Let’s Make Barre Brighter!
Summer Celebrations and the August 9 Primary
The past few weeks have been so full of life and celebration here in Barre and around the state. You may have seen our campaign team at the honk and wave events at City Hall Park on Thursday afternoons, or the food trucks and live music in Currier Park (when it wasn’t raining!). We got a great group together and walked in the Barre Heritage Festival Parade, with the star of the show being my niece Ophelia in her red Radio Flyer wagon festooned with balloons and streamers!
We’ve also been knocking on our neighbors doors, trying to reach as many voters as possible before the primary. I’ve been out with campaign volunteers and fellow Democrat, Representative Peter Anthony, in every ward, listening to Barre residents about important issues like the housing crisis, the opioid epidemic, and preserving reproductive liberties .
The August 9 primary is just a few days away. If you haven’t returned your Early/Absentee ballot, make a plan to drop it off at City Hall on Monday or bring it to the polls on Tuesday. If you plan to vote in person, the polls are open from 7am to 7pm at the BOR hockey fieldhouse. You can drive through and vote without leaving your car or park and go inside to vote.
Even though the Democratic primary for Barre’s two house seats is uncontested, I encourage you to get out the vote. We need to demonstrate that Barre City stands for democratic values like ensuring a livable wage, delivering healthcare for all, addressing the climate crisis, and more. November, and the general election, is just around the corner.
See you on Tuesday,
Again and again as I hear from folks in Barre City, the number one issue people express concern about is housing. The cost of housing, both to rent and own in Barre and around the state of Vermont (indeed, the whole country) has skyrocketed. With inflation and the rising cost of healthcare and food, folks are being pushed out of their homes, or cannot find suitable housing in our community. Barre is lucky to have a plethora of housing when compared to other Vermont communities. Our old homes add character and charm to our community, but many need upgrades to be safe, affordable places to live.
I am encouraged by the effort Mayor Jake Hemmerick is heading to invest the federal recovery funds into housing initiatives. Drawing down additional state and federal funding via grants and loans to fix up our homes, and partnering with local organizations like Downstreet and Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity are also steps we can take to attract new residents and investments while ensuring that we have housing that is affordable to our neighbors.
Further solutions could include removing Act 250 requirements for downtowns, which would reduce unnecessary red tape. Really all of Act 250 needs a complete overall, rather than incremental fixes, but discussing that would take up more space than we have in this newsletter (or all our newsletters combined!).
Streamlining what is required by our planning and zoning bylaws is necessary for all Vermont communities, not just Barre. I can personally attest to this as a former Planning Commission Chair—the state needs to supply volunteer driven planning and zoning boards with a great deal more technical assistance than is available, and stop passing the onus of planning onto already overworked municipal employees. For many communities, rezoning is an appropriate fix, especially if the state provides help. Allowing more accessory dwelling units by alleviating density restrictions is a great example of how we can use zoning to encourage new housing development.
Another solution is to restrict corporate buyers, who strangle the housing supply, by raising their property taxes (and NOT RAISING the taxes of everyday Vermonters). When elected, I will work to see that the legislature takes up this issue to help make housing more affordable for everyone.
For additional information and context, here is a great piece from Vermont Public on the housing crisis in our state. I encourage you to give it a read or listen.
We will continue to host listening sessions throughout the summer—follow the Jonathan For Barre Facebook and Instagram pages for details on dates and times.
VPIRG Votes Endorsement
I am very excited to share that I have been endorsed by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group’s political action committee, VPIRG Votes. VPIRG's mission is to promote and protect the health of Vermont's people, environment, and local economies. It is a noble mission. Learn more about VPIRG and VPIRG Votes and consider getting involved. Thank you, VPIRG! Let's make Barre brighter, together.
Show your support for Jonathan!
Help us build a brighter Barre by showing your support publicly. Here are a few ways to support Jonathan:
- Share this newsletter with a friend or neighbor
- Donate to the campaign (we’ll send you a t-shirt if you donate $30 or more)
- Display a lawn sign