I completely agree with what Maura Collins stated in Proposition 4: Vermont must reduce economic disparity, advance economic opportunity and rebuild the middle class. I would only add that from my experience great economic disparities heighten divisions in communities and make difficult for people to trust each and work together for the common good.
Shortly after I arrived in the Upper Valley nearly eight years ago, I went to the local town clerk’s office. While there, I met a man who had lived in the area all of his life and served in various capacities in local government. When he told him that I’d just moved into town he gave me an earful about wealthy residents who worked at Dartmouth or launched their careers from there and return to the area after retirement. He resented what he believed to be their sense of superiority and entitlement. “They want what they want when they want it,” he said. And he noted that they have little patience if community government or businesses can’t provide it quickly.
The pandemic has led many affluent people to purchase homes in Vermont, where they can retire or work remotely, driving up real estate prices, and widening the income gap among residents of many communities. I hope that Vermont will find ways to retain and welcome residents of all economic and racial backgrounds and foster ways for them to work together to make our many wonderful communities even better.