Thoughts on the 2013 session

Wednesday May 22, 2013

We campaign in poetry but govern in prose , former New York Governor Mario Cuomo reflected during his career.

As we worked through the issues of the 2013 legislative session , the verse of the campaign morphed into the detailed prose of bill drafting and budget spread sheets.

The good news is that Vermont is doing well,especially compared to other states.

with low unemployment, a forward moving economy, and the solid foundation of a balanced budget.

Within all that, a narrative from a basic question also arose;

Do we move forward into the 21st century with an amalgam of past success and new ideas-Or do we stay stuck in old ideas that aren't working?

Democrats and Progressives answered with a gathered sense, to move forward.

Forward on health care with Vt. Health Connect,our Health Exchange /online web portal that provides access and subsidy for buying health care.

Forward, keeping our economy growing with investments in education, our roads and bridges, local agriculture and the green energy economy.

And Forward, with social justice for immigrant workers, equal pay for women, sensible laws around marijuana use and compassionate considerations for elders to make end-of-life decisions.

Those decisions and others highlighted an emotional session.

In the House, with constant budget pressures from revenues still at 2008 levels but human service needs increasing very year, we could have veered into the muck of DC style polemics-but didn't. We kept it civil.

Likewise on social issues, the discourse was sharp, but we still minded our manners.

Now that I'm back home from the 16 week session,I'm quickly reminded why I love living here.In other places, I often hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth about how bad the world is. Here, Vermonters not only survive but thrive, under the most trying circumstance.

Recent reading reminded me of a more well turned phrase than I can muster for those who can't see the good all around us; James Thurber's "to those who say it is later than we think, I would offer that it is lighter than we think. And in that light, let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness." Indeed.

And here in Vermont, examples of working together to make it better aren't hard to find. Case in point is the Brattleboro AIDS walk, this weekend. Here was as diverse a group of Vermonters to come together as can be. And, for as sober a cause to be found. Yet, there was a profound sense of community, and shared hope -- right alongside the somber memorial for those we have lost to this plague.

We have more work to be done, for sure, and next January I look forward to getting back to it.

In the meantime, I' ll be looking around in awareness and gratitude for life here in 21st Century Vermont.

Rep. Mike Mrowicki served on the Vermont House Human Services Committee. He represents Windham 4 District, which includes Westminster, Putney and Dummerston.


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