These Unprecedented Times Require that Stowe's Elected Officials Bring Experience and Independence to the Job

August 10, 2020

Heidi Scheuermann (Stowe) announced today that she is running for re-election to the Vermont House of Representatives.

"It has been my distinct privilege serving the people of Stowe in the Vermont House of Representatives for the past 14 years," said Scheuermann, "and I would be honored to earn your continued support this year."

"These are unprecedented times," Scheuermann continued.  "We are facing serious challenges, and we need serious people to address them.  We need people with experience; people who have proven leadership skills to step up and face these challenges; people who put principle ahead of politics, and people ahead of party."

"I have demonstrated this time and again throughout my years in office, as I've advocated fiercely for the people of this great community in the Legislature, and have been a dedicated leader and volunteer right here at home.  I promise to continue to do so as long as I have the honor of serving this great community."

In addition to her complete attention over the last 5 months to the COVID-19 State of Emergency and all the challenges and efforts that have come with it, Heidi has worked diligently throughout the years, with people from across the political spectrum, to achieve success in critical policy areas.

Among much more, for the last 14 years, Scheuermann has:

1) Led the fight for increased investment in, and attention to, the tourism and hospitality industry, including taking the lead in organizing the Vermont Legislative Tourism Caucus, and the annual Tourism Day at the State House,  advocating every year for increased tourism investment and policies that promote the industry;

2) Pushed for responsible state spending by making sure we work collaboratively to ensure fiscal discipline and make important investments where needed, all while protecting the most vulnerable;

3) Demanded policies that encourage private sector economic growth and jobs;

4) Insisted on the need for ethics legislation, which resulted in the establishment of the Vermont Ethics commission and candidate disclosures;

5) Advocated for, and supported, responsible environmental stewardship policies; and

6) Worked diligently on health care reform that works for Vermonters.

And, while a Sisyphean task in Montpelier, Scheuermann continues to lead the charge for comprehensive education funding reform and property tax relief, and against the one-size-fits-all, big warehouse approach to education that has allowed Montpelier to take control of virtually every aspect of our children's education.

"To be clear, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the dramatic impact it is having on our community and state is forefront in my mind at this time," added Scheuermann.  "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, so I ask for the continued support of the people of Stowe."


Speech Delivered May 17 to the Vermont House of Representatives:

On Feb. 7, this body overwhelmingly passed House Bill 39 by a vote of 134-10. This was followed by passage in the Senate, by a vote of 27-3, a modified version of the bill.

If you recall, H.39, as passed the House, would have allowed a number of school districts that were under order by the State Board of Education to merge the opportunity to extend the merger deadline of July 1, 2019, to July 1, 2020. As passed the Senate, the bill would have given all districts under order to merge that option.

Unfortunately, even with those overwhelming majorities voting in favor, since that time the legislation has been slow-walked to its certain death, to the delight of the Agency of Education, and two organizations we all know well (and of which our local supervisory unions and school boards are members).

In my 13 years serving in this body, I don’t know if I have been more frustrated and disappointed.

I knew well at the beginning of this session that leadership preferred not to take up the issue of a merger deadline extension — though I, and many others in this body from across the political spectrum, succeeded in convincing this body to move forward on a bill. The situation was similar in the other body.

To be clear, the differences in the two versions of the bill are not insurmountable. I’ve seen much more difficult negotiations happen, and the parties come to consensus.

Frankly, it is unconceivable to me that these kinds of negotiations did not happen on this bill, and that, point of fact, our conferees even walked back from the very bill that this body approved.

To be certain, this bill was important to many of us. I know many in this body do not have a forced merger happening in their districts, so may not understand how imperative it was that we be given more time, so I will quickly try to express that now.

While the communities being forced to merge are all in different situations and at various points in the process, in our particular situation, we were proceeding down a dual path.

We were appealing the decision of the State Board of Education to merge our districts, while at the same time preparing for the forced merger. At this time, our legal case has been dismissed and our local boards have decided not to appeal that decision, so we continue to move forward on the merger.

But this merger of two districts, especially coming on the heels of a so recently merged district (Morristown and Elmore), should have been given the time to do it well and to do it right. We have two very strong, capable school boards, both of which have the best interests of all of our students at heart, but this shotgun merger will do an incredible disservice to those exact students.

I am confident our hard-working school boards will do this work (and they’ll even do it by July 1, 2019), but they really deserved to be given proper time to put a merger together in a way that makes sense for all of our students and our dedicated faculty.

In addition, it is important that, as we moved forward with a merger, our communities understood precisely the process, what a merged district would look like, and how a merged district would specifically work. That is not the case at this time.

As someone who has a great deal of experience trying to engage families and communities on issues of importance, I can assure you that to do this right, this process takes significant time. I can also assure you that our communities do not understand what is happening, and don’t have time to digest this incredible change, so we are going to see even more disillusionment and frustration with government than we see now.

I realize there is probably no chance of a resurrection of this extension legislation, and frankly, our local drop-dead date for a decision was May 22, so the slow-walk to the certain death of this bill has worked really well for those who never wanted it.

But, I simply felt it important, Madam Speaker, to share my incredible anger, frustration and disappointment with this entire process.

By Heidi Scheuermann

In the final analysis, Vermont must follow the lead of Maine and other states.  We can no longer sit idly by and watch as our competitors spend millions more than us to promote tourism in their states.  After all, we are competing in an ever-increasingly global market.  In order to grow and increase our market share of those global tourism dollars, we cannot lose sight of staying economically competitive.

By Heidi Scheuermann, Commentary

The 2019-20 legislative biennium is well under way, and my primary focus these first three weeks has been doing all I can legislatively to provide a one-year extension of the July 1, 2019, involuntary merger deadline in Act 46.

Toward that end, our Act 46 Legislative Working Group — made up of dozens of legislators from across the political spectrum — is working diligently to educate members of the House and Senate Education Committees and the legislative leadership about why this extension to July 1, 2020, is so important.

First, given the three lawsuits in process right now, it is absolutely critical that we allow some time for the courts to weigh in. While I am not too familiar with two of the lawsuits, I believe strongly that the Elmore-Morristown and Stowe lawsuit against the state is a very strong one. And, if we are required to merge, and that merger is followed by a decision in our favor, it will be virtually impossible to unravel the newly merged district.

For that reason, it is important we allow time for the court to determine the validity of the decision by the State Board of Education to merge our districts.

Second, the merger of two districts, especially coming on the heels of a so recently merged district (Morristown and Elmore), takes time to do well, and to do right. We have two very strong, capable school boards, both of which have the best interests of all of our students at heart. A shotgun merger will do an incredible disservice to those exact students.

I am confident our hard-working school boards can do this work well, but they deserve to be given proper time to put a merger together in a way that makes sense for all of our students and our dedicated faculty.

In addition, it is important that, as we move forward with a merger, our communities understand precisely the process, what a merged district will look like, and how a merged district will specifically work. As someone who has a great deal of experience trying to engage families and communities on issues of importance, I can assure you that, to do this right, this process will take significant time.

I can also assure you that if our communities do not understand what is happening, and don’t have time to digest this incredible change, we will find even more disillusionment and frustration with government than we see now.

I am pleased to report that the House Education Committee and the leadership in both the House and Senate have agreed to consider our request, and I was invited in to testify in the House committee last week. By the printing of this column, I will have testified again, in addition to both Penny Jones of the Elmore-Morristown board and Cara Zimmerman, the chair of the Stowe School Board, the Lamoille South Supervisory Union School Board, and the Transition Board. So, I continue to be hopeful that we will be successful, though the very tight timeline is a challenge.

As the Act 46 work continues, so too does other important work.

Governor Phil Scott's Budget

Gov. Phil Scott last week outlined his fiscal year 2020 budget — a no-nonsense one focused in large part on addressing the demographic crisis and our state’s fiscal health. But, while in past years there has always been considerable consternation after a budget address, the tone of the governor’s speech this year was a collaborative one, so it was relatively well-received by the Democratic legislative leadership.

Of course, there are going to be significant disagreements in various policy areas throughout the next weeks and months, but I’m hopeful the budget address kicked off a new commitment to working together on the important issues facing out state.

Among other items, the governor’s budget proposal includes the following:

  • Applying the 92 percent tobacco tax to e-cigarettes.
  • Removing, over time, the income tax on pensions for retired military members.
  • Raising the estate tax exemption to $5.75 million, thereby encouraging more affluent Vermonters to remain in Vermont. (Vermont is only one of 12 states to have the estate tax at all.)
  • Eliminating the land gains tax.
  • Creating a paid family leave program for state employees, which would be open for all Vermont employers and employees to enroll into. (The Democrats have proposed a mandatory program paid for by a payroll tax on all employees in Vermont.)
  • An additional $1 million in funding for last-mile broadband.
  • An additional $7 million in funding for child care subsidies for low- and middle-income Vermonters.
  • An additional $3 million in funding for Vermont State Colleges.
  • Funding our clean water efforts by using $8 million of our estate tax revenue.

As always, as our legislative session progress, please feel free to contact me at anytime. I can be reached at 253-9314 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please also be in touch if you are interested in receiving my more in-depth, regular email newsletters.

By Heidi Scheuermann, Commentary

The Vermont General Assembly returned to Montpelier last week, ready to get to work.

In 2017, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson determined (correctly, in my view) that a standing committee in the House was needed to focus solely on energy and technology issues facing our state. Prior to this time, these critical issues were the jurisdiction of other committees whose work encompassed other significant issues, like the environment and economic development in general. As such, energy and technology items didn’t receive the proper attention.

While during its first biennium this new committee faced some growing pains, I am very pleased that the speaker appointed me to it this year, and am excited to work diligently on one of the priorities of our Stowe community, and the state in general — the issue of ensuring high-quality, reliable cellphone and broadband coverage.

It is absolutely critical to our state’s economic growth to put into place policies that will ensure coverage is developed and deployed broadly, efficiently, and effectively.

School Mergers

The other item on which I am focusing much of my effort at this time is the invalidation of the forced mergers that were part of Act 46, including the Stowe and Elmore-Morristown merger. I am pleased that there is a tripartisan group of legislators — legislators from across the political spectrum — who share my concerns about these involuntary mergers put into place by the State Board of Education, and we are working together diligently to educate our colleagues of these concerns.

The first goal is to obtain a delay in the July 1, 2019 merger deadline. Toward that end, I have two pieces of legislation for the House Committee on Education to consider. The first is a simple delay of the forced mergers until July 1, 2020, and the second is a moratorium on the forced mergers until the legal cases are adjudicated or July 1, 2020, whichever is later.

I hope the committee will agree to a hearing on one or both of those bills within the next two weeks. After all, considering the need to produce school district budgets now, we must move quickly.

Our legislative working group is also working on the Senate side, in the hopes that the senators, too, know and understand these very serious concerns, and address them accordingly.

Statewide Schools

Finally, following years of presenting education reform proposals that would reform both the education funding system and the education delivery system, I took a break from such proposals last biennium. Given the 2015 passage of Act 46 (without my support), and the State Education Plan that was to result from Act 46, I determined it was best to take a wait-and-see approach to the merger activities.

News last week, however, has returned my focus to this kind of reform. Specifically, a draft memo has been developed by the governor’s administration outlining a significant education transformation proposal:

  • Create one statewide school district with four regional school boards in place of all of our local school districts.
  • Provide for full school choice for students throughout the state.
  • Eliminate the State Board of Education.
  • Create one statewide teachers contract for all teachers, who would then be state employees.
  • Require a Parent School Committee for each school to advise the Principal on school operations.

While disappointing, this proposal comes as no surprise. This trend started with Act 60, the state takeover of the funding of K-12 education, and has continued each year as the Legislature — both Democrats and Republicans — have wrested more and more control from our local school districts and boards.

In fact, as this has happened each year, I have repeatedly argued that there are only two directions in which we can go with regard to education: a) the complete state takeover of education; or b) return some semblance of local control and local decision-making.

The administration draft memo puts the former on the table. I will do so shortly with the latter. Frankly, while I disagree with the administration on this, I am happy that we might finally have this debate about the direction of pre-K-12 education.

My alternative proposal will strengthen local school districts and local school boards; reconnect taxpayers to the budgets voted upon and money spent so that we have cost containment and property tax relief; and expand educational opportunities for our students.

We can, in fact, do these things, if we have the will to do so.

Of course, there are many more issues on which we will all be focused this session. If anything is of interest to you, please contact me with any questions or concerns. I can be reached at 253-9314 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also be in touch if you are interested in receiving my more in-depth, regular email newsletters.

November 28, 2018

I don’t recall a time during my service that I have been more ashamed of a governing body in Vermont as I am today of the State Board of Education (SBE).

I am grateful to SBE members Oliver Olsen, Callahan Beck, John Carroll and John O’Keefe for truly understanding the joint Alternative Governance Structure (AGS) proposal submitted by the Elmore-Morristown and Stowe School Districts, and for their support of it today. But, the final decision by the remaining members of the SBE to forcibly merge EMUU and Stowe — two very high-functioning school districts that both already separately meet, and even exceed, the goals of Act 46 in a cost-effective way, is as disappointing as it is wrong.

After all, following more than a year of study, both Stowe and EMUU districts agreed that the Alternative Structure is the best way to ensure the highest quality education for all of our students in the most efficient way. The Secretary of Education agreed, and recommended its approval. Yet, the State Board has now forced upon us a structure that is in neither of the school district’s best interests.

When Act 46 was proposed and advanced in 2015, this kind of action was my greatest fear, and why I fought so hard against the legislation. That Gov. Shumlin, his Secretary of Education, and the majority in the legislature in 2015 believed it was appropriate to give the authority to dissolve local school boards and local school districts to a body of nine unelected individuals, accountable to nobody, was exceptionally frustrating.

Rest assured, I will continue to do everything legislatively possible in the upcoming session to ensure we retain local control of our schools.

Finally, I want to thank and commend our districts’ School Boards and the Lamoille South Supervisory Union for their incredible work throughout this process. It has been a pleasure working with them since the beginning of this process, and by all measures, the AGS application should have been approved.

In addition to my upcoming legislative work to fight the forced merger, I look forward to continuing to work with the Boards as they move forward with legal action. I know we are committed to doing all we can to achieve results that are in the best interests of our communities and children.

By Heidi E. Scheuermann

October 4, 2018

I feel compelled to respond to the letter in last week's Stowe Reporter from Melissa Sheffer in which she falsely accused me of voting agains the pregnancy accommodations bill, as this is simply not true.

In fact, I supported the bill as it passed and was signed into law.  Even more, I worked with the Attorney Genera's office to ensure the bill, which was a poorly crafted bill as it passed the House, was fixed before final passage.

Indeed, I was unable to support H.136, the Pregnancy Accommodations bill, as it first emerged from my committee and the House of Representatives for a very simple reason: It was an extremely poorly crafted bill.

The intent of the bill was admirable: to ensure that employers provide reasonable accommodations to an employee with a condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition if needed.

My years of working for U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords on education and disability policy taught me a great deal about “reasonable accommodations.” The purpose of existing state and federal laws requiring reasonable accommodations is to remove barriers for individuals with disabilities. This is so that a disabled individual can work — can perform the essential functions of a job — and, therefore, enjoy equal opportunities for employment.

H.136, as it passed the House, would have greatly expanded these provisions in law. It would have essentially given pregnant women greater protections than any other employees, including individuals with disabilities.

Under current employment law, reasonable accommodations must be provided to a qualified employee with a disability if it will enable that employee to perform the essential functions of the job. H.136, as it passed the House, didn’t require the reasonable accommodations in order for the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. In fact, it might have even required a wholesale change in the job altogether.

Even more, the bill, as it passed the House, would have required employers of all sizes to provide, potentially, unlimited/indefinite amounts of leave to employees for any condition related to pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions.

To be clear, I absolutely support the ability of pregnant employees to continue working. But the House version of this bill essentially established a whole new class of worker — a pregnant woman — and would have provided rights to pregnant women above those for any other employee, including individuals with disabilities.

As the bill was being developed, and even after it passed the House, I expressed these very concerns. I even met with the assistant attorney general to share them, and asked that their office help to redraft the legislation to ensure it does not have any of these unintended consequences.

So, I was pleased that, with the help of the attorney general’s office, the Senate realized the failures with the House version of the bill and wrote a completely new version of it. That new version allayed my concerns, and I was happy to support the bill that became law.

Our campaign is exceptionally disappointed in these tactics of using false allegations to smear us. The information is all out there, readily available, and transparent, so there is no reason for this kind of false accusation.

... the fiscal year 2019 state budget is winding its way through the process, and without much debate at all, if any, passed the Senate earleir this week.  While I supported the budget as it emerged from the House of Representatives, I have some concerns about the Senate version of the bill.  Specifically, two of the investments I most want to see pass are not funded in the Senate-passed bill.

We simply cannot make it more difficult for these small Vermont businesses to achieve success.

From what I understand, from the perspective of proponents of the mandated increase, the underlying goals are simple, and include: 1) reducing poverty; 2) reducing income inequality; and 3) putting more money in the pockets of low-wage workers so that things are more affordable for them.

Indeed, these are all very worthy goals. Unfortunately, this proposal will do little to address them.