Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility honored two dozen Vermont House members recently – including Rep. Michael Yantachka, D-Hinesburg – as “Climate Champions” for their efforts to grow the economy and create green jobs by putting a price on carbon pollution.
“Vermont spends nearly $2 billion each year on fossil fuels and most of that money leaves our local economy and goes right out of the state,” said Jane Campbell, VBSR’s executive director. “VBSR is delighted to honor these legislators for recognizing that keeping more of our energy spending here in Vermont is a major economic development opportunity.”
Award-winners from Chittenden County were: Burlington Democratic Reps. Selene Colburn, Curtis McCormack, Jean O’Sullivan, Mary Sullivan, Johanna Donovan, Martin LaLonde, Jill Krowinski, Barbara Rachelson; Rep. James McCullough, D-Williston; Rep. Diana Gonzalez, P-Winooski, and Progressive-Democratic Sen. Chris Pearson (Pearson was a House member when he sponsored legislation).
VBSR traditionally gives a Legislator of the Year award, but this year opted to give the special Climate Champion award to Vermont legislators.
VBSR Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow said that President Trump’s decision this year to exit the Paris Climate Agreement sparked serious concerns in the business community and has spurred renewed attention to the important issue of fighting climate change.
“We can’t rely on Washington, D.C. to take action on climate change,” Barlow said. “Vermont can show the rest of the country that moving off of fossil fuels grows the economy and creates new jobs. We thought it was important to recognize these forward-looking Vermont legislators who support putting a price on carbon pollution.”
The announcement came at the group’s annual legislative breakfast where it also unveiled its 2018 legislative agenda, which includes putting a price on carbon pollution, reforming Vermont’s health care system, and changing the state’s independent contractor regulations.
The group also honored Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce as “Public Servant of the Year” for her work in creating a public retirement system, cleaning up Vermont’s lakes and rivers, and addressing climate change through state investments.