Windham 1 House: Send power back to towns and individuals
I grew up in Vernon, in a blue collar Roman Catholic household. I was born at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and baptized at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Brattleboro. I attended and graduated from Vernon Elementary, Brattleboro Union High School and Castleton University. At Castleton, I was a student athlete running cross country and track. In my spare time between hitting the books, weight room and the cross country trails, I helped start and operate the University's Republican Club. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, receiving my bachelor's degree in Political Science and Economics. I currently work as carpenter. I will be attending law school.
My family has called Vermont home since the 1850s. I am a sixth generation Vermonter. I was named after two of my ancestors: Patrick C. Gilligan and Patrick Harrison. Patrick C. Gilligan was part of Vermont's 1st Calvary in the Civil War. He was captured at Craigs Church and was sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia from which he eventually escaped and returned to Vermont after the war. The other man, Patrick Harrison, was a marble quarrier and legendary outdoorsman, according to the Rutland Herald.
I'm running for office because the state of Vermont needs to change. In deciding whether it was my time to run or not I consulted Representative Hebert and Governor Douglas. They both said, "Go for it."
As a legislator, I will go to bat for our small rural communities and encourage economic development in them. It is of my belief that small government principles will stop the erosion of our rural communities and end the brain-drain of our college educated youth.
In the mean time, since the closure of the Vermont Yankee in 2014, the town of Vernon has been grappling with its budget. To return Vernon to its former glory, it is of the utmost importance that the town embrace what it is: A power generation, agricultural and bedroom community.
The proposed gas plant would employ between 25 to 30 persons. It would add $750 million to the property tax grand list value. The construction of the plant would employ 400 to 600 people for roughly two years.
In addressing the Section 248 of Title 30, state approvals, it will need be to amended or repealed. The role of state government is to be the policemen not the decision maker on what a community can have or not have, in this case an energy production plant. I will attempt to make an amendment to this statute if elected.
In understanding Act 46, it is important to know what Act 20 or "The Vicious Act of 1892" is. This act forcefully consolidated Vermont's 2,214 school districts. In the wake of this act nearly 90 percent of Vermont's school closed. These small schools were the center of their communities for over a century. Now, it's likely a cellar hole doesn't even exist. In 2015, a Democrat controlled legislature and governorship passed Act 46. They passed this legislation to reduce the state's overall expenditures on education. The mechanism to reduce the state's education expenditures requires that small schools like Guilford be closed and children from more rural areas be bused elsewhere.
Unfortunately, with these known consequences some Guilford residents, my opponent Sara Coffey, and some of the Guilford School Board signed and sent in the Section 9 Proposal to the state of Vermont. In this proposal, it laid out 10-plus reasons why the Guilford school could be potentially closed. In doing this, Guilford has shown its hand and now the clock is ticking toward closure. A total repeal is required to save our small schools like Guilford in the long run. In the short term, a delay to the forced merger is a feasible option.
In Vermont we are over taxed. We are ranked 47th out of the 50 states being best states for business. Vermont has crippled its own economy and driven out its youth. Recently, Moody's decreased Vermont's bond rating. Moody's cited slow growth, and an aging population to be the reasons for the downgrading of its bonds from Aaa to Aa1. This means that for every $150 million borrowed by the state, $1 million more is owed.
Vermont has the potential to be an economic powerhouse in the Northeast. The state is centrally located to New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Its geographical location gives it the ability to be the manufacturing hub of the Northeast.
Vermont legislators must decentralize its government and send the power back to the towns and individuals. In doing this, Vermont could eliminate its income, corporate and inheritance tax.
This would give incentives to corporations like John Deere, Caterpillar, IBM, General Electric and C&S to expand, open a headquarters or a factory in Vermont. If not, Vermont businesses and tax paying individuals, each symbolically being Atlas holding up the heavens with knees buckling and arms trembling, are simply letting go and walking away from the state of Vermont.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.