Issues

Join Team Holcombe

Vermont’s challenges and its potential for future prosperity are intersectional and overlapping. This means that the issues facing Vermonters do not fall solely in one category or another. In outlining my campaign platform, you will see some initiatives listed twice – this is intentional. “Targeted investment at inclusive and affordable homes and rentals” is something that’s good for the economy, for the preservation of our downtowns, and for the future of our environment. “Confronting out of control costs of healthcare and pharmaceuticals” is important for the health of our people, and the economic viability of our schools, government institutions, and the businesses that employ Vermont’s workers.

Real Affordability
Too many Vermonters feel caught in the gap between stagnant wages and rising costs and taxes. As your governor, I will:

  1. Confront out of control costs of healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
  2. Target investment at inclusive and affordable homes and rentals in walkable downtowns.
  3. Strengthen coordination across state government to make sure critical services from mental health support, to child care, to public health services can be provided in more cost-effective and community-friendly ways. 

A Sustainable, Green-Energy Economy:
Climate change is here.  Renewable energy is our future. As your governor, I will:

  1. Refocus our current public investments to move us out of our fossil-fuel dependence, and into a sustainable, green energy future. 
  2. Support innovation in green technologies and markets that build community wealth, including in our rural counties.
  3. Ensure equity of opportunity across regions and protect low and moderate income Vermonters in the transition.

Climate and the Environment:
Our environment and landscape defines us and supports our economy. As your governor, I will:

  1. Work proactively to protect and restore the quality of our water, soils, and forests at a rate that returns them to cleaner days of the past.
  2. Protect our working lands that keep us healthy and ensure our food security.

Community and Family Health:
When our communities are healthy, happy, and strong, they become attractive places for people to live and for business to prosper. As your governor, I will:

  1. Target investment at inclusive and affordable homes and rentals in walkable downtowns.
  2. Address rising costs of healthcare, because we cannot afford to wait for national solutions.
  3. Ensure equitable access to education and childcare for all Vermonters.
  4. Facilitate statewide dialogue on how Vermont supports people of color and members of the immigrant & refugee community.

Workforce Development:
Our people are our most important asset. Skilled workers have higher wages. Although we spend a lot on workforce development, we don’t always get as much as we could for the investments we make. As your governor, I will:

  1. Coordinate the efforts necessary to ensure every child gets a strong start, can be part of a good community school, and has good care so that parents are able to work.
  2. Make sure Vermonters can access post-secondary opportunities and credentials that prepare them for high wage jobs in our high-growth economic sectors, including in the trades.
  3. Support unions, because unions support wage equity and safe workplaces. 

Ethics, Transparency, & Justice:
The public has a right to know that its leaders work for the public, and not for well-resourced special interests. Recent events related to EB-5, conflicts of interest in state contracts, and extremely troubling revelations in the corrections system have eroded public trust. As your governor, I will:

  1. Work to rebuild public trust in state institutions by strengthening requirements related to ethics and transparency across all sectors of government.
  2. Ensure that criminal justice reform efforts are clearly supported, and make an intentional effort to bring down the prison population and end racial disparities in Vermont’s criminal justice system.

Rebecca’s Promise to Vermont:

Education is one of the most important investments we make. When we make sure every child grows up healthy and capable, the whole state gains the benefit of their strong hands and able minds. When we have strong schools, we end up with workers who can make us prosperous and contribute to the civic lives of our communities. If you want to determine the strength of a community, look at its public school.

When  I was appointed Vermont’s Secretary of Education in 2014, I took the helm of an Agency that had been devastated by budget cuts – about 40% less in state general fund dollars than it had received 10 years earlier. And, as I took office, Vermont was the first state compelled by the harmful No Child Left Behind Act to label all of our schools ‘failing.’ Based on the parameters of the No Child Left Behind Act our children were labeled ‘not proficient.’

In the subsequent years, I reorganized the Agency of Education and worked closely with our amazing team of dedicated public servants to meet the demands of wave after wave of new laws.

These events taught me that there are three ways we can erode our democratic institutions:

  1. Underfund them
  2. Give them too much to do
  3. Fail to understand that knowledge and experience matter when you are trying to fix the state’s problems.

I wouldn’t try to fix my car engine on my own, but I have a darn good mechanic. Nor would I try to fix education without consulting with communities about their needs.  

Details matter. When Vermont’s leadership doesn’t pay attention to details, we give up federal dollars that would pay for critical priorities like health care reform and housing, as we have done in the last few years. That is poor governance.  

When we couple these problems with a lack of transparency and weak ethics guidelines, we face a toxic erosion of trust in the ability of democratic institutions to be a force for good. 

When we erode our democratic institutions, the people hurt most are those who have experienced life catastrophes or are disadvantaged. We end up losing the full benefit of their strong hands, brave hearts, and good brains as we work to build a strong economy and a bright sustainable future. 

With your help, I promise to work on behalf of all Vermonters to restore trust in the public institutions that support us all and to provide our communities with the foundation necessary for a prosperous Vermont future.