Democratic House Canididate John Stevens responds to The Bridge

In the July 19 issue, The Bridge reached out to the four Northfield candidates—Gordon Bock, Denise MacMartin, John Stevens, and Jeremy Hansen—vying for the two positions on the November ballot. John Stevens was unable to respond to our questions in the  previous issue but has sent them along now.

What is one of your top priorities if elected? Why so?

Top Priority: 40 percent of VT roads are rated poor or very poor.  800+ bridges need work or replacement. Tourists complain about the condition of our roads. VT needs to improve our basic transportation system. Burlington has had five massive spills of untreated sewerage into Lake Champlain this year. Many of VT’s wastewater treatment plants are over 40 years old and need repair and upgrading to meet new standards.

What have you done in the past to help improve Vermont and/or your community? Can you point to any specific accomplishments?

I have been with the Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America for 37 years. During that time I have served as scoutmaster of the local troop and VP of properties. During my tenure and as a professional engineer, I have contributed both money and talent to the repair of a dam, design and construction of two bridges and a boat shed.  I have spent many days repairing and replacing facilities.

Do you support the governor’s efforts to change the staff-student ratio at Vermont schools. If so, why? If not, what is a policy you would support or lead to improve Vermont schools?

I think that local control of the school budget is an adequate control on staff-student ratio.  I would like to see more vocational education offered.

Are you satisfied with the state’s efforts to encourage youth to remain in state and immigrants to move to the state? How could it be improved?

Vocational education needs to be upgraded. Apprenticeship programs need expanding. Contractors have a difficult time finding skilled labor. Skilled labor is paid well.

Do you support stronger gun regulations than already exist in Vermont? If so, what’s an example?

The recently passed laws should have a chance before more laws are enacted.

As a politician, how do you plan to build consensus with the other parties in the government and not bring Vermont politics into something like the tribal warfare of Washington DC?

As an engineer, I work with various groups building consensus.  I plan to use the same methods to work with my colleagues in the VT Legislature.

Nearly one in five Vermonters are 65 years old or more. How can Vermont better support their needs, particularly with housing and transportation?

There should be daily checks on older Vermonters and their needs assessed.

Do you support a fully taxed and regulated market for marijuana, the status quo, or a reversal or tightening of the law?

I support a fully taxed and regulated market for marijuana.

Can you give an example of a policy or perspective you’ve evolved on as a result of your conversations and interactions with your constituency?

I didn’t realize how many Vermonters are aging in place.

How do you assess the state of Vermont’s environment? Is the state doing enough to fight the causes and effects of climate change or could it do more?

Overall VT’s environment is improving but more needs to be done reduce water pollution.  To fight climate change, public transit should be more available and heating districts established in urban area.

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