Many thanks to Caledonia-Record for taking the time to formulate these questions to pose to the candidates. I am sure there are many residents who are grateful for this information and opportunity to get to know their candidates. It would be an honor to serve you, if you feel I am worthy of election. For more information about my campaign, please visit my website at DespathyVTHouse.com
All of my contact information is listed there if you would like to discuss these or any other priority issues that you hold.
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, near Valley Forge. I spent a lot of my time in this Park and developed a deep appreciation and understanding of American History and the significance of our Constitution and an individual's inalienable Constitutional rights. Valley Forge and Philadelphia resonate independence and the message and reminders of America's unique government design and its intention to protect the people from the historical pattern of tyrannical and absolute rulers and power permeates this area.
It was at Valley Forge that I also developed a deep connection with nature and a clear understanding of the intimate relationship that exists between humans and nature. Throughout the whole of my life, I have cultivated a respectful relationship with nature and have sought education focused on stewardship, mutual benefit and best practices between humans and the earth. I am a seasoned gardener and avid hiker, skier and biker, I find restoration, relaxation and centering in nature. I am fully dedicated to protecting our environment and working to ensure clean water, lands and a healthy planet for the future.
In 2001, my husband and I moved to Danville, Vermont and bought land. My husband built our home and we are so blessed to live here in the beautiful Northeast Kingdom. We are raising three children, we homeschool, homestead and are committed to nurturing healthy relationships with each other, our community and the land.
I hold an undergraduate degree from University of New Hampshire where I studied enthnobotany and the relationships between humans and our environment by focusing my studies on plant biology and cultural anthropology. I have always been extremely committed to the health of humans and our environment as well as the building of healthy relationships with nature. I was fortunate to study in Australia and New Zealand and work with indigenous people and communities to expand and deepen my understanding of the wisdom and teachings of native perspective and culture. After this research and work, it led me to my Master's Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. The connection between humans, food and our environment is a foundation of health for people and our earth and this is what I have worked towards for many decades in my life and work.
I have had a clinical nutrition practice in St. Johnsbury and I have taught nutrition, human biology and wellness classes in the Vermont State College system for over 20 years. I have worked hard to provide information and education to my students and clients to help them improve their nutrition status and health and develop healthy relationships with nature. I have prioritized connecting people with local food and farms and the importance of seeking and supporting local food sources. This is a key to building sustainable and healthy people, farms, economies and our environment. Vermont has a solid foundation and is on the right path with regards to local food systems and the health and relationship of the people and earth, One of my highest priorities is supporting and promoting this trajectory and working to ensure that farmers and the people have the support they need to flourish in health and growth. I will work hard to help prevent farm closures. The viability and continued success of our local farms is paramount for Vermont in order to work towards healthy people, land and sustainable food systems and agriculture practices that will serve Vermont and all Vermonters
Question 1- Why have you chosen to run?
After spending a lot of time at the Statehouse this past legislative session, it became concerning and apparent to me that there were multiple bills and proposed legislation that were destructive and would result in negative impacts on the people of Vermont. There were many situations in which some legislators did not seem to really grasp or understand these bills and their destructive nature. Instead of real discussions regarding concerns and alternative solutions based on constructive and careful collaboration, I witnessed lock-step party line voting that was not based on representatives serving their constituents. There was an intense, detrimental pressure stemming from Democratic party leadership which wrongly interfered with a legislator’s ability to vote according to their constituents and conscience. There seemed to be no room or tolerance for independent opinion, thought or true representation. This is a dangerous and destructive situation which will only result in risk for the people and state of Vermont. This was extreme and ultimately blocked the entire point of the legislature which is to have the tough conversations and debate and seek real answers for the people and our state. It seemed that leadership was decided and the message was clear- you either come with us or we will cast you out and blame and shame you along the way. This is unacceptable and completely interferes with real collaboration and the ability to reach real solutions for Vermont. Honestly, I would not have run if Representative Henry Pearl had voted to uphold the Governor's veto of the Clean heat standard (H715). This was one of the most destructive pieces of legislation that I have ever witnessed and it will return to the statehouse and must be defeated otherwise the people of Vermont and the local businesses will suffer. Due to this- here I am and if elected I intend at all times to ensure that legislation will not result in attacks on the people and businesses of Vermont and that an industry or system will never be forced on the people. This is not the intention of government and government should not be used or abused in this capacity. Government is by and for the people and there are real solutions that will solve problems and support people simultaneously. This is my goal.
Question 2- What are three key issues that you would like to resolve?
-There have been many lessons learned from the covid crisis. It is vital that we protect an individual's right to make private, personal healthcare decisions. This is a fundamental human right. There also must be systems and procedures in place to protect our most vulnerable populations and those at risk and ensure their access to services and support during any health crisis in the future. People should never be pressured or coerced into experimenting with their health and lives; health choices are individual and must be respected at all times. I am fully dedicated to upholding these fundamental human rights and I will never support a mandate that violates personal health choices and medical freedom. One of my priorities is to ensure that public health policy has clear boundaries and guidelines in its capacity and role to serve the people.
-I fully oppose a carbon tax on the people and small businesses of Vermont. Ensuring that Vermont is affordable for Vermonters is critical. I am dedicated to promoting common sense legislation that does not burden the people or local businesses with more taxes such as those proposed in the Clean heat standard (H715). There are carbon taxes on heating and transportation fuels being considered and I will oppose these at all times. People are working hard and struggling to cover basic needs. Heating and transportation fuel are necessities and higher costs on these will dangerously burden Vermonters. An industry and system must never be forced upon the people, this will only result in massive collateral damage to Vermonters, the economy and our State as a whole. Please note that on this critical issue, I completely disagree with the position and vote of my opponent, Henry Pearl, who voted in favor of this legislation.
-Housing and shelter are basic human needs and Vermont must work hard to develop solutions and create options for Vermont residents to have access to safe, reliable shelter. A comprehensive plan encompassing existing properties and the creative design of new Vermont style housing that works with the environment will be critical to help this situation.
-Data privacy and protection are top priorities. I am dedicated to ensuring that there are strict and enforced data mining laws in place for all Vermonters and especially our vulnerable populations such as children at schools, those in recovery and those struggling with poverty and mental health concerns. Vermonters are NOT data commodities and establishing protections and ensuring that services, support and education are not dependent on massive data mining grabs for stakeholders is crucial. Privacy must be protected.
-Vermont businesses and farmers are absolutely essential threads in the fabric of society and our Vermont community. Ensuring that local businesses and farms are supported in all ways possible is crucial to the success and health of Vermont residents and the state of Vermont. A vibrant economy, food security and mutually supportive relationships between the people and land are top priority goals. I promise to work to the best of my ability to ensure that our economy based on local businesses both in our towns and country can thrive. This is the antidote to global corporations and their massive accumulating wealth and power
-Corporate money and agendas influence many sectors of society including our institutions, government, politics and regulating agencies. This must be systematically dealt with, regulated and monitored. Understanding the depth of this issue and its highly problematic and negative impacts is essential as we move forward and try to ensure that our government is by and for the people and is not serving corporations, industries or future markets.
Question 3 and 4- What is one thing about you that you would like potential voters to know?
Why do you feel you are the best candidate? How do you plan to show that?
My moral compass is strong and I am not afraid to stand up and ask the tough questions and dive in deep to the issues we face. There is tremendous nuance and complexity in a high majority of the issues at hand and the ability to take the time and do the research and debate and question is what will allow us to reach real solutions and constructive answers. I am fully dedicated to working for the people of Vermont and ensuring at all times that Constitutional rights and fundamental human rights are protected. This is one of the main reasons that I am running as an independent so that I will not be bound and pressured to a party line vote. Through all of the legislation that happens, there are fundamental aspects of importance that must be respected at all times. This includes the rights of the people, the support of our economy and the stewardship of our environment. I will never fall prey to a party line vote and I will work hard and strive at all times for constructive real solutions that will deeply and honestly serve Vermonters, our local economies and our environment. I also promise that I will fully grasp and understand legislation and all of its impacts before voting. This was unfortunately and dangerously missing in many instances in my observations and conversations at the Statehouse. Depending and relying on party agendas for voting guidance will result in harms and risk to the people. As my 97 year old Great Grandfather said after all he has learned and his length of time on this planet, “Without true understanding and healthy and necessary arguments and debates around proposed legislation and issues, corruption and agendas due to outside influence and money that do not serve the people are guaranteed to take hold and infect the Statehouse.” It is my goal to ensure that this is not the case and that a government by and for the people, -not the lobbyists, not the corporations, not party agendas -is the goal.
Question 5- What, if anything, do you think needs to be changed from the way things are right now? Why?
Party line voting is a danger to democracy. It prevents true representation of the people and brings risk to constitutional rights and fundamental human rights guaranteed to all individuals, As we all know, parties are very easily influenced by lobbyists, agendas and money. Running as an independent allows the freedom to truly represent the people and ensure that constitutional rights and fundamental human rights are protected at all times for all individuals and that one does not fall prey to the pressure of party line voting. I think a key piece that should be considered by all at this time is that removing ourselves from the left-right paradigm and the division that permeates society today and coming together as the people to recognize the top to bottom situation that we are actually in is what will heal and allow our country and humanity to recover, The top to bottom situation relates specifically to global corporations heavily influencing markets, agendas, legislation, politicians and even culture and our schools in order to promote their bottom line of profit, power, control of markets and ultimately domination. With this understanding and perspective, I believe that people can successfully work together to ensure that their rights, livelihoods, liberty and access to options and resources are fortified and secured. Understanding what we are actually contending with and who and what is driving the division and agendas is critical for the people to use the government in the way it is intended; to protect and serve the people from tyranny of any sort throughout all of humanity's existence. This in my opinion is what will truly serve Vermonters, our economy, the environment and the rights of the people today and into the future for all of our descendants.
For more information about my campaign and my thoughts on the issues Vermont faces, please visit my website at DespathyVTHouse.com for further information. I look forward to hearing from you and I hope that you can share your thoughts, concerns and questions on these issues so we can work to find the answers together. Thank you for your support and consideration. It would be an honor to serve you at the Vermont Statehouse.