We have a great deal of which to be proud here in Vermont with regard to the Coronavirus pandemic.  As other parts of our country are battling immense waves of COVID-19 cases, our trends have remained relatively steady - even as we have continued to reopen our economy.

We have one of the lowest number of total cases in the country, and our positivity rate has remained one of the lowest in the nation. 

This is all great news.  Clearly Vermonters are being very careful, are making smart decisions, and have the health and safety of our friends and neighbors at the forefront of our minds.

But, we must remain vigilant.  We all must continue to wear masks when in the presence of others, practice proper social distancing, and wash our hands with soap and water frequently.

As we move forward in these unprecedented times, however, we know that significant challenges remain. 

School administration, teachers and staff are doing their best to ensure the safe return to school for students and staff.  Parents and families are deciding what is best for their children with regard to school.  Families throughout this community and our state are coming to grips with additional financial challenges due to the pandemic.  And our small business community is doing its level best to adapt to the new normal and try to survive economically and emerge in tact when that time comes.

Make no mistake, for the past 5 months, I have been instrumental in all of these efforts.

Almost immediately. I reached out to a small group of dedicated Stowe community members and founded the Stowe C19 Community Response Team - an organization designed to be an efficient and nimble entity that would be able to help with immediate needs on the ground of those in our community:

1) Grocery shopping and other necessary errand for elderly and the vulnerable population during the shutdown;

2) Food assistance for families in need;

3) Other financial assistance to those in need;

4) Prepared meals for those in need (in partnership with The Skinny Pancake and Edelweiss Mountain Deli);

5) Food drives and distribution (in partnership with the Stowe Community Church);

6) Purchase and distribution of facemasks for businesses to have on hand for customers who don't have them;

7) And more ...

I have also been instrumental in the passage of the various grant programs now in place to help our small businesses try to weather this time.  Make no mistake, I understand these grants are in no way a panacea of help.  It is simply bridge funding, but it is important bridge funding.  I am hopeful that upon our return to work on August 25th, we will be able to increase and expand these grants programs with additional funds.

Finally, I have been working with countless individuals, families, and businesses as they navigate the bureaucracy and try to access unemployment, access accurate information on the guidelines for work and travel, access funding available to them, etc.

To be clear, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the dramatic impact it is having on our community and state, is forefront of my mind at this time.

And, frankly, these challenges, and how we emerge successfully from this pandemic, require the kind of commitment and dedication I have displayed over my time in office. It is not time for on-the-job training.