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Vermont’s citizen legislature returned to the State House on January 7th. The first week of session is always busy, with opening ceremonies and a lineup of committee hearings to review updates from administration officials and stakeholders. This year was no exception. We heard the Governor’s State of the State address on January 9th and got down to business in the Education Committee.

Even though it’s early in the session, we’ve already had community members visit us at the State House. I was pleased to introduce two community members who visited an Education Committee hearing. The public is always welcome to share their views, so please be in touch if you want to provide testimony — you can reach me at [email protected] It was also very exciting to see students from Founders Memorial School present their project about ending homelessness. Hats off to these students and their great educators!

In Committee, we have begun a deep dive into how Vermont schools approach literacy instruction. Recent statewide test scores suggest some students may face gaps in reading and writing comprehension, which can impact future learning gains. Our local schools are developing strategies to make literacy a focus, and I am very encouraged with the steps the Essex Westford School District is taking to make this a priority. The Committee will look at these types of local initiatives, and potential statewide actions, to ensure Vermont’s education system is a literacy leader.

There are a number of major bills that will come before the House this year. One way to learn about the happenings at the State House is to join us for one of our community conversations. We had a great turnout at our January meeting and welcome you to upcoming sessions. Our February meeting will be held on Saturday, the 15th, from 9-10:30 am at Sweet Alchemy Bakery and Cafe. Please join us and let us know where you stand on the issues.

I’ve been honored to serve as your State Representative since first winning election in 2016. Earlier this month, two members of the six-seat Chittenden State Senate delegation announced that they would run for another office. These decisions have created an opening for a competitive 2020 State Senate election. Over the course of my service, a number of neighbors have pointed out that it has been many, many years since an Essex resident was elected to the State Senate. We are a rapidly growing community and representation is important. After considering this feedback, I have decided to seek the State Senate nomination in the Primary Election that will be held August 11. I look forward to beginning my campaign later this year.

Rep. Dylan Giambatista