Ask Matt  

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What is your top priority?

It is all about affordability. Ensuring that South Burlington is affordable allows diverse families across the economic spectrum to live here, which enriches our schools, informs our policymaking, and creates a vibrant community. About 10% of South Burlington residents put half of their income into housing. Any increase to the property tax, or an increase in the costs of essential services such as heat, hot water, electricity have a far greater impact on those who are living on a fixed income or struggle with these bills. The financial fall out from Covid-19 is not over, and won’t be over immediately after it is safe to shake hands again. I will make make sure we don’t spend beyond our means and we always consider the impact of our decisions on taxpayers, and take a measured and balanced approach to local governance.

South Burlington has become a very expensive place to live. What are you going to do for families that want to move here?

No one wants the traffic congestion and emissions that increase when people who work here can’t afford to live here.  We need more diverse housing options in South Burlington. Let’s face it, we are not an island.  We are few miles away from the largest employers in the state and the gateway to points north and south on interstate 89.  As long as our region has a viable economy, as long as we are creating jobs, we should help those that work here contribute to our community and our tax base.

Do you support Fair and Impartial Policing policies?

I support  Fair and Impartial Policing (FIP). Everyone should be treated equally under the law. It is my understanding that South Burlington Police Department has adopted the state FIP policy model as required by Vermont legislature.  Meaningful police training on implicit bias, systematic racism and empathy is important and overdue. South Burlington is no exception. As a former journalist, I got to know many police officers. There are many good people who choose law enforcement as a profession, individuals that care deeply about the community they police. I think that in order to be effective, police officers must appreciate how perishable the trust is with citizens. The right organizational culture is critically important, it must be committed to ethical and service oriented leadership. It is important that all members of our community view police officers as resource, to protect them from criminal acts, regardless of their immigrations status.

What is your job?

Like many Vermonters, I have several jobs. I run a non-profit trade association that trains heating technicians and truck drivers.  These are the people you call in the middle of the night to fix the equipment in your basement, the people that make sure you have heat and hot water. I have also spent 17 years in the Vermont Statehouse, as a reporter and an advocate for small businesses. I’m not a lawyer, but I am a trusted resource on energy policy here in Vermont.  I also started a heating assistance charity that has helped deliver a surprise gift of warmth to hundreds of Vermonters.