On February 13, 2019

Welch calls shutdown ‘ avoidable ’ during Rutland visit last Monday

By Curt Peterson

RUTLAND—Rep. Peter Welch met with several area business people at the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce offices on Merchants Row, Monday, Feb. 4.

Welch’s first topic was immigration, and the related recent shutdown, which Welch called “avoidable.”

“Last year a bipartisan budget bill providing some funding for President Trump’s wall and ‘Dreamer’ protection passed the Senate by a two-thirds vote,” Welch said. “Speaker Ryan refused to put it to a House vote, where it would have passed.”

Welch cited the Feb. 15 deadline for finding an agreeable budget compromise to avoid another Trump-threatened government shutdown.

“The recent five-week shutdown cost the economy $11 to $13 billion dollars,” Welch said. “We should be grateful to TSA employees and air controllers who continued to work without pay. They take their jobs seriously, and kept a positive attitude.”

The congressman said a shutdown “erodes confidence in the systems of our democracy.” He does not expect another shutdown to occur if a deal isn’t made by the 15th.

“Never again should this or any future president shut down the federal government as a political tactic to gain approval of a proposed policy. Congress should reform its budgeting process so that short term and temporary government funding is triggered whenever budget negotiators reach an irreconcilable impasse,” Welch told the Mountain Times.

The group who sat with Welch last Monday included Laurie Mecier-Brochu of Four Seasons Sotheby Real Estate and Chamber president; Mark Foley Jr. of the Foley Family of Businesses and a director at Rutland Economic Development Corporation; Caprice Hover, executive director of Rutland Area United Way; Blair Enman of Enman Kesselring Consulting Engineers and an REDC director; Norm Ladabouche of A.M. Peisch and Chamber second treasurer; Sarah Fuman of Heritage Family Credit Union and Chamber first vice president; Russ Marsan of Carpenter & Costin and Chamber first treasurer; Tyler Richardson, REDC executive director; Kim Rupe, REDC assistant director; Bill Ackerman of Green Mountain Marketing and Advertising; and Mary Cohen, the executive director of the chamber.

Welch said rural Vermont areas are hurting, and one of the causes is lack of broadband internet access. He feels this is an issue on which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground.

During the question and answer session, Foley complained that Vermont’s federal employees are all concentrated in Chittenden County—spreading federal facilities and spending around the state would be helpful. Welch agreed, adding that a proposed infrastructure bill would invest money in local communities and education spending to train Vermont’s young people in vocations and technology necessary to bring employers to the state.

Laurie Mecier-Brochu said there are plenty of people looking for work – her firm’s ad for an administration person received over 300 applications in three days.

“The applicants had jobs – they were looking for a new job with a living wage,” she said.

Caprice Hover added that people are looking for jobs that also provide training to help them advance.

She said Opportunity Zone money all went to Chittenden County. She also said major needs in the Rutland region include quality, reasonably-priced child care and affordable housing.

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