Vt. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson on COVID relief and the road ahead

The Vermont Legislature have temporarily adjourned after appropriating about $1 billion in coronavirus relief funds. The money is intended to help Vermonters, businesses, and communities survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson discusses what was passed, how governing is happening during the pandemic, and the challenges ahead. Note: Due to a technical problem the first 15 minutes of the interview was not recorded. (July 1, 2020 broadcast)

Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson

 

Black Lives Matter & criminal justice reform: Vt. Judiciary Chair Sen. Dick Sears

Vermont Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) discusses criminal justice and policing reform in the age of Black Lives Matter protests and police brutality revelations. He also discusses reducing Vermont’s prison population and ending the “warrior mentality” of police. (July 1, 2020 broadcast)

Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington), Chair, Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee


“The greatest voter fraud is denying an American the right to vote:” Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos

Pres. Trump declared at a rally in Arizona this week: “This will be in my opinion the most corrupt election in the history of our country, and we can not let this happen.” Trump has repeatedly claimed without proof that expanded mail-in voting will lead to voting fraud. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, past president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, accuses Trump of promoting voter suppression. He discusses efforts nationally and in Vermont to expand voter access. (June 24, 2020 broadcast)

Jim Condos, Vermont Secretary of State

We need “a radical reconception of policing:” Ex-Police Chief Brandon del Pozo

In a forceful New York Times op-ed following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Brandon del Pozo, a former NYPD officer and police chief of Burlington, Vermont, slammed police for having “aligned themselves with the president’s flagrant racism and callous disregard for the nation’s people of color.” He criticizes police reform, writing, “When it comes to reform, America’s police leaders have long been content to kick the can down the road because making real change is so hard.” Del Pozo served as Burlington’s top cop for four years, resigning in December 2019 following a scandal over his use of social media, which he discusses. Since then, he has earned a PhD in philosophy and is now a public health and drug policy researcher affiliated with Brown University. Del Pozo discusses calls to defund police and says that police leadership needs to experience “getting hit with a frying pan.” “Sometimes after you stop seeing stars you get clarity when you get hit with a frying pan. We could stand to have a frying pan effect in American policing.” (June 24, 2020 broadcast)

Brand del Pozo, former chief, Burlington (Vt.) Police Department

Black Lives in the Green Mountains: Race & racism in Vermont

According to the ACLU of Vermont, “Every metric we have shows that Black Vermonters face systemic barriers to education, health care, employment, and justice.” Too often, conversations about racism consist of white reporters (like me) asking black people to explain their lives. In Vermont, this reflects the fact that most media outlets have few to no people of color on staff, an outgrowth of a system of white privilege that has provided countless opportunities for whites to advance in the world of journalism, while people of color are left off the airwaves and out of print. Maroni Minter, campaigns director at ACLU of Vermont and my nephew, discusses his own experiences with racism as an African American man in Vermont, and leads a conversation with Vermonters of color in a wide-ranging discussion about race and racism in one of the whitest states in the US. (June 17, 2020 broadcast)

Maroni Minter, campaigns director, ACLU of Vermont, co-host

Katrina Battle, Jabari Jones, Tophre Woods, Damien Garcia, Serenity Willis, Marlena Tucker-Fishman

 

How Democracies Die: Harvard Prof. Steven Levitsky

Is America on the brink of authoritarianism? Steven Levitsky has been wrestling with that question. Levistky is professor of government at Harvard University and is co-author, with fellow Harvard Professor Daniel Ziblatt, of the international bestselling book, How Democracies Die. “There’s lot to worry about,” says Levitsky. (June 10, 2020 broadcast)

This conversation has also been published as an article in Medium, “How Democracies Die.”

Steven Levitsky, Professor of Government, Harvard University, co-author, How Democracies Die

Is America at a tipping point? Bill McKibben on the Uprising

Could the wave of protests around the US signal a tipping point for social change? How are the issues of climate crisis, racism, police brutality, and the COVID-19 pandemic linked? Bill McKibben, a veteran activist and author, discusses the interconnections between the movements and the issues, and why the current uprising gives him hope. (June 10, 2020 broadcast)

Bill McKibben, founder, 350.org, contributing writer, The New Yorker

“Racism is death by a million cuts:” Former Rep. Kiah Morris on roots of the rebellion

America is in revolt. Following the police killings of unarmed African Americans George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, numerous cities have erupted in mass protests against racism, police brutality, white supremacy, and inequality. We discuss racism and the uprising with Kiah Morris. She says, “Racism in Vermont looks like disparate outcomes for those with COVID-19. Racism happens within our schools where children are policed. Racism is death by a million cuts. Systemic racism is a continued assault on the humanity of individuals.” Morris served as a Vermont State Representative from 2014 to 2018 and was the second African-American woman in Vermont history to be elected to the legislature. She resigned in 2018 following racist harassment from a self-avowed white nationalist in Bennington, Vt. Morris is now Movement Politics Director in Vermont for Rights & Democracy.

Kiah Morris, former Vt. State Rep., Movement Politics Director in Vermont, Rights & Democracy

“We have to defend the country from martial law:” James Lyall of ACLU of Vermont

Scenes of American soldiers and militarized police attacking peaceful protesters have shocked the world this week. James Lyall of the ACLU of Vermont says, “This is not a time for despair. It is a time for everyone to speak out, to protest, to demand change, and to pull out all the stops. We are in a moment when we both have to defend the country and its institions from a descent into martial law. And we have to fundamentally change those institutions that are at the root of this uprising.” (June 3, 2020 broadcast)

James Lyall, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont 

Essential but abandoned: Undocumented farmworkers in Vermont demand recognition

Immigrants and undocumented workers on Vermont’s dairy farms have been hit with a triple crisis: the coronavirus pandemic, the collapse of dairy farms, and the ongoing threat of deportation by ICE. Farmworkers, led by Migrant Justice, are demanding support to weather the multiple crises. “We may not be USA citizens, but we are Vermonters. We are sustaining the industry. There is an irony of being called essential workers but at the same time not being taken into account,” says Marita Canedo of Migrant Justice. (May 27, 2020 broadcast)

Marita Canedo, Migrant Justice

Thelma Gomez, Migrant Justice

“This is a crisis on top of a crisis:” Undocumented people fight for survival and support during pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic has hit immigrant communities harder than nearly any other group. But as trillions of dollars in relief money has been authorized by Congress, the undocumented, including essential workers, have been left out. We speak with two leaders of the undocumented community in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic, to discuss what is happening for immigrant communities. “We are human beings. We live here. We bring food to your table,” says Juan Carlos Ruiz. “We feel [the government] has failed us.” (May 27, 2020 broadcast)

Juan Carlos Ruiz, Lutheran pastor, Good Shepherd Church, Brooklyn and co-founder, national New Sanctuary Movement and the New Sanctuary Coalition in New York City

Cinthya Santos Briones, Mexican photographer, anthropologist, community organizer, author of photo essay in The Nation, “Immigrants Are Bearing the Brunt of the Coronavirus Crisis”

 

Who lives and who dies? Harvard epidemiologist Nancy Krieger on health disparities, COVID-19 & “our common humanity”

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected millions of people around the country and the world, but the rates of death among low-income and minority communities is disproportionately high. Why? Dr. Nancy Krieger, Professor of Social Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is an internationally recognized social epidemiologist who has been an activist and scholar on social justice, science, and health. She discusses how social factors, including racism, poverty, and where you live and work, often determine who lives and who dies when health crises hit. (May 20, 2020 broadcast)

Dr. Nancy Krieger, Professor of Social Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

“We are in serious trouble:” Prof. Amitai Etzioni on Trump and the threat of fascism

Amitai Etzioni is from a family of German Jews who fled Germany as Hitler and the Nazis were rising in the 1930s. He worries that fascism could come to America under Donald Trump. “Now we have a demagogue who can rile up the masses and undermine democratic institutions. We are in serious trouble.” Etzioni was a senior advisor to Pres. Jimmy Carter and is now a University Professor at George Washington University. He discusses how Carter “made every mistake in the book” in politics but that he compares favorably to Trump. He also examines the question of whether Trump has embraced Big Government or is simply bailing out his friends in private business. (May 20, 2020 broadcast)

Amitai Etzioni, advisor to Pres. Jimmy Carter, University Professor, George Washington University

“We are in an unprecedented moment:” Sens. Sanders, Leahy & Rep. Welch on COVID-19 response and road ahead

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many businesses and employees are relying on lifelines from emergency federal relief programs. Vermont’s Congressional delegation — Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch — discuss the federal response and the road ahead. “We have to express solidarity with each other,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders. “We have to rethink the basic structural foundation of American society.” This virtual Town Hall was sponsored by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility on May 7, 2020 and was moderated by Kristen Carlson of Green Mountain Power, a former reporter for WCAX. (May 13, 2020 broadcast)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont)

Is Trump accountable for COVID-19 deaths? Eugene Jarecki launches #TrumpDeathClock

In just the first two months of the pandemic, 70,000 Americans died of COVID-19–more Americans than died during the decade-long Vietnam War. Epidemiologists have written that if Trump had instituted social distancing on March 9, a week earlier than he did, there would have been a 60 percent reduction in deaths. Will President Trump be held accountable for the deaths? Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki writes in the Washington Post, “A national death clock is needed to measure the number of American lives that have been unnecessarily lost to President Trump and his administration’s failures in managing the coronavirus pandemic.” Jarecki discusses his effort to make the death clock go viral, and the silver linings that he sees in the pandemic. (May 6, 2020 broadcast)

Eugene Jarecki, filmmaker and author

“It’s time for the next generation of leadership:” Molly Gray runs for Vermont Lt. Governor

Molly Gray is a fourth generation Vermonter who grew up on a family farm and now works as an assistant attorney general in Vermont. She is running for Lt. Governor of Vermont. If elected, she would be just the fourth female lieutenant governor in Vermont and the first in over two decades. Gray graduated from the University of Vermont in 2006 and worked for Rep. Peter Welch’s (D-Vt.) first congressional campaign. She then served as an aide to Welch in Washington, D.C., went on to work for the International Committee of the Red Cross, then returned to Vermont attend Vermont Law School, where she graduated in 2014. Gray describes herself as “a product of Vermont” who knows how to unite people to get things done. She discusses why she’s running, how she differs from other candidates, and how issues such as paid family leave are personal for her. (May 6, 2020, broadcast) 

Molly Gray, candidate for Vermont Lt. Governor

“Lean on me:” Coping with COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis are impacting many people’s mental health. A recent poll by Kaiser showed that 45% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. In another indication of stress, alcohol sales are up by over 50%. Social distancing makes everything harder. Child abuse advocates point to a concerning drop in reported cases of abuse as children are no longer in school and seen by teachers and counselors. Vermont mental health and child abuse experts discuss what they are seeing and what people can do. Washington Country Mental Health is preparing a group singing of the Bill Withers classic, “Lean On Me.” A global performance of the song can be found here. (April 29, 2020 broadcast)

Mary Moulton, executive director, Washington Country Mental Health Services, VT

Margaret Joyal, director, Center For Counseling & Psychological Services, WCMHS

Linda E. Johnson, executive director, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont

“We’re nowhere near where we need to be:” Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman on COVID-19 testing, easing restrictions & a Second Wave

As President Trump pushes states to relax their COVID-19 restrictions amid protests, many sponsored by national conservative activists including the Mercer and Koch families, we talk with Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman, MD, MHS, PhD, about where we are in the pandemic and what lies ahead. He warns, “Without testing… you’re just waiting for another wave. We’re not really ready for meaningful re-engagement in most of this country.” (April 22, 2020 broadcast)

Read the article in Medium based on this Vermont Conversation.

Dr. Steven Goodman, Associate Dean, Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health, and Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine

 

Hunger grows in Vermont

The images are becoming a symbol of our time: 800 cars in line at a food shelf in Pittsburgh. New York City residents lined up for blocks to receive free food. In Vermont, food shelves are experiencing a spike in demand. Now a new study from UVM reveals that there has been a 33% increase in food insecurity in Vermont since the COVID-19 outbreak began. We discuss the rise in hunger in Vermont and what is being done to address it. (April 22, 2020 broadcast)

Meredith Niles, assistant professor, Nutrition and Food Sciences Department, University of Vermont

Rob Meehan, director, Feeding Chittenden

Anore Horton, executive director, Hunger Free Vermont

 

“This is a wake-up call:” Donna Carpenter of Burton Snowboards on fighting COVID-19, climate change & paying it forward

When Donna Carpenter, owner and board chair of Burton Snowboards, heard that local hospitals were asking for donations of personal protective equipment to deal with the widening COVID-19 pandemic, she thought of the nurses and physicians who cared for her late husband Jake Burton Carpenter, who founded Burton in 1977. Jake died in November 2019 of cancer. She was determined to help the people who helped her family  and so many others. Burton tapped its suppliers in China and she purchased a half-million N95 face masks that it is donating to the University of Vermont Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, and to hospitals in Boston and New York City. The company is also donating goggles and other items for personal protection. Carpenter says the federal response to COVID-19 is “a national disgrace.” She discusses the impact of the pandemic and climate change. “Maybe this a wake-up call. This is Mother Earths’ dress rehearsal.” (April 15, 2020 broadcast)

Donna Carpenter, owner and board chair, Burton Snowboards

Mutual aid in a pandemic: Vermont volunteers confront COVID-19

As Vermont grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers are stepping forward to play key roles in their communities. We talk with Vermonters involved in mutual aid and community-level response to the pandemic. (April 9, 2020 broadcast)

Allison Levin, executive director, Community Harvest of Central Vermont, currently leading volunteer coordination, Washington and Northern Orange Counties Regional Response Command Center (WNOC-RRCC)

Carrie Stahler,  director of community engagement, Green Mountain United Way 

Monique Priestly, executive director, Space On Main, organizer, Bradford Resilience

Joey Buttendorf, senior chef instructor, Community Kitchen Academy, Capstone Community Action

Jessica Tompkins,  Mad River Valley Emergency Response Team

Drew McNaughton, Marshfield & Plainfield mutual aid

Schools on the frontline: Delivering lessons, meals & hope in one Vermont school district

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools and students to transform overnight. Classes have gone from in person to online, meals are being served not in school buses instead of cafeterias, and teachers are conjuring new ways to maintain bonds between their distant students. We look at the challenges confronting the Harwood Union Unified School District in Vermont. We talk to teachers, students, food service workers, and administrators to hear how they are adapting to the new normal. And we hear how one 3rd grade teacher inspires hope and humor among her students everyday. (April 1, 2020 broadcast)

Tom Drake, principal, Warren Elementary School
Jonah Ibson, teacher, Harwood Union High School
Aliza Jernigan, 11th grade student, Harwood Union High School

Brigid Nease, superintendent, Harwood Union Unified School District
Katie Sullivan, grade 3/4 teacher, Warren Elementary School
Paul Morris, food services co-director, Harwood Union Unified School District

From masks to sanitizer: VT businesses adapt, worry & work for change in face of pandemic

How are Vermont businesses coping with the COVID-19 pandemic? For some, it means reinventing themselves. Caledonia Spirits and Silo Distillery have transformed from distilling spirits to making hand sanitizer for area hospitals and residents. Vermont Glove has transformed from sewing handmade leather gloves to making hand-sewn face masks for health care providers and public servants. Twincraft Skincare, a leading manufacturer of soap, is hiring to meet unprecedented demand. But other businesses are struggling with layoffs and uncertainty about what the future holds. We speak with Vermont businesspeople about how they are innovating, adapting and worrying about the uncertain future, and the chance to enact long-term change as a result of the crisis.(March 25, 2020 broadcast)

John & Jen Kimmich, The Alchemist, Stowe, VT

Ryan Christiansen, Caledonia Spirits, Montpelier, VT

Peter Jillson, Silo Distillery, Windsor, VT

Michele Asch, Twincraft Skincare, Winooski, VT

Bill Butcher, Mocha Joe’s Roasting Co., Brattleboro, VT

Sam Hooper, Vermont Glove, Randolph, VT

“Our house is burning down:” Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Steven Goodman on COVID-19

In our second COVID-19 conversation (first episode here, article on Medium), Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Steve Goodman discusses the latest scientific information emerging from Europe and China about how COVID-19 is spread and stopped, the evolving response, how lockdowns work in containing the pandemic, the ongoing US testing debacle, how the outbreak could have been handled in the US, and what lessons must be learned.  (March 18, 2020 broadcast)

Read the article in Medium based on this Vt Conversation.

Dr. Steven Goodman, Associate Dean, Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health, and Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine

“It’s really really serious – we have to be all in:” Rep. Peter Welch on federal response to COVID-19

Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) discusses how the federal government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has evolved from “a slow response, to a little bit of denial, to a cavalier response…to a sense of urgency and action.” He explains emergency funding that Congress is approving to assist businesses and individuals, and guarding against bad legislation slipped through during the emergency. “There is going to be massive unemployment. This is a time when there absolutely has to be a governmental response. We are in such a state of urgency that all of our energy has to go into how best to respond. It’s really really serious.” We also discuss Bernie Sanders’ presidential run and how the pandemic will affect the 2020 election. (March 18, 2020 broadcast)

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont)

“This is an impending catastrophe:” Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman on the coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is sweeping across the globe and has arrived in Vermont. Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman discusses the uniquely dangerous dimensions of this new pandemic, the botched federal response, the impact of the Trump Administration’s misinformation, and why he calls COVID-19 “a tsunami.” (March 11, 2020 broadcast)

Read the article version of this show in Medium.

Dr. Steven Goodman, associate dean, Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health, and Medicine, Stanford Medical School

Should there be billionaires? Chuck Collins, Oscar Mayer heir, says no

“The problem isn’t really individuals making money. The problem is having an entire system that grows the wealth of billionaires at the expense of everything else we care about — including our democracy,” writes Chuck Collins in an op-ed for CNN Business, “The US would be better off with fewer billionaires.”  Collins, who is the heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune, has long championed raising taxes on the rich and campaign finance reform, and writes extensively about inequality. Collins discusses Mike Bloomberg, the problem with philanthropy, and the many ways that billionaires undermine the middle class and democracy. (March 11, 2020 broadcast)

Chuck Collins, co-editor, Inequality.org at the Institute for Policy Studies, author, Born on Third Base

“I am incredibly proud of the title Madam Speaker:” Vt. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson

Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson is 1 of just 8 female Speakers of the House in US legislatures. Johnson was elected to the VT House of Reps in 2002. She rose to be chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, and was elected Speaker in 2017. She discusses the recent historic veto override of Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on raising the minimum wage — the first such override in the state since 2009. She also discusses the presidential run of Bernie Sanders, a tax and regulate system for marijuana, climate change, sexism, and how women lead. (March 4, 2020 broadcast)

Mitzi Johnson, Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives

Act 250 at 50: Debating the future of Vermont’s landmark environmental law

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Act 250, Vermont’s signature land use and development law. It was passed at a time when Vermont was undergoing significant development pressure. Two new interstate highways, I-89 and 91, had recently opened, increasing development pressure. But in the late 1960s, Vermont had no environmental regulations or land use controls. So Gov. Deane Davis appointed a commission to explore how to deal with these new challenges. The result was Act 250, which the Vermont legislature passed in 1970. The law provides a public, quasi-judicial process for reviewing and managing the environmental, social and fiscal consequences of major subdivisions and developments in Vermont.

Fast forward a half century. In January 2020, the Scott administration and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, which are often adversaries on environmental issues, proposed a package of Act 250 reforms. This reform plan has generated controversy among environmentalists and legislators. Last week, the legislature stripped out a key reform proposal to professionalize the development review process. What is the future of Act 250 and reform efforts? What has Act 250 contributed during its half-century? (February 26, 2020 broadcast)

Peter Walke, commissioner, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Brian Shupe, executive director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

Sen. Pres. Tim Ashe challenges “governing by veto” and talks political future

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe on the key legislative issues in 2020, including the failure of paid family leave and the veto of a higher minimum wage. He accuses Gov. Phil Scott of “governing by veto or veto threat.” And he discusses his political future and his run for Lieutenant Governor. (February 19, 2020 broadcast)

Sen. Tim Ashe, Vermont Senate President Pro Tem

Transforming disability to ability: Vermont Adaptive changes lives

Visitors to Vermont’s mountains will encounter people with disabilities skiing and participating in sports that once might have seemed beyond reach. They are participants with Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, a nationally recognized organization that empowers people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of ability to pay. We discuss the impacts and origins of this pioneering program. (February 19, 2020 broadcast)

Kim Jackson, director of communications & marketing, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports

Emily Cioffi, mono skier

Kyle Robideaux, a skier with visual impairment who is also an ultra trail runner

 

Stop the cuts: Advocates defend antipoverty programs

The programs that low-income rely on are under attack. Nationally, Pres. Trump is slashing money for food stamps and affordable housing, to name a few. In Vermont, Gov. Scott is proposing to eliminate funds for two longstanding anti-poverty programs: the Micro Business Development Program, established in 1988, which provides free assistance and access to capital to help low-income Vermonters start their own businesses, and the Vermont Matched Savings Program, established in 2000, which matches saving and offers financial education program for low-income Vermonters. Representatives of Vermont’s community action agencies and program participants discuss the role and impacts of these antipoverty programs and what will happen if they are eliminated. (February 12, 2020 broadcast)

Jan DeMers, executive director, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO)

Liz Scharf, Director of Community Economic Development, Capstone Community Action

Jennifer Fowler and Tim West, program participants

“I will have your back:” Rebecca Holcombe on her race to be Vermont’s governor

In fall 2019, Rebecca Holcombe became the first declared candidate for Vermont governor in the 2020 gubernatorial race. Holcombe is a former teacher, principal, and she served as Vermont’s secretary of education under Governors Peter Shumlin and Phil Scott. Now she is running to unseat Scott as governor. Holcombe discusses why she’s running and the issues that are a priority for her, including climate change, workforce development, health care and education. (February 5, 2020 broadcast)

Rebecca Holcombe, candidate for Vermont governor

Building community through music: Anne Decker & TURNmusic

TURNmusic is a chamber music ensemble with attitude. It is taking classical music out of its comfort zone, venturing into the community to play in bars, meeting halls and other offbeat venues. Conductor Anne Decker of Waterbury, Vermont, says the professional ensemble is part of her mission to use music to build community and support good causes, such as an upcoming concert to benefit the ACLU of Vermont. Decker talks about the power of music to bring people together. (February 5, 2020 broadcast)

Anne Decker, conductor, TURNmusic

 

“Now is not the time to be complacent:” James Lyall of ACLU Vermont on defending civil liberties in the Trump era

More than 8,000 Vemonters are under some form of correctional control. One in four people incarcerated in Vermont have not been convicted of a crime. A new bipartisan consensus is emerging for criminal justice reform. A poll released this week by the ACLU of Vermont shows that two in three Vermonters want to reduce the prison population by investing in community-based alternatives, and four in five Vermonters support alternatives for offenses resulting from substance misuse, mental health conditions and poverty. James Lyall discusses efforts to cut Vermont’s prison population in half, other criminal justice reform legislation, as well as recent court decisions around immigrant rights. He also talks about his greatest concerns about civil liberties in the Trump era. (January 29, 2020 broadcast)

James Lyall, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont

Will local journalism survive? Anne Galloway of VTDigger

This week, Vermont’s nonprofit news publication VTDigger was awarded a $900,000 grant by the American Journalism Project to support its work as a daily statewide news source. This is the largest grant ever received by VTDdigger, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. VTDigger has been cited by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics & Public Policy and the New York Times as a national model for providing local news. Anne Galloway, the founder and editor of VTDigger, talks about the future of local journalism in the age of Facebook & Google, how she started what began as a one-woman operation to cover state politics, the Trump effect on local news coverage and what is next for VTDigger. (January 29, 2020 broadcast)

Anne Galloway, founder and editor, VTDigger.org

Is VT wasting money on programs that don’t work? VT State Auditor Doug Hoffer

Does it make sense to pay people to move to Vermont to solve a workforce shortage? Does spending more on tourism marketing actually bring more tourists? Is Vermont losing or gaining workers? Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer follows the money and offers his often contrarian view of what works and what doesn’t. Hoffer, who took office in 2013, also dispels rumors of his retirement to confirm that he will run for re-election in 2020. (January 22, 2020 broadcast)

Doug Hoffer, Vermont State Auditor

Will VT get paid family leave, higher minimum wage & legal pot sales? Vermont House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski weighs in

Will Vermont finally get paid family & medical leave, a higher minimum wage and legalized marijuana sales that are taxed and regulated by the state. Vermont House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski (B-Burlington) discusses the politics and possibilities of the 2020 legislative session in Vermont. (January 22, 2020 broadcast)

Rep. Jill Krowinski, Vermont House Majority Leader

Progressive on the move: Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman on why he is running for governor

This week, Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman announced that he would run to replace Gov. Phil Scott, who is widely assumed will run for a third term in 2020. If Zuckerman were to defeat Scott, he would be the first candidate to defeat an incumbent Vermont governor in 60 years. Zuckerman is a Progressive/Democrat who will run on the Democratic ticket, and he will first have to win a Democratic primary against former Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe. Zuckerman talks about the issues that matter to him, his strategy for winning and how he got into politics. (January 15, 2020 broadcast)

Vermont Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, candidate for governor

Legendary broadcaster Ken Squier on local media, America & his legacy

Ken Squier is an American broadcasting legend and Vermont icon. He is best known to Vermonters as the owner of WDEV Radio Vermont, the 90-year-old independent radio network, and to its listeners as the host of Music to Go to the Dump By. The last three years have been especially momentous for Squier. He sold Thunder Road, the Vermont car racing track that he co-founded more than a half century ago. In January 2018, he was the first journalist inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a recognition of his lifetime achievement as a broadcaster with CBS and TBS and as the founder of Motor Racing Network. Squier reflects on community media, the state of the country and his legacy. (January 8, 2020 broadcast)

Ken Squier, NASCAR Hall of Fame broadcaster and owner, WDEV Radio Vermont

Part 1

Part 2

Why are so many women poor? Breaking out of the gender poverty trap

Why are women a disproportionate share of Vermonters in poverty? Why are 4 out of 10 women who work full time unable to meet their basic needs? Why do women earn 84 cents for every dollar earned by a man? What does it cost a young mom to take a few years off to raise kids? These questions and more are the focus of a report on Women, Work & Wages from Change the Story Vermont, an initiative to align policy, program, and philanthropy to fast-track women’s economic status in Vermont. The organization recently received national attention when it created sports jerseys emblazoned with #equalpay, which were worn by members of the Burlington High School girls soccer team during a game this fall. The players were penalized for wearing unauthorized uniforms but their advocacy of equal pay for women went viral. We spend the hour discussing the issues affecting women, work and poverty in Vermont. (December 18, 2019 broadcast)

Tiffany Bluemle, director, Change the Story Vermont

Cary Brown, executive director, Vermont Commission on Women

Part 1

Part 2

“A stain on the soul of our state:” Ex-Rep. Kiah Morris on racism, misogyny & her fight for justice

Kiah Morris was elected to the Vermont State Legislature from Bennington in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. She was the only female African-American Vermont state representative at that time. In September 2018, she resigned from the legislature in the wake of racist attacks from white nationalists. The shocking story of what happened to her was reported in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC and other news outlets. In January 2019, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan announced that he would not bring criminal charges against the man who was harassing Morris and her family, insisting that racially offensive speech was protected. Civil rights groups including the NAACP and Justice for All denounced the decision and the Vermont ACLU called for an investigation of the Bennington Police for its “systemic racism problem.” Morris has continued to speak out against racism and misogyny both locally and globally. She was recently part of an Oxfam America delegation to Central America where she met with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Morris discusses her ongoing fight for justice. (December 11, 2019 broadcast)

Kiah Morris, former Vermont State Representative

Part 1

Part 2

 

 

 

Deep legacy: Snowboard trailblazer Jake Burton Carpenter, 1954-2019

Jake Burton Carpenter, who died on November 20, 2019 at the age of 65, was a trailblazer in many ways. He took his passion of riding a single plank — a snowboard — and transformed it into a global phenomenon and thriving business. He was also a much beloved member of the his community in Stowe, Vermont, where he built a pool and fitness center and could often be found riding the trails at Stowe Mountain Resort. We discuss Carpenter’s life and legacy. (December 4, 2019 broadcast)

Lisa Lynn, editor, Vermont Ski & Ride

Chris Doyle, Rapid Prototype Engineer, Burton Snowboards

Huts for all: A backcountry hut network rises in Vermont

Imagine Vermont with a network of trails and huts that would allow a mountain biker, hiker or skier to travel throughout the mountains staying entirely off the grid and in the backcountry. Other states, including Colorado, New Hampshire and Maine, have well-developed hut systems, but Vermont is new to this wave. RJ Thompson discusses how the decades-old vision of a network of mountain huts for Vermont is being turned into reality. (December 4, 2019 broadcast)

RJ Thompson, executive director, Vermont Huts Association

Filmmaker Bess O’Brien on incarceration, addiction and teen angst

Bess O’Brien is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has changed the public discourse on issues ranging from addiction to incarceration. Her film The Hungry Heart, about the prescription drug crisis in Vermont, impacted the state’s drug policy. All of Me shone a light on eating disorders and her latest, Coming Home, focuses on ex-prisoners returning to their Vermont communities. O’Brien is currently producing The Listen Up Project, a musical based on the lives of Vermont teens. She is the founder of Kingdom County Productions with her husband, filmmaker Jay Craven. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said, “Every state in the Union should be so lucky to have Bess O’Brien working for them in support of children and families.” (November 20, 2019 broadcast)

Bess O’Brien, filmmaker

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Friend or foe? China, trade wars and human rights

China has been in the headlines from protests in Hong Kong, to human rights abuses in western China to Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war. China expert James Millward explains what is behind Trump’s obsession with China, the crackdown on ethnic minorities and what lies ahead for the world’s most populous country. (November 13, 2019 broadcast)

James Millward, professor, Department of History and School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

On public assistance and against government: Arlie Russell Hochschild on the paradox of poor states

Arlie Russell Hochschild is one of the most influential sociologists of our time. She is the author of nine books, including her latest, the bestseller, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. In that book, she travels to Louisiana, the second-poorest state, to explore why its neediest populations both rely on federal aid and reject the concept of “big government.” She went there to gain insight insight in Donald Trump’s base. (November 13, 2019 broadcast)

Arlie Russell Hochschild, professor of sociology, UC Berkeley, author, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Why I quit the US Foreign Service: Lizzy Shackelford on the revolt of the diplomats

Elizabeth Shackelford was a career diplomat in the U.S. State Department until December 2017, when she resigned in protest against the Trump administration. Shackelford served in U.S. embassies in Poland, South Sudan, Somalia, and Washington, D.C. She was considered a rising star in the diplomatic corps and received the State Department’s highest honor for consular work for her service in South Sudan. She now lives in Rochester, Vermont. She discusses why she quit, why more than half of career foreign service officers have also resigned, what happened in Ukraine, and the importance of democratic protest. (November 6, 2019 broadcast)

Elizabeth Shackelford, US diplomat who resigned in protest

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Innovate or die: Matt Dunne on helping rural areas thrive

Around the US, rural areas are in decline. Can rural areas thrive? Matt Dunne argues that rural areas can be centers of innovation and is piloting a model project in the struggling city of Springfield, VT with a new organization whose mission is to build “a network of rural innovation hubs to spark the revival of small towns across America.” (October 30, 2019 broadcast)

Matt Dunne, Founder and Executive Director, Center on Rural Innovation

Where are the workers? Vermont confronts a workforce shortage

A recent study found that Vermont needs nearly 11,000 more workers per year than it currently has. How can Vermont solve its workforce shortage? Adam Grinold discusses options, from recruiting asylum seekers and New Americans, to raising wages to helping middle school students identify career paths. (October 30, 2019 broadcast)

Adam Grinold, chair, Vermont Workforce Development Board, executive director, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, president, Regional Development Corporations of Vermont