Thursday October 25, 2018
Name: Martin LaLonde, District 7-1
Education: Associate in Arts, Alpena Community College; Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Michigan; Juris Doctorate, University of Michigan Law School
Years as SB resident: 11
1 What skills and experience uniquely qualify you for the position of State Representative? (100 words)
My experiences as a legislator, school board member, attorney, and father qualify me for the position as State Representative. I have served on the House Judiciary Committee for four years, where I have contributed to legislation that enhances public safety, improves access to justice, and protects due process and privacy rights. I am currently serving a third, three-year term on the district’s school board, where I have sought to ensure that South Burlington continues to offer quality public education at a cost that taxpayers can support.
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)
The state’s economy is growing, but we need to do better. To improve our economy, we need to attend to those strengths that attract businesses and workers: invest in and right-size our quality public education system, continue to provide health care and state programs that make Vermont one of the healthiest states, and clean up and preserve our great outdoors. We also need to address obstacles: attract and retain workers by investing in more affordable housing, early childcare, and family leave, and attract businesses by expanding broadband access, and keep state budget growth in line with revenue growth.
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)
District 7-1 and the city share similar concerns. A high priority is cleaning Lake Champlain. I will continue to press for a stable and ongoing funding source for cleaning the lake. That source should be tied to the pollution causing the degradation of the lake, such as a tax on fertilizer containing phosphorus or on impervious surfaces. I will also try to ensure that the state is doing enough to help municipalities address combined sewage overflows. My constituents are also concerned about climate change. I will continue to advocate for putting a fee on carbon pollution at a state or regional level and will consider other initiatives that come out of the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office study on climate solutions. South Burlington residents also want our schools to continue to offer a top education to the city’s students at a cost taxpayers can afford. I will continue to support school consolidation efforts at the state level, which should benefit South Burlington’s schools by reducing statewide education costs. Residents are also concerned about having sufficient affordable housing while not overdeveloping open spaces. I’ll monitor the Legislature’s consideration of amendments to Act 250 to ensure these concerns are addressed.
4 What specific priorities or objectives do you hope to accomplish if elected? (100 words)
I hope to serve again on the Judiciary Committee to pursue a number of priorities. I intend to continue to seek ways to keep individuals struggling with substance addiction out of the criminal justice system through, for example, the expanded use of treatment courts. I hope to continue to balance the need for ensuring public safety with reducing Vermont’s incarceration rate through my work with Vermont’s Sentencing Commission. Also, I hope to improve the safety of Vermont’s highways. A few non-judiciary priorities: funding water cleanup, expanding early childcare, making progress on addressing climate change, and protecting vulnerable Vermonters.