bill legalizing it in Vermont. He said he now hopes to "undo some of the damage done in the last two years."
Act 46, which mandates school district consolidation statewide, was meant to lower property taxes but has not, said Moran, adding that it puts school choice and local control in jeopardy. He wants to see campaign finance reform after considering a run for governor but decided against it due to restrictions around public financing. He is now endorsing Peter Galbraith.
Moran also takes issue with changes made to the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive program in the last legislative session. He said it's going in the wrong direction and it will create more low-paying jobs.
"Our money should go into better bridges, internet and roads, things that can make Vermont more attractive for people to come," said Moran.
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.