Thursday October 27, 2016
Rep. Martin LaLonde, District 7-1
Graduate of Alpena High School in Alpena, Michigan; Associates Degree from Alpena Community College; Bachelor of Business Administration from the
University of Michigan; Law Degree from the University of Michigan Law School
Years as SB resident: 9
1 What skills and experience uniquely qualify you for the position of State Representative?
My experiences as a legislator, school board member, and attorney qualify me for the position. I have served on the House Judiciary Committee for two years, contributing to legislation that enhances public safety, access to justice, and due process and privacy rights. I also closely tracked and worked on other concerns, including environmental issues such as the water quality of Lake Champlain. My six years on the South Burlington School Board have given me experience and insight into education issues. Also, a key quality I bring to the legislature is being accessible and responsive to community members.
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?
We need to address demographic trends: an aging population, decreasing school enrollments, and declining workforce participation. To counter these trends, we need to attract younger families by continuing to (1) provide an excellent public education at a cost the public supports through implementing Act 46 and modifying rules governing an increasingly dysfunctional collective bargaining system, (2) provide more affordable housing through the expansion of down payment assistance for first-time home buyers and support of municipalities promoting smart, denser growth and (3) remove barriers to parents entering the workforce through improved availability of quality early childcare and after-school and summer programs for children.
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?
In addition to those issues explained above, key issues for District 7-1, and South Burlington generally, include preserving the environment, aligning state spending growth with state revenue growth, battling the opiate epidemic, improving road safety through enforcement of distracted driving laws and allowing municipalities discretion to set lower speed limits, implementing reasonable firearm regulations, and protecting our vulnerable citizens. As for environmental issues, while recognizing that our small state may not be able to impact significantly the causes of climate change, community members recognize that there is a moral imperative to take action. We should try to work with our neighboring states to tackle the problem through a regional mechanism that sets a price on carbon to reflect the costs it imposes on our environment. On our own, we should continue our efforts to achieve the state’s goal of 90% renewable energy by 2050 while also promoting energy conservation. The community is also eager to ensure that the state makes progress on cleaning up Lake Champlain. Last session, the legislature passed a landmark Clean Water Act. We now need to ensure that the state is identifying a reliable funding mechanism to follow through on the Act’s promises.
4 What specific priorities or objectives do you hope to accomplish if elected?
I intend to work with other legislators to address the issues described above. In addition, if I am back on the Judiciary Committee, my goal is to continue to decrease the state’s reliance on incarceration through modifications to probation and parole standards and reduction of sentences for nonviolent crimes. I also wish to make progress on ensuring all individuals have equal access to justice. Too often indigent individuals who can’t afford a lawyer face obstacles in court when they face a represented party. In addition, I intend to continue to work with the judicial branch to identify efficiencies in court process.