EMMA'S PLATFORM

Emma is running for state representative to advance economic justice, strengthen education, and create a more equitable Vermont. Equity is fundamentally about fairness. We must acknowledge and redress the institutional and cultural barriers facing Vermonters of marginalized races, gender or sexual identities, economic statuses, immigration statuses, or abilities.
A Vote for Emma Is A Vote For: 

Worker Rights and Economic Dignity for All

 

Vermont must do better in its work to support low-wage workers. 38.8% of women make less than a livable wage while working full-time and just over 15% make just above minimum wage. The wage gap increases for people of color. (See Change the Story report)  Increasing the minimum wage to a livable wage is a critical policy change needed, and the State must grapple with the high cost of living in both our urban and rural communities. The major components of a typical family’s budget are child care costs, transportation, housing and health insurance. 

 

We must also make workplaces safer and fairer for working people who do not benefit from the protection of a union. Recently, the way we work no longer neatly fits into employer-employee arrangements. More and more people, like Emma, are self-employed or work in the gig economy as independent contractors to make ends meet. We need to modernize our labor laws and economic policy to respond to the realities facing working Vermonters today. 

Emma's Economic Justice Policy Priorities:
  • Increase the state minimum wage (currently $10.78) to a livable wage. For a single person the Joint Fiscal Office estimates a livable wage is $13.34 and for a family of four with two wage earners, it jumps to about $22/hour. Emma supports the Raise the Wage position of increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. The narrow override of the Governor's veto of an increase to $12.55 by 2022 indicates we need better champions in the Statehouse who understand that incremental minimum wage increases will not close the income inequality gap that hurts low-wage workers and hurts our economy. Moreover it is time to review the fairness of the minimum wage exception categories for tipped workers, agricultural workers, domestic workers and students.

  • Eliminate gender-and race-based wage gaps in public and private places of employment. 

  • Create due process rights for all employees so no one may be fired from a job without just cause and create more worker protections for independent contractors such as minimum sick leave.

  • Simplify the steps to form a union by allowing workers to use a one-step card check system rather than a two-part process that allows employers to create an unfair environment for the union election by unduly influencing workers or reducing their workforce.

  • Require contractors with the state to pay at least a livable wage as defined by the Joint Fiscal Office for any contracts over $15,000 (see Burlington, VT ordinance). 

  • Require the hiring of qualified Vermont businesses and workers by creating parameters for “project labor agreements” for large publicly funded projects and set minimum wage and benefit standards for employees working on these projects. 

  • Expand unemployment benefits to all self-employed workers to modernize this critical policy for supporting workers during employment transitions and in times of personal or collective economic crisis (COVID). 

Fostering Healthy Family Policy Positions

As a mother of two young children, Emma is living through the economic challenges well known to working parents. Finding affordable, high quality child care is difficult in every corner of the state. The closure of several centers due to COVID, which exacerbated existing operational challenges, creates even more pressure on the system. Waiting lists are long and sustaining years of child care costs causes families to face hard choices. Let's Grow Kids notes that a family of four with two children earning $50,000 could spend up to 41.2% of its income on child care. (See Let’s Grow Kids report)


Emma contended with two painful family leave challenges over the last five years similar too many families' experiences. Despite having weeks of sick and vacation leave available, employees like Emma can face discontinuation of health insurance benefits and unpaid leave by employers who are knowingly or unknowingly not meeting minimum state requirements. In the other cases, self-employed contractors like Emma must frequently return as soon as one month after giving birth due to the unaffordable nature of taking more unpaid time off. Forcing parents into these situations undermines our society’s ability to foster healthy families, healthy children, and healthy communities.

Emma's Healthy Family Policy Priorities: 
  • Increase child care subsidy funds (Child Care Financial Assistance Program) to allow more Vermonters to receive financial support in paying for child care. The reimbursement rates offered by the state’s current CCFAP program are lower than the true operating costs for child care programs. The state must close the gap and offer subsidy payments that are in line with current program expenses.

  • Increase state support of child care providers to be able to increase wages of early educators to recognize and value these professionals as they deserve and build continuity and stability within this important workforce. High quality child care is a critical part of building strong communities and supporting healthy child development. Plus, most early educators are women and strong state investment in this workforce contributes to closing the gender wage gap (see Change the Story reports). Emma supports initiatives advanced by Let’s Grow Kids to create a wage support program for early educators and create a student loan repayment program for early educators.

  • Create universal paid family leave which is accessible to every worker, regardless of whether they are self-employed or employed at a large employer, funded equally by employers and employees and allows people to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for children or ill family members. 

Equitable Schools and Progressive Education Funding

Emma worked alongside public school educators for the last decade building community campaigns to strengthen schools and communities. Our communities need robust and positive educational outcomes for all of our kids and Vermont’s educators have made commitments to understand how racial and economic bias creates disparities. 

 

Emma supports the rapid creation of racial and economic equity initiatives for all school district employees and state policies and guidelines to create anti-racist and equitable schools. 

 

Educational equity means that students with racial, economic, gender or sexual identity, language, or ability barriers with worse outcomes than their white and higher incomes counterparts receive the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. Redesigning our schools as inclusive learning environments that welcome and leverage all students’ lived experiences as assets, rather than deficits, will build the confidence that all of our children need to lead a successful life. A student’s culture, skin color, identity, ability, or first language (Black, Brown, Indigenous, Person of Color, LGBTQ, gender identity, immigration status, or household income ) should not predetermine their success or experience in a Vermont school.

 
Emma's Priorities for Advancing Equity in Education: 
  • Create a more progressive education funding formula which ends property tax on primary residences, continues property tax on non-residential property and moves the bulk of education tax to an income-based system to allow Vermonters to pay what they can afford. See Public Assets education funding report.

  • Fully fund the implementation of the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity recommendations for ethnic studies curriculum standards that integrate the full scope of all ethnic, racial, gender and other marginalized identities into K-12 curriculum.

  • Require and support funding for professional learning for school educators, leaders and school boards that tackles bias, discrimination, and inequity related to racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and other marginalizing oppression. H.714 (2020) is a good start but Emma supports strengthening the bill to increase training requirements and improving data tracking as it relates to inequities in our schools. (Eee H.714 of 2020).

  • Examine and remove barriers that prevent the recruitment, advancement, support and retention of teachers and administrative leaders of colors from within and outside Vermont. Consider creating student loan forgiveness programs.

  • Examine the inequities revealed during the COVID pandemic and repurpose shuttered schools as centers for child care, pre-K, and adult education opportunities, sustained food security hubs, health clinics, tech hubs with broad-band, and other programs that are responsive to local needs.

Justice for Marginalized People

​Oppression and racism exist. In Vermont, it is easy to minimize and avoid discussions of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination given the belief that Vermont is a progressive and inclusive state. We have much more work to do. We must all work to understand, name and redress the harm that policy and our governmental systems create for marginalized people. We must name the bias in our laws and work to root out the institutional harm made against Black, Brown, Indigenous, LGBTQ, gender non binary, transgendered and other marginalized identities. As a lesbian, Emma has experienced discriminatory practices by health insurance companies and navigated the additional legal and financial steps necessary for same-sex parents to gain the same legal status as heterosexual parents in Vermont and the country.

Emma's Social Justice Priorities: 
  • Defund and redesign the funding rationale for the state police and corrections departments to critically examine institutions that continue to harm and discriminate against people of color. Look to reinvest public dollars to services needed in communities including hiring of social workers, investment in affordable housing, and education.

  • Divest state funds from the prison, fossil fuels, weapon and military industries. 

  • Review and update administrative regulatory policies and state law that oversee gendered language and heteronormative data collection by health care providers, schools, and other public entities.  

Climate Change and the Environment

Climate justice is inextricably bound to all issues that shape our society. With only a few years to act, Burlington,  Vermont, and the world at large must  address the reality of the climate crisis. Climate justice is necessary for the future survival, health and well-being of our children, animals, and the earth itself. 

 

Emma took the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, a pledge to refuse any campaign contributions from fossil fuel lobbyists, executives or corporations, and is committed to aligning her values with her actions by pushing the State of Vermont to be  non reliant  on fossil fuels that destroy  our planet, and hold fossil fuel companies accountable.

Emma's Priorities for Climate and the Environment: 
  • Convert to 100% green energy in all sectors. We need to phase out fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions, set an example for other cities around the state and country, and promote the use of equitable forms of renewable energy.  This would mean a swift shift to renewables, and a ban on all new fossil fuel infrastructure.
     

  • Divest the state pension funds from fossil fuels. The state manages three major pension systems for state employees, educators and municipal employees. Investment decisions are an extension of our values. In this case, it also indicates our commitment level to impacting climate change by our ability to move our resources away from fossil fuel corporations and leverage investments in industries that improve our climate and the well-being of communities.  
     

  • Make all public transit fare-free.  Free public transportation is  more equitable, more efficient in terms of bus operations, and encourages the use of public transit. Fare-free public transit is also good for public health as it eliminates exchange of money and cards during a global pandemic. Emma will work with other community leaders to extend the practice of fare-free public transit beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. 
     

  • Convert to 100% electric public transit  would contribute to reducing  our state’s  carbon footprint. In Burlington,  a City that heavily relies on buses, using more electric buses would be more efficient, and cheaper in the long term. 
     

  • Protect Lake Champlain.  The lake is overwhelmed by cyanobacteria blooms that could be drastically reduced by capturing phosphorus before it hits the lake. This includes supporting and requiring all communities along the lake’s watershed to take steps to mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce use of phosphorus on agricultural land, and upgrade wastewater system. These endeavors are not inexpensive and should not be left to a handful of communities to finance on their own. The state should be an active partner in leveraging funds to support clean water. 
     

  • Create a universal rental weatherization. This is another important step towards reducing the use of fossil fuels and keeping our community members comfortable and warm during the winter time.

Health Care

Health care is a human right. Health insurance should not be tied to employment status or cause financial hardship or bankruptcy. Period. We need Medicare for All on a federal level. In Vermont, we must expand programs like Dr. Dynasaur, continue to fully fund Medicare and Medicaid, and make sure all regions of the state can access health care clinics. We must also leverage state regulatory measures to prevent insurance companies from increasing insurance premiums, prescription drug costs and keep healthcare providers accountable in how they spend healthcare dollars.  

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Paid for by Emma for the Vermont House, 79 Front St., Burlington, VT 05401
Treasurer Kelly Mangan