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2022 Election Thank you

To Franklin-5 voters and supporters –

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you again in the Legislature and to all who supported my campaign - with lawn signs, donations, and kind words. I look forward to working with my colleagues to balance the needs of the State with available resources through a reasonable, meaningful, and thoughtful process. Please feel welcome to reach out to me at [email protected] with your questions and concerns.   It is an honor to represent the people of Highgate, Franklin, Berkshire, and Richford in the Vermont Statehouse.

Stay well,

Rep Lisa A Hango

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County Courier Candidate Forum #10

QUESTION: As voters go to the polls, or prepare their ballots for mail-in voting, what do you feel voters should know that makes you a better candidate than those you are running against?

 

ANSWER: Although I am running unopposed in this election, I want to take this opportunity to renew my commitment to my constituents and thank you for your support. In times like we have been experiencing over the past few years, I feel that it is important to have continuity and understanding of the issues, and I am grateful to be able to serve in that way.  I am always available to constituents by phone and email, [email protected], and I strive to answer every message; if I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does to connect you with. The most rewarding part of legislating is helping people, and it is gratifying to assist constituents with their requests. During the off-season, I attend School Board and Selectboard meetings, community forums, and other events to learn learn more about my constituents’ needs and to network with advocates so I can formulate my policy decisions in an informed way. I also serve on local boards and advisory councils, which keep the issues at the forefront for me. I take my commitment to voting according to my constituents’ best interests very seriously, and I appreciate the emails and phone calls I receive that help to guide my work. My goal is to be reasonable, reliable, and understanding of what Vermonters need, and I am honored to represent you in the Vermont Statehouse.

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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #9

QUESTION: In Governor Phil Scott’s six years in office, Phil Scott has used his power of the veto 11 times in the past two years, making Scott the governor who has used the power of the veto more than any other Vermont governor in state history. Most recently, those bills include S30, S40,  S234, S286, H157, H177, H196,  H277, H361, H505, H534, H606, H708, H715, H728.

With a supermajority (not quite a veto proof majority) democrats and progressives have had their hands full trying to overturn these vetos, many coming down to just a vote or two in the legislature. That makes each and every seat (especially in the house) a powerful one. 

It is highly likely that Governor Phil Scott will get reelected with his high job approval ratings, so If you are elected, and these bills (or versions similar) come back up into the legislature, would you support the initiatives these bills work to accomplish, why or why not?

 

ANSWER: As a sitting legislator who had the opportunity to weigh in on supporting Governor Scott’s vetoes, I will continue to uphold those positions if re-elected. Most vetoes were borne out of the need for a common-sense approach to legislation because the bills as written went too far and represented unwarranted government overreach. With one exception - the state employees pension bill - I supported all of the Governor’s vetoes, and we worked very hard to bring awareness to voters about those issues. If these initiatives are brought back in the new biennium, it is my hope that with new members taking their seats, there will be better collaboration across the aisle on issues that affect all Vermonters. 

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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #8

QUESTION: As a legislator, you would be intimately involved with deciding how Vermont spends hundreds of millions of dollars in one-time federal relief money. How would you like to see one-time federal money used to best benefit Vermonters?

 

ANSWER: The legislature has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars in housing assistance, childcare subsidies, and other essential services; now is the time to address crumbling infrastructure issues: long-delayed upgrades to roads, bridges, water, sewer, cell and broadband systems. These are also essential investments, without which we cannot expect to grow our economy, attract new businesses, or provide adequate housing for Vermonters. Municipalities are charged with outreach and research to determine how best to spend their allotted funding, and I encourage every citizen to have a say in how their town or city utilizes this one-time money. 

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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #7

QUESTION: Many starting wages are already well above Vermont's minimum wage. Is this an indication that Vermont needs to readdress what the minimum wage is, or an indication that the minimum wage is currently not needed? What changes, if any, would you like to see made to Vermont's minimum wage law?

 

ANSWER: Vermont recently passed fair minimum wage adjustment legislation. At the time, we could not have anticipated the wage pressure that happened during the pandemic and subsequent “great resignation”, when we lost thousands of employees from critical sectors of the workforce. I believe that we should postpone any further legislation until we know what the economic fallout of inflation and recession and its impact on businesses will be. 

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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #6

QUESTION: Vermont is one of a handful of states that has a part time citizen legislature. As you are running for office, you are also seeking a job within the state of Vermont. Although some take pride in Vermont’s citizen legislature, some say the compensation for legislators prevents a full spectrum of Vermonters from being able to run for (and hold) office. 
Do you think Vermont should rethink the way legislators are compensated, and how would you like it to change? 
ANSWER:The Vermont Legislature is at a crossroads, and this is a very important issue: do we wish to remain a citizen Legislature, or do we want to employ State Representatives and Senators full-time? And what does fair compensation look like for these public servants? Currently, we are neither a true citizen legislature nor a professional one - we are hovering in between. During the pandemic, our obligations to our constituents certainly were year-round, and many of us worked accordingly without additional compensation, except when we were in Special Session. In normal times, Vermonters could be well-represented with a short annual session of citizen legislators IF the number of bills introduced were capped, and IF parties agreed ahead of time to only take up bills that affect the revenue of the State, infrastructure projects, or public health and safety. Recently, there have been nearly 1000 bills introduced each biennium, and many of them are duplicative or special interest agendas from a legislator’s pet project in their home district. This does not serve the State well, costs taxpayers additional money for time in session, and unnecessarily takes away from legislators’ home lives and “day jobs”. Our legislative session either needs to be streamlined, or it needs to be professionalized, but the current in-between status precludes many Vermonters from seeking office. 
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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #5

QUESTION: Updating Vermont's land use law, better known as Act 250, has become a perennial topic in Vermont politics. What changes would you like to see to that law (if any), and what would you do to ensure those changes are enacted?

 

ANSWER: Act 250 needs to be updated to reflect the need for more housing that is affordable and accessible. I have consistently advocated, and voted, for changes to relax restrictions on planned, thoughtful development. Anecdotally, potential homeowners in Franklin County have waited up to a year to have their permits approved, commercial builders have waited over 18 months, and permitting fees can be out of reach for many smaller businesses and individuals. This is unacceptable when we are in the midst of a nationwide housing crisis and are trying to attract new employers to Vermont. Reasonable climate mitigation and conservation efforts can, and should, be part of any development plan, but the current regulations go far beyond the balance of what is necessary and affordable yet protective of land and wildlife. 

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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #4

QUESTION: Vermont consistently ranks above average for the cost of living in the United States. If elected, what would you look to do in Montpelier to help your constituents with the cost of living in the Green Mountain State?

 

ANSWER: As costs increase, a trip to the grocery store, a stop at the gas pumps, and heating our homes this winter are concerning to Vermonters. My voting record shows the measures that I have supported over 3-1/2 years: I will continue to vote against tax or fee increases; continue to advocate for a 100% tax exemption on military pensions and to increase tax exemptions on social security income without convoluted income formulas; make thoughtful energy policy decisions to include all sources of energy in the transportation and thermal sectors in a way that makes fiscal sense for all Vermont consumers; and continue to support local agricultural, forestry, and industrial  production and distribution to alleviate the supply chain shortages that Vermonters face when shopping for basic goods. 

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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #3

 

QUESTION: Mass shootings continue to make headlines throughout America. Vermont has responded in recent years, enacting new gun laws aimed at reducing the chance of a mass shooting taking place in the Green Mountain State. Do you think Vermont had adequately addressed this issue, and if not, what direction would you like Vermont to move in when it comes to gun laws?

 

 

ANSWER: The isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a backdrop in recent years to highlight the mental health crisis that Vermont and our nation is facing. Lack of recognition of warning signs, long wait times to be treated, lack of qualified personnel, lack of in-person beds (especially for young people) - all of these factors contribute overwhelmingly to the gun violence that we are seeing today.  Vermont has been reasonable in its approach to gun legislation, (much of it passed prior to my time in the Legislature), carefully and thoughtfully balancing the great hunting and gun ownership traditions we pride ourselves on with safety for the general public. Information on gun safety is readily available by a Google search where one can learn about the safe storage, handling, and operation of a gun. We are queried every time we sit down in a medical provider’s office as to the safety of our homes, the nature of our relationships, whether we have our firearms properly locked up, and if we are struggling with depression or hopelessness. We have been proactive in the education of our public on guns. Now we must address the growing need to expand mental health services to where people in crisis need it - beginning at emergency departments and on calls with law enforcement personnel. Right here in Franklin County a pilot program has been in existence for several years pairing local law enforcement with trained NCSS staff who attend calls together; this program is a great model and should be held up as a standard to the rest of the State. We need to address and support the mental health needs of our communities before it becomes a crisis situation that turns violent. 

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2022 County Courier Candidate Forum #2

QUESTION: With the United States Supreme Court ruling released this summer overturning Roe vs. Wade, combined with Vermont's with Prop. 5 on the ballot in November, the topic of abortion rights is front and center for many voters. Where do you stand personally and politically when it comes to abortion rights in Vermont?

 

ANSWER:  I am a lifelong, practicing Roman Catholic, and I personally believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. I worked collaboratively with colleagues to introduce amendments to H.57 in 2019 (codifying access to abortion services) that added safeguards for minors and opt-outs for conscientious medical practitioners. I voted against Prop 5 when it was on the House floor as Article 22 in the 2021-2022 biennium. These actions were taken by me with the overwhelming support of my constituents. The decision now lies with the voters of the State of Vermont to alter the Constitution of our State to allow unlimited access to all reproductive services with no guardrails for the courts to rely on in their rulings. 

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