Letter Box


Sibilia asks for your vote

Editor of the Reformer:

I’m writing to enthusiastically announce that I will be running as an Independent candidate for the Vermont House Windham-Bennington district seat in this year’s election. This district includes the towns of Stamford, Readsboro, Whitingham, Searsburg, Somerset, Dover and Wardsboro.

I live in Dover with my husband TJ, my daughters Stevie and Sammy and my son Casey and grew up in Connecticut and Whitingham, VT where my family moved in 1987. I have lived in Southern Vermont for 27 years, the last 14 in Dover, and along with my 11 younger brothers and sisters, graduated from the tiny former Whitingham High School. I attended Champlain College in Burlington and Massachusetts College for Liberal Arts in North Adams and have earned a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management. As a result of having six of my family members serve in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I’ve developed a deep belief in the need to expand civic participation in government.

I have served on the Dover School Board since 2003, and am currently its vice chairwoman. I’m a strong proponent of investing in high quality, measurable education opportunities as well as an outspoken advocate for reforming Vermont’s current education and education finance systems. Taxpayers have a right to know what result their state education property tax investment is yielding.

Currently I am employed as the Director of Economic Development for Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and formerly as the Executive Director of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce. In these roles I have had opportunity to see Vermont lawmakers often prioritize legislating national workplace issues over nurturing our own socially responsible small business climate. The unintended consequence of weakening businesses still struggling to pull out of the recession and recover from Tropical Storm Irene flooding is particularly noticeable in my district towns.

It is my intention to run a civil campaign and to not accept funds from any national or state organizations. The best means for reaching me is at lhsibilia@gmail.com or at 802-348-7131. I hope to begin campaigning in the district in early June.

Laura Sibilia,

Dover, March 17

Kudos to Burlington on gun control vote

Editor of the Reformer:

On Town Meeting Day, by a two-to-one margin, Burlington voters approved three common sense measures to help make their city safer: Banning guns in bars; allowing police to seize weapons during domestic abuse incidents; and requiring safe storage of firearms. These proposed charter changes require the approval of the Vermont State Legislature and, perhaps, a change to a current Vermont law prohibiting municipalities from regulating firearms.

Given the lack of action from federal and state legislatures it is appropriate that a town take what measures it can to address this important topic. Vermont has the opportunity to let citizens’ voices be heard through Town Meeting activities, even as these voices are drowned out at federal and state levels. A large majority of citizens support reasonable measures to limit access to guns in certain situations, yet efforts to pass even minimal legislation at the federal and state level have been thwarted by concerted opposition from the powerful and well-funded National Rifle Association.

At this Saturday’s Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting we offered a resolution applauding the voters of Burlington for their creative and determined effort, and urging our state legislators to enact meaningful measures to help curb gun violence.

Walter Slowinski and Peter Cooper,

Brattleboro, March 18

Weatherization program should remain intact

Editor of the Reformer:

The state low-income weatherization program has been a tremendous success story in Vermont. Our energy costs are among the highest in the nation, hitting low-income families the hardest. Homes that are weatherized see an average of 37 percent energy savings, allowing these families to have more money for other basic needs. For every dollar invested in energy savings, $2.51 is returned to the household and community.

Despite its clear benefits, Governor Shumlin’s budget proposes cutting $2 million from the program. This would force 50 of the its employees to be laid off, and would increase the wait times for families needing assistance (up to one year already). More than 14,000 low-income units need to be weatherized by 2020 to meet the state’s goals.

The Weatherization Assistance Program deserves to have its funding increased, not cut. It is providing multiple benefits for Vermonters -- cutting energy costs, improving our housing stock, and supporting our local economy. Let’s not leave this program out in the cold.

Paul Cameron,

Brattleboro Climate Protection, March 18


Editor of the Reformer:

Given the amount of "outside" money flowing into New Hampshire in support of Scott Brown, perhaps the better headline for your March 18 editorial ("Carpetbagger?) might have been "Mercenary?"

Peter Powers,

Walpole, N.H., March 18


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