Campaign for Vermont, the state’s fastest-growing, non-partisan advocacy group is on the verge of becoming a major player in Montpelier working for the benefit of all Vermonters.

However, the sustainability and success of the organization will be heavily dependent on the support it receives from its current partners and followers, as well as any and all Vermonters who share the same vision and beliefs as CFV. To date, CFV has been backed primarily by co-founder Bruce Lisman, who has spent about $1 million of his own money to get CFV up and running and position the organization to influence real and substantial positive change here in Vermont. In other words, Mr. Lisman has made a serious investment out of his own pocket simply for the future betterment of Vermonters.

CFV is currently in the process of recruiting a volunteer board of directors from across the state, as well as selecting two staff employees -- an executive director and a manager of advocacy and outreach -- who will work together to continue the mission of CFV and represent the interests of Vermonters inside Montpelier.

While you can visit campaignvermont.org for complete background information on CFV’s objectives and positions regarding various issues, I will provide a quick summary of the organizations’ efforts. To start, CFV believes: Progress should come before partisanship; Government should be transparent, accountable and accessible to all citizens; A world-class education system that puts children first is essential to their future prospects and is critical to Vermont’s economic prosperity; Vermont should be a more affordable place to live, work and raise a family; Public policies should be measured by, among other things, their effectiveness in moving people out of poverty.

In advocating for its beliefs, CFV will focus on several key issues during this legislative session. First, from a state governance perspective, CFV will push for legislation that will enact a model ethics law in Vermont that defines conflicts of interest, requires financial disclosures from elected officials and establishes an independent ethics commission. It will also focus on transforming state government into an efficient, responsive and accountable organization that is measured regularly by the outcomes of its various programs, initiatives and expenditures.

Secondly, in terms of education policy, spending and taxes, CFV will be advocating for education quality by directing more money into the classroom, paying teachers based on merit and consolidating supervisory unions. CFV will look to improve property tax rate equity by pushing for an adjustment to Vermont’s three base tax rates in proportion to the rate of net spending increases voted by school districts. CFV will also be working to improve transparency by requiring the Education Department to report annually on the number of students, teachers, aids and administrators in each school district.

Lastly, CFV will focus on promoting improvement to the state’s human services programs. CFV will push for the establishment of a modern and transparent management system that tracks benefits and services by individual, rather than by department. At the same time, CFV will be working to ensure services and benefits are adequate and measurable for Vermonters who need them, and that the state provides a helping-hand to Vermonters ready to reach the next rung of the economic ladder by eliminating benefit cliffs.

I’d like to encourage my fellow Vermonters to consider making a donation to CFV to help ensure the group is able to continue this critical work. I have made such a contribution to CFV myself because I believe in the priorities of the organization and the progress it aims to generate for Vermont, and I don’t feel Mr. Lisman should bear such great expense alone. I hope others will consider doing the same.

After all, a donation to CFV is truly a small investment to make in terms of helping to sustain an organization that aspires to invoke such major improvement to Vermont’s economic landscape. There is no doubt in my mind that Vermonters who support CFV will see a great return on their investment over time.

M. Richard Jamieson is a multi-generation Vermonter and long-time Vermont business owner. He is now a part-time resident of both Utah and Vermont, and is a Vermont property tax payer.