Candidates for State Representative: Maida Townsend

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Thursday October 25, 2018

Name: Maida F. Townsend, District 7-4
Party: Democrat

Education: Degree/graduate work for teaching of French language, literature, history, culture

Occupation: Retired teacher
Years as SB resident: 28 years


1 What skills and experience uniquely qualify you for the position of State Representative? (100 words)

I am not “uniquely qualified.” Chittenden 7-4 is populated by a host of “qualified” individuals, all concerned for their neighbors’ well-being and the well-being of the state, all with their own life experience, and none too shy about speaking their mind. What is “unique” is my six years serving in House Government Operations (HGO), the last two as Chair. I am steeped in knowledge that I can use for both state public policy and individual concerns of constituents, and I consistently do so with vigor and attention to detail.


2 What is the most important statewide legislative issue to be addressed in the upcoming term, and what specific solutions do you suggest or support in overcoming the problem? (100 words)

Two years ago, I responded “affordability and tax burden.” Those remain key areas of concern. I must now add climate, not unrelated. One 2018 Nobel in Economics was just awarded for work demonstrating economic harm from carbon emissions. It is these emissions which fuel global warming and extreme climate impacts. Our latest data? Vermont’s 2015 carbon emissions were 16 percent higher than they were in 1990. What to do? An independent, professional report due January 2019 will assess four possible policies to reduce carbon emissions. We must pay attention, and then act.


3 What are the key issues 1) in your own district, and 2) in the City of South Burlington? How will you address these locally and on the state level?  (200 words)

Chittenden 7-4 is a district of modest income, with a high number of residents, seniors on fixed incomes, as well as newer young families and singles struggling to make ends meet. The issue is tax burden. Within the district, the Chamberlin neighborhood has suffered continued loss of affordable housing. Many Chamberlin residents are adamant that we are not “disposable,” nor is our school. Citywide, many residents are adamant that our trees and meadows, our wild life, are not “disposable.” The issue is quality of life.

Tax burden: I must do my part to continue bending the curve of state spending while maintaining needed direct services to Vermonters. My colleagues and I must also pursue further reform of our tax structure, including a shift to education funding based more on income than property. Quality of life: The governance structure of the airport, which Burlington alone “controls,” has been a far-reaching headache for our city as well as for neighboring communities. I will reintroduce H.644 and H.654, both of which address regional governance. At the local level, I will continue my particular support of local initiatives touching on food and housing security, well-being: Common Roots, SBLT, and Champlain Housing Trust.


4 What specific priorities or objectives do you hope to accomplish if elected? (100 words)

Within the HGO, accountability and transparency in state government, examples being:
• Implementation monitored of racial equity in state government
• Reform of campaign finance, including public financing
• Vital Records Statewide Registration System
• Ethics requirements of elected and appointed officials; ethics commission authority
• Oversight of sheriffs and other law enforcement
• Results-based accountability throughout legislative work

Outside the HGO:
• Constitutional amendment process: Slavery and indentured servitude of minors deleted
• Emotional abuse included for relief from abuse orders
• Clean water funding; carbon emissions action
• Affordable/accessible child care and housing
• Regional BIA governance