Thursday January 17, 2013

A license to drive

Editor of the Reformer:

The state Legislature is taking up a bill to make drivers' licenses available for all Vermont residents. This is important because a driver's license provides essential mobility in our rural state to fulfill fundamental human needs and rights to access health care, food, transportation, housing, socializing and work. Currently many undocumented migrant workers are not able to get a driver's license. Farmers rely on migrant workers to produce our dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Both farmers and the workers would benefit from the workers being able to provide their own transportation.

Migrant farm workers have raised this as their number one issue for the quality of their life in Vermont. Here a few of their comments:

"To feel free and like I'm not in a jail. To demonstrate that I am equal to everyone else, that I too need to go to the store or go to the hospital without waiting until someone else drives me or charges me a lot of money."

"Hard work deserves respect, all people deserve respect, we live like this because the system is broken, and the time has come to change this"

There are no federal laws that prohibit states to grant access to drivers' licenses and in fact New Mexico and Washington have passed this legislation. Let's make Vermont the third state to do so.

Claire B.


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Halverson,

Dummerston, Jan. 15

Better for education

Editor of the Reformer:

As the director of Happy Hands School of Little People in Brattleboro, I applaud the governor's focus on the next generation by improving early education.

I know that consistent, quality early education is important for working families in our communities. That is why my co-workers and I are seeking the ability to form a union. A union will provide a consistent and collaborative voice for providers and families, so that high quality child care can be more affordable and accessible in our communities. We are the experts on the ground; that is why it is important that we have input into decisions that affect our profession and impact the families we serve.

I've been working with Windham county providers for three years and we look forward to passing the bill that will allow us to form a union.

Kay Curtis,

Brattleboro, Jan. 12