Letter: Support for Smith
Support for Smith
Editor of the Reformer:
I support Shap Smith for Lieutenant Governor.
I do so because of my respect for his leadership as Speaker of the House of Representatives for eight of the 10 years that I served in the House. You may or may not agree with some of the Legislative initiatives that emerged under his tenure in that office, but the business of making laws was productive and was handled with grace and respect in very large part due to his guidance, even during the kerfuffles that inevitably arise in a political process.
The burden of property taxes was the number one concern I heard as I campaigned to be the State Representative for my area of Vermont. So I especially appreciate that under Shap's leadership the House Education Committee was reconstituted to include for the first time education finance in the same Committee with education policy, one result of which is that very different questions are asked. So not only did we focus on school spending as a driver of property taxes, but we recognized that Legislative initiatives in the form of unfunded mandates also drive spending from the Education Fund. So in addition to school consolidation, Act 46, as it passed the House, also contained language that brought the same kind of discipline to the Education Fund that keeps in check spending in the General Fund for the rest of state government. This language was passed in the House in each of two successive years, and in both instances the language was removed by the Senate.
In January the Vermont General Assembly will enter a new two-year biennium with all new leadership in both Houses, as well as new leadership in the Administration. As the new Lieutenant Governor, Shap Smith will not only preside over daily Senate Sessions, but will also be part of the process that appoints the members to the Committees that guide Legislation through the Senate for the next two years. He will bring to that job the same leadership skills and the same innovative thinking that changed the conversation around education in the House.
While I've singled out just one issue, one that is of particular concern to my constituents, I admire his principled stance on so many issues of importance to all Vermonters. I hope you will join me in voting for Shap Smith to be our next Lieutenant Governor.
Rep. Ann Manwaring, Windham 6, July 27
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