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Vermont Lieutenant Governor holds events to discuss state and national issues

Vermont Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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Vermont Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray (file)

Vermont Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray, who is running for Congress, has held several events recently to discuss issues of interest to residents.

Gray has reinstituted a virtual issues series called Seat at the Table that she held during the last legislative session. The inaugural discussion this session was on the state’s climate mitigation goals and developing the energy and energy efficiency workforce. The Democrat says the topic was chosen because the state’s Climate Council recently released its Action Plan.

“I know that a lot of folks here participated in not only drafting the Global Warming Solutions Act and then getting it passed by the legislature but also participated in the Climate Council and then releasing the Climate Action Plan. Which is a really exciting and interesting framework for our state as we think about meeting our climate action goals," said Gray. "And then with that really diving into what does it mean to build the workforce and create opportunity here in the state to meet those goals.”

Encore Renewable Energy is a Vermont-based solar company. CEO Chad Farrell told attendees that the Vermont Climate Council’s action plan will help to significantly develop the state’s climate economy.

“Mitigating the negative effects of climate change and moving towards a fully decarbonized economy essentially offers the single greatest economic development opportunity of the 21st century. We clearly have a lot of work to do," said Farrell. "But we’re recognizing the fact that we need to move to an energy economy that is powered 100 percent by renewable energy both within the state of Vermont and beyond. And that we need to be looking at everything with a lens of equity.”

Gray also hosted a panel discussion on voter rights. She says while there have been setbacks in Congress and many other states, Vermont is a leader in protecting voter access to the polls.

“Vermont is showing the nation the right path forward. We’ve done that. We have so many examples of ways that we’re expanding access to the ballot box for every Vermonter." Gray explains, "We have expanded absentee voting and early voting. We have enabled cities and towns to use ballot drop boxes. We’ve adopted same day voters’ registration. We’ve enabled universal vote-by-mail. In 2020 we had record voter turnout because of vote-by-mail in both our primary and general elections.”

Republican Governor Phil Scott has called on the legislature to expand automatic mailed ballots to all elections in the state.

Gray, who as Lieutenant Governor presides over the state Senate, faces Senate Pro Tem Becca Balint and Chittenden Senator Kesha (kAy-sha) Ram-Hinsdale in a Democratic Congressional primary for the lone U.S. House seat being vacated by Democrat Peter Welch.

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