Dear Constituents –
With virtual swearing-in ceremonies on January 6, the 2021 Legislative Session has begun! We will be working remotelyfrom our home offices until at least March 9, so you will be able to keep track of your Legislators by following all House and Senate proceedings live-streamed or recorded on YouTube and seeing us at online local meetings.
These first few days involved new members being seated, oaths being taken, and Committees being assigned – I will be continuing my work on the General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee, as requested, which fits well with my responsibilities co-chairing the National Guard Legislative Caucus. It was nice to learn about our new Committee members, including Fairfax Rep Barbara Murphy, before we dove into this week’s testimony. We received updates from the Department of Children and Families, the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency detailing their use of the Coronavirus Relief Funds money that we allocated to those agencies for housing needs. It was indeed encouraging to hear how many households were served during the past six months and how quickly those funds were deployed. Certainly our Agency of Human Resources and its Community Partners deserve to be commended for the effort they undertook during this pandemic to ensure that the most vulnerable Vermonters were safely housed.
At district school board meetings this week, budget talks were the topic of the evening, as school directors grappled with the difficult decisions involved with keeping tax rate increases at a minimum while maintaining important programming for students who have even greater needs during this time of remote and hybrid learning.
The Rural Legislative Working Group Caucus met and discussed legislative priorities specifically for rural communities around increasing access to broadband. As many of you know, this is a priority for me, having watched households struggle with access when learning and work went remote last year.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your comments and concerns at LHango@leg.state.vt.us .
Representative Lisa A Hango, Franklin-5