Commentaries/Op-ed submissions are written by those who have a particular authority and/or expertise on the topic they’re opining about. They are chosen by the editorial team often to inspire conversation and/or differing viewpoints worth consideration in public discourse.

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A broken system

April 24, 2024
By Ross Connelly Editor’s note: This commentary is by Ross Connelly of Hardwick. Now retired, he was the editor and co-publisher of The Hardwick Gazette from 1986 to 2017. He is a past president of the Vermont Press Association and the New England Press Association. A quick look at the internet provides ample evidence that…

Baby Bonds would empower Vermonters to improve their lives

April 17, 2024
By Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield As the founders of Ben & Jerry’s, we know firsthand the power of investing in Vermont’s communities. Since opening our first location in downtown Burlington, we’ve used our platform to support economic and social justice. That’s why we wholeheartedly support the proposal to create a Baby Bonds program in…

New Secretary of Education sees opportunity in Vt schools

April 17, 2024
By Zoie Saunders Editor’s note: The following is a message addressed to Vermont educators, students and families from incoming Education Secretary Zoie Saunders, who was appointed to the position on March 22 and began April 15, the Senate is expected to take up her confirmation hearing April 23. I am delighted and honored to be joining…

NAR Settlement: What it means for home buyers and sellers in Vermont

April 17, 2024
By Steven Foster Editor’s note: Steven Foster is president of the Vermont Association of Realtors, a statewide association of over 2,000 real estate practitioners. On March 15, 2024, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced a $418 million settlement that would resolve litigation over claims in a national class action lawsuit brought on by home…

An opportunity for our children, schools and communities

April 10, 2024
By John Freitag Editor’s note: John Freitag retired in 2017 from a 34-year career as facilities director at the Newton Elementary School in Strafford. He has long been involved in community and school issues both locally and on a state level. He recently finished his fourth term on the Strafford Select Board as chair and…

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We’re moms, our kids are in public school and we helped select Zoie Saunders as Vermont’s next education secretary

April 10, 2024
By Kristin Clouser, Monica Hutt, Rebecca Kelley, Julie Moore and Kendal Smith As members of Governor Scott’s cabinet and senior staff, we were part of the team who interviewed candidates for our next secretary of the Agency of Education. All five of us are also moms of kids currently in, or graduated from, Vermont’s public…

Real affordability

April 3, 2024
By Emily Long Editor’s note: Emily Long is the State House majority leader. As Democrats, there’s nothing we care more about than making sure Vermont is a place where everyone can afford to live. We’re working hard to pass legislation that makes a real difference for folks, and it’s no secret that we have some…

Enough is enough!

April 3, 2024
  By Rep. Pattie McCoy Editor’s note: Pattie McCoy, Rutland – 1, is the House Republican Leader.  Today, [March 28] the House Republican Caucus is sounding the alarm. The supermajority is off the rails, and out of control. And Vermonters have had enough. Vermonters are struggling. They are stretched thin, trying to make ends meet.…

Only 1% up but defeated: examining the Slate Valley school district budget before revote April 11

April 3, 2024
By Pati Beaumont Editor’s note: The following commentary was written by Pati Beaumont, chairperson of the Slate Valley Unified Union School Board, as an open letter to the Slate Valley Unified Union School District community and published here by request. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 2,472 individuals who exercised their…

Creating the college of the future

March 27, 2024
  By Alex Hernandez Editor’s note: Alex Hernandez is the president of Champlain College in Burlington. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that “roughly half of college graduates end up in jobs where their degrees aren’t needed,” raising uncomfortable questions about the value of a college education. The report is part of a drumbeat of…

U.S. Republicans slammed for craven, hateful anti-trans bills

March 27, 2024
  By U.S. Rep. Becca Balint Editor’s note: On March 21, Rep. Becca Balint (VT-AL) called out hateful anti-trans bills in the House Judiciary Committee. Her remarks below:  “So here we are, spending time, one again, using our valuable time to pick on a class of people in this country. I believe I’m the only…

Boys, men, and missed opportunity

March 20, 2024
By Dan Smith Editor’s note: Dan Smith is the president & CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation. What if young men in America and Vermont attended college or continued their training at the same rate as the state’s young women? What if boys and men did not commit suicide or die from overdose at rates…

Space for rivers to move

March 20, 2024
  S.213 helps proactively protect our communities before the next flood By Kathy Urffer Editor’s note: Kathy Urffer, of Brattleboro, is the river steward for Connecticut River Conservancy in Vermont. As river steward for Connecticut River Conservancy, I can’t stop thinking about rivers. Since the 2011 Tropical Storm Irene, as an organization we have been racing…

Rejection of school budgets shows need for new funding method

March 13, 2024
By Don Tinney Editor’s note: Don Tinney is a longtime high school English teacher who serves as the elected president of the 13,000-member Vermont-NEA. The Vermont-National Education Association is the union of Vermont educators. My fellow 13,000 members and I know that last night’s rejection of nearly a third of all school budgets isn’t a…

Building together: A call for collaborative housing legislation

March 6, 2024
  Editor’s Note: This commentary is by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the Vt .Natural Resources Council, and the Vt. Association of Planning and Development Agencies. Climate change poses a significant threat to Vermont’s natural resources, economy, and way of life. From extreme weather events to loss of biodiversity, the impacts are already evident. Simultaneously,…

It’s OK to vote ‘No’ on school budgets

February 28, 2024
By Tom Pelham  This commentary is by Tom Pelham of Berlin, who was finance commissioner in the Dean administration and tax commissioner in the Douglas administration and served on the Appropriations Committee in the Vermont House as an Independent. In February 1997, Vermont’s Supreme Court found “the current system for funding public education in Vermont,…

Get out there and vote

February 28, 2024
By Sarah Copeland Hanzas Editor’s note: Sarah Copeland Hanzas is Vermont’s 39th Secretary of State. She was a teacher, coach, small business owner and an 18-year member of the Vermont House before being elected as Secretary of State in 2022. As Vermont’s Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer, it’s my job to help sustain and defend…

Act 127 and the goal of equity

February 21, 2024
By Brooke Olsen-Farrell Editor’s note: Brooke Olsen-Farrell is the superintendent of the Slate Valley School District. I am proud to serve in a state that believes it is every child’s right to receive an excellent education, regardless of their background or zip code. So, it’s been unsettling to see some using Act 127, an act meant…

How Vermont has changed

February 21, 2024
By Nicholas Boke This commentary isby Nicholas Boke of Chester, a freelance writer and international education consultant. It was published earlier this month in VTDigger. I left Vermont in 2004 mainly because I wanted to work overseas. But I also felt the need to get away from the Vermont bubble. It was such a safe…

The answer to Vermont’s ‘underwater’ property market

February 15, 2024
By Peter G de Krassel Editor’s note: Peter G de Krassel is the founder of Breaking Housing Matters, and author of the newly released book “Custom Maid Housing for New World Disorder.” Vermont’s housing has priced itself beyond the reach of most buyers and renters — and is making people more house insecure after July’s…