Moving Forward Together: A Vision for Vermont and America

Let me thank the people of Vermont from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to serve in the United States Senate. It has been the honor of my life.

Today, I am announcing my intention to seek another term. And let me take a few minutes to tell you why. As the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as part of the US Senate Democratic Leadership Team, as a senior member of the Veterans Committee, the Budget Committee and the environment and Public Works Committee, I have been and will be, if reelected, in a strong position to provide the kind of help that, for Monet’s need in these difficult times.

In recent years, working together, we have made important progress in addressing some very serious challenges. But much more needs to be done if we are to become the state and the nation our people deserve.

Together, we have made Vermont the leading state in the country in terms of their capital utilization of community health centers. That means that up to 190,000 vermoners every year are receiving their primary healthcare. They are dental care, they are mental health counseling and lower cost prescription drugs at these centers.

But that is not enough in my view. The United States must join every other major country on earth in guaranteeing healthcare to all of our people as a human right, not a privilege.

And that’s a fight we must continue to wage. Together, we have begun the process of lowering the cost of prescription drugs. We’re making insulin more affordable to seniors and all those struggling with diabetes. We’re lowering the cost of inhalers for those with asthma and COPD. We’re finally beginning to negotiate prices with the big drug companies, but that is not enough. We need to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and end the absurd of Americans paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

Earlier this year, we saw a devastating flooding across our state, further illustrating the deadly effects of climate change. And I will tell you that visiting the community’s impact in Berryan, my pillar in western Ludlow and other towns and talking with Vermanas who had lost their homes and businesses, that was a painful experience. Together, we must continue to combat climate change by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

I’m proud that I was able to bring $62 million into the state to help our people afford solar panels for their rooftops and additional money for heat pumps. But that is not enough. This is a global crisis. We must work with every country on earth to cut carbon emissions and save the planet for our kids and future generations.

As the former chair of the Veterans Committee, I am proud of the role my office has played in making sure that veterans in our state get the quality healthcare they deserve, whether it’s at the White River Junction Medical Center or community based outpatient clinics around the state. And I’m excited about major new VA health clinics, which will be built both in Chitnin County and for Vermont veterans in the southern part of our state.

But that is not enough. We must vigorously oppose those who want to privatize the VA and make sure that every veteran gets the quality care and the benefits they have earned.

I am proud of my 100% lifetime voting record in defense of women’s rights and the absolute need for women to control their own bodies. And I’m proud of Raman for becoming the first state to enshrine abortion rights in our Constitution.

But that is not enough. We must codify Rovi Wade international law and do everything possible to oppose the well funded right wing effort to roll back the gains that women have achieved after decades of struggle. No more second class citizenship for the women of Vermont or America.

I’m proud of the role my office has played in canceling student debt for millions of Americans, including nearly sixty five hundred here in Vermont. But that’s not enough in a highly competitive global economy. We need to make sure that all public colleges and universities our tuition free and that every Vermont regardless of income can get the higher education they need to pursue their dreams further. We need to break our dependence on the regressive property tax and the funding of local schools.

I am proud of my leadership role in defending Social Security and Medicare from those who would cut benefits for our seniors. No, we don’t need to cut benefits. We need to expand them. And we can do that by demanding that the very wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes into the Social Security Trust Fund.

I am proud of some of the innovative housing programs we’ve introduced over the years and the millions of housing dollars we brought into the state. This includes the National Housing Trust Fund, a national program modeled after the Burlington Community Land Trust. Now the Champagne Housing Trust, which puts federal funds to work to create safe, perpetually affordable housing.

But that’s not enough. We have a major housing crisis today that must be addressed. Novermana should be paying 40 or 50% of his or her income to put a roof over their heads.

And there’s one other issue that I know is very much on the minds of Romanus. On October 7th,2023, Hamas, a terrorist organization, began the war in Gaza with a horrific attack on Israel that killed 12 innocent men, women and children and took more than 230 hostages, some of whom remain in captivity today. Israel had the absolute right to defend itself against this terrorist attack. But it did not and does not have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people, which is exactly what it is doing. 34,000 Palestinians have already been killed and 77,000 have been wounded, 70% of whom are women and children. According to humanitarian organization’s famine and starvation are now imminent. In my view, US tax dollars should not be going to the extremist Netanyahu government to continue its devastating war against the Palestinian people. Let me conclude by telling you what you already know.

These are very difficult times for our country and the world and in many ways, this 2024 election is the most consequential election in our lifetimes. Will the United States continue to even function as a democracy or will we move to an authoritarian form of government? Will we reverse the unprecedented level of income in wealth inequality that now exists or will we continue to see billionaires get richer while working family struggle to put food on the table. Can we create a government that works for all of us or will our political system continue to be dominated by wealthy campaign contributors?

These are just some of the questions that together we need to answer, and then I look forward to discussing with you on the campaign trail. Once again, thank you very much for the support that many of you have given me in the past as I enter this campaign. I look forward to your continued support.