Letter to the editor: Supporting Sue Minter for governor

Supporting Sue Minter for governor

I admit I knew little about Sue Minter, Democratic candidate for Governor, when she was introduced at a recent political gathering. But now I can say that I have never heard a candidate speak so well about how Vermont can overcome the challenges it faces.

She began by filling in a little about herself and her family: her mother was once a professional figure skater, and her father ran a small confectionary business. A native of Philadelphia, Sue has lived in Waterbury, Vermont, with her husband since 1991. Their two children have attended public schools there. Sue was elected to a seat in the Vermont House in 2005 and was appointed deputy secretary of transportation by Governor Shumlin in 2011.

You know what happened next: Tropical Storm Irene, which destroyed 500 miles of Vermont roads, damaged or washed out 200 bridges, and stranded whole towns. The job of responding to this tremendous natural disaster fell to her agency. Overnight, she had to manage engineers and contractors, to allocate money and mobilize human resources, to act with focus and follow-through. By all accounts Sue Minter rose to the occasion: she proved able to solve complex problems under pressure. She was appointed Irene Chief Recovery Officer in 2012 and Vermont Secretary of Transportation in 2015.

To anyone who still wonders if a woman like Sue can "play with the big boys," or needs to drive a race car to prove she is one of them, consider this: she is the youngest of four children, and the other three are brothers. She learned early on in life how to stand up for herself. She may have a warm and friendly personality, but it is obvious that she is also a fighter (she was a competitive skater in her youth). She had to fight long and hard with the Federal bureaucracy (FEMA) to get funds to reimburse Bennington for its post-Irene rebuilding. Listening to her, it was crystal clear that she will fight to create a more just, safe, and prosperous Vermont.

She challenged the citizens of Bennington to come together to do what towns like Barre, Rutland, and her own Waterbury have done to turn themselves around.

She didn't promise handouts – instead she offered to partner with local leaders in initiatives like the recently announced Greenberg downtown redevelopment project. Above all she spoke about workforce development. She made the point that it begins by insuring that young children acquire competencies as learners and that high school graduates be given practical opportunities for higher education.

Sue knows this part of Vermont well and she knows what it will take to get Bennington's economy moving again. I came away from that gathering with the conviction that we in Southwestern Vermont could have no better leader, and no better economic partner in Montpelier, than Sue Minter.

First, she needs to win the Democratic primary. Early voting has already begun.

Don't leave it to Aug. 9 – go to your Town Clerk's office and cast a vote for Sue Minter for Governor today.

— Phil Holland Shaftsbury


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