Thursday October 27, 2016
Rep. Maida Townsend, District 7-4
Party: Democrat 7-4
Education: Degree/graduate work for teaching of French language, literature, history, culture
Years as SB
1. What skills and experience uniquely qualify you for the position of State Representative?
I am not “uniquely qualified” to be a State Representative. I am capable, thoughtful, and articulate, but Chittenden 7-4 is filled with capable, thoughtful, articulate advocates. I just happen to be in a “place” in my life where I can offer public service. Icing on the cake: I have gained a wealth of knowledge these past four years. It would be a shame not to use it... in terms of both state public policy and individual problems brought to me by constituents. It does not hurt that I have indomitable stamina and a work ethic that does not quit.
2. What is the most important statewide legislative issue to be addressed in the upcoming term, and what specific solutions do you suggest or support in overcoming the problem?
Affordability and tax burden. We need to continue bending the curve of state spending while maintaining needed direct services to Vermonters. Every program, department, and agency must be assessed for efficiency and effectiveness through the lens of results-based accountability as defined in statute. This should lead to the restructuring, streamlining, reduction in scope, or discontinuance of state programs... as well as the potential elimination of senior level positions which do not have direct service responsibility. Reform of the tax structure is also long overdue. Everyone should be contributing no less than a fair share to maintaining our “social contract.”
3. What are the key issues 1) in your own district, and 2) in the City of South Burlington? How will you address these locally and on the state level?
The Chamberlin Neighborhood is endangered. I need to remain engaged with neighbors particularly regarding school reconfiguration pressures and airport-related issues. I need to engage the Department of Health regarding environmental health regulations particularly related to schools, and also engage the Department of Public Safety particularly related to the release of airborne toxins resulting from aviation accidents.
We are a district of modest economic means. Both the Chamberlin Neighborhood and the neighborhood to the south of Williston Road are stressed by the reality of tax burden. We face the daily challenge of just plain meeting expenses while also putting aside savings. I need to do my part as described in my answer to question two.
Key city-wide issues include City Center, school reconfiguration, development versus conserved/open land, food and housing security... quality of life. I will continue my support of local initiatives such as Common Roots, SBLT, Champlain Housing Trust, and Chittenden County Opioid Alliance. I will continue working with the City where legislative assistance is needed... allowing a TIF district to make City Center a possibility, opening the door to a solar array on the capped landfill, facilitating intermunicipality service agreements, as recent examples.
4. What specific priorities or objectives do you hope to accomplish if elected?
This is a bare-bones listing of personal legislative priorities. My articles in The Other Paper’s archives put “flesh” on the “bones.”
Within my committee, my priorities include: policing issues; Ethics commission;
campaign finance reform; results-based accountability outcomes/indicators in assessing the effectiveness of state government; “Office of the Child Advocate”.
Outside my committee, priorities of special concern to me include: emotional abuse included for relief from abuse orders; Clean Water Fund funding; affordable/accessible child care and housing; dealing with Vermont Health Connect; keeping a very close eye on the All-Payer model.