Letter: Grateful for 22 years of friendship and service
For the past several months I have been thinking about whether I should run for another term as your representative. Working as a member of the Vermont House of Representatives has been the most gratifying and challenging experience of my life. I have made good friends here, in Shaftsbury, Glastenbury and Sunderland, and in state government. When thinking about what to do, I could not help but think about all the people who helped me with my campaigns, who shared their problems and needs, and who expressed their frustration with state government. These experiences and relationships have made my decision more difficult. Still, after 22 years of friendship and service, I believe it is time for me to retire.
Being a representative has not been an easy job. At times, I have had to cast votes that gained me some friends at the expense of others. While I always tried to serve my community, there were times when I cast votes that I thought to be best for all Vermonters. During my tenure, there were a number of bills that made fundamental changes to Vermont. I was proud to support Act 60, which changed school financing to improve equality of educational opportunities among Vermont's schools. Act 60 also implemented income sensitivity for the property tax, so seniors and others on moderate or fixed incomes could afford to keep their homes. I supported bills to enact Civil Unions, and then Marriage Equality. We also weathered unexpected storms, like the financial crisis and market collapse of 2008, and the floods brought by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. And recently, we enacted Act 46, the school consolidation bill, and a special education bill that should save taxpayers money and provide more opportunities for our children and youth.
My House committee assignments over the years — Education, Fish & Wildlife, and Appropriations — gave me the opportunity to work on the issues I care deeply about. Through the Appropriations Committee I was able to advocate for funding the Vermont Veterans Home, capping the Shaftsbury landfill, and providing quality healthcare for children. As much as we accomplished with the Education Committee recently by passing into law the Act 46 school consolidation bill and a special education bill that should reduce costs and give children the same meaningful opportunities in the face of a declining school population. There is more to be done so our schools are properly sized. As much as I enjoy the work, there is always more to be done. Still, it is time for me to step down.
Being your representative has been a tremendous gift and responsibility. I am so thankful for all of the support, and all of the kindness, you have provided me over the past two decades. I remain optimistic about the future of our community, and the future of Vermont. As long as we continue to work together, respecting each other, as we do at Town Meeting, we can meet every challenge. I look forward to supporting our next representative, but do not be surprised to see me standing up at meetings and speaking my mind. I look forward to you doing the same.
Rep. Alice Miller,
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