New Leadership Challenges Vermont to Change
by Robin Reid
In the weeks since Vermont’s new Governor Peter Shumlin was inaugurated, he has made bold pronouncements about implementing a single payer system for healthcare, creating new jobs and balancing the budget. The Gov is inspired by the challenge to lead the nation and be the first to achieve new levels of public welfare. But all the enthusiasm does not come without its knocks.
Although Gov. Shumlin has assembled an impressive array of new commissioners who appear to be equally enthusiastic about his daring plans, there are complaints that salary increases for his top administration are not in keeping with continued cuts of and a hiring freeze on state employees. These are exciting times for those on the top of the wave of change but there are many Vermonters struggling to make ends meet. Cautionary tales tell us that change is good but too much too soon has been known to tip the scales of reality out of balance.
At the Vermont Farm Show Dairy Banquet, farmers are honored for their high quality milk and exceptional farming practices. Pictured at right is Governor Peter Shumlin congratulating members of the Longway Family Farm of Swanton, awarded the 2010 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year. For the seventh year running, the Meyer Family Farm of Hardwick received the award for the highest quality milk. Congrats!
The Vermont DC delegation held a press conference recently to protest President Obama’s cuts to north country fuel assistance. The buzz is all about the inequity of continuing the tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while balancing the budget on the backs of the working poor and those on fixed incomes. Senator Sanders has assembled a book that documents the plights of many individuals who have suffered from effects of the recession and the high price of fuel and groceries, etc. You can find “Struggling Through the Recession - Letters from Vermont” at sanders.senate.gov. It’s prudent to recognize that there are many among us who may need support now more than ever.
Also up for change is Rural Route Today. For over five years, we have produced this small community-based paper by virtue of a bootstrap and a certain amount of skill. At this time, I would like to introduce you to the concept of Forest N Farm and we have devised a new masthead (MY February print MISTAKE! I think this word should be LEADER or LOGO?) to catch your attention! Your comments and suggetions are most welcome and please consider advertising your business here.
As you may know, Vermont relies on its working landscape not only for our way of life but ir ua an essential part of the state’s economy. We can’t afford to go the way of southern New England so pony up and get ready for the ride. We can secure a great future for our beautiful landscape but only if we work together. Your support is greatly appreciated and needed at this time.
Here's the latest feature by Laura Cahners-Ford. She's been writing some great pieces about local agricultural endeavors and having fun roaming the countryside while she's at it! Thanks, Laura!
Be sure to grab a copy at your local market or store.