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To the Editor:

As Bennington County State’s Attorney, my top priority is ensuring the safety of our communities. No one has been a better partner in the legislature than Senators Dick Sears and Brian Campion.

Throughout my career, I have seen sweeping changes in how our justice system responds to crime and holds people accountable. When I first took office 15 years ago, property and drug offenses were the fastest growing segment of Vermont’s prison population. And yet, when these people were released, they had no housing, few job opportunities, and no community-based resources to help get their lives back on track. Ultimately, this situation was costing taxpayers dearly while making our communities less safe.

Dick Sears pioneered a new way forward. He invested in alternative justice programs aimed squarely at people committing crimes as a result of mental health or substance use disorders. He championed juvenile justice reform so that youth have greater access to rehabilitative programs until they are 22 years old. Importantly, Dick and Brian refocused state resources on prosecuting violent offenders, including recently funding domestic and sexual violence investigators and prosecutors here in Bennington County.

The results speak for themselves. In the past decade, we have seen statewide drug crimes drop by 10 percent and property crimes drop by 31 percent. While we don’t always agree on policy, Senators Sears and Campion have always sought my opinion and taken it seriously. I fully endorse their brand of leadership and ask that you join me in voting for them on November 3rd.

Erica Marthage,

Manchester


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