Vermont Update

Torin Kearns, 22, of Lincoln, Vermont, said considering the cost of college is stressful. "When you get out of college -- having all this debt pile up and a job that might not necessarily make you back all that money in a decent amount of time — it’s scary," he said. "If kids want education, they should be able to have it."

On average, in Vermont, students graduate from college $28,283 in debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

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With a significant boost from federal stimulus funds, District Heat Montpelier is up and running, heating dozens of state, municipal and private buildings in Vermont’s capital city. Fueled by an innovative wood-chip fired boiler, the project is part of Vermont’s efforts to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable sources of energy.

Video Tour: Learn more about the District Heat Plant

This fall, Krysta Gingue, 20, became a junior at the University of New Hampshire. The Lyndonville, Vermont, college student credits Upward Bound for helping her get there. “I can absolutely say that it is the best thing that has happened, academically and socially, in my life,” she said. Gingue, who is a first-generation college student, was one of hundreds of students who gathered in Castleton this summer to recognize what they have been able to achieve, thanks to Upward Bound.

Read more here.

Bernie helped lead a 15-year effort to create the National Housing Trust Fund, which is based on the success of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund. Vermont is slated to receive $3 million from the fund. Vermont’s share is part of $174 million that is being dispersed nationally to build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable rental housing. “Since my time as mayor of Burlington, increasing the availability of affordable housing in Vermont has been one of my top priorities,” Bernie said. “After 15 years of fighting for the National Housing Trust Fund, I am very pleased to see all 50 states receive funds to provide housing for people who are most in need.”

Read more in the Burlington Free Press

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded $5.5 million to six community health centers in Vermont. The health centers will use the funds to renovate facilities, increase patient capacity and expand primary care services. The funding comes from the Health Center Trust Fund, which was created by a provision Bernie included in the Affordable Care Act that provides $11 billion for community health centers across the United States.

In 2006, fewer than 10 percent of Vermont residents received their health care at Federally Qualified Health Centers. This year, roughly 1 in 4 Vermonters -- more than 150,000 people -- will receive affordable primary medical, oral and mental health care services and low-cost prescription drugs at more than 50 sites across the state.

Read more in the Rutland Herald


As I work on the important issues facing our country, I am often reminded that while our state may be one of the smallest, our actions and principles have, in many ways, set an example for the nation. Together, we must continue our fight to make sure the economy works for all Americans and not just the top 1 percent. This newsletter includes just a few of the issues I am working on in Washington that will have an impact on life here in Vermont. 

View the 2016 newsletter here.


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