State Representatives for Waitsfield, Warren, and Fayston Kari Dolan and Dara Torre.

The Valley Reporter reached out to state representatives Kari Dolan, D-Waitsfield, and Dara Torre, D-Moretown, to get a sense of what legislative issues caused people in this district to reach out to their representatives and what concerns they voiced. This is the second part of a two-part report. Part one can be viewed at




VR What type of feedback (percentage for or against) did you get on the budget bill? Did you hear from constituents with concerns about unhousing so many Vermonters? If so, how many, approximately?

Dolan: The final budget bill is over 300 pages long and covers all aspects of government. I wrote about the development of the budget bill a number of times throughout the session, to keep people informed about its components and to let them know that it will be a balanced budget. I did not hear any feedback about the budget bill itself.

I did hear from a few constituents about the emergency hotel housing that was set to expire last March (which we were able to partially extend to June in the budget adjustment bill). I heard from many more constituents about the general lack of housing that is affordable for everyone and the lack of home and community housing options and services for older Vermonters, people with disabilities, or those in need of long-term care.

Torre: I haven't heard received much on this yet, just a few emails so far with concerns about overall affordability in Vermont and mention of the increasing DMV fees. I imagine there will be ongoing feedback as the June 20 veto override vote approaches.


VR What type of feedback did you receive on the child care compromise? Approximately how many people contacted you? What were their concerns?

Dolan: I have heard from many constituents on this topic, nearly all were in support of a comprehensive child care bill for the reasons described above (access, affordability, and workforce) and were relieved to see the bill pass. One issue that came up only a few times among constituents but worth noting was how to pay for the bill, because this long-term initiative must have its own funding source. It cannot rely on one year’s worth of surplus funding. A second issue that was a concern among our constituents was how to educate 4-year-olds. The final legislative bill, which was only presented in the last days of the session, adopted the Senate’s proposal to use a payroll tax (split between the employer and employee. The bill also provides full-time pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds using a mixed delivery system (public schools and private centers).

Torre: Child care feedback has been overwhelmingly from constituents in support of the bill; I heard from about a dozen people asking for my support of S.56, which ended up becoming a part of a different bill, H.217. There was also a big child care rally that brought some constituents in. A couple constituents reached out with concerns about the costs of funding expanded child care, which changed before passage from income tax funding to a payroll tax instead.