Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today delivered his annual adjournment address to lawmakers, marking the end of the 2022 legislative session and the 2021-2022 biennium.
At the beginning of the session, Governor Scott outlined the once-in-a-generation opportunity before lawmakers with record surpluses and the infusion of federal recovery funds.
As a result, the State will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in climate change mitigation, housing, economic development and community recovery, critical infrastructure like broadband, water, sewer and stormwater systems, and more.
“Just think about this,” Governor Scott said Thursday. “After years of debating how to spend hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, for programs and new initiatives, we’ve invested billions this session on transformative projects that will put Vermont on a new trajectory.”
The Governor also emphasized the importance of working together, respectfully.
“It took work to build consensus on some issues, find compromise on others, and let the process take its course in the areas where we couldn’t find agreement,” he said. “And we showed that even when we disagree, we can be respectful and civil. My hope is, we will be an example for others and show that putting politics aside is the best way to give the people the results they deserve.”
A transcript of the Senate-version of Governor’s adjournment remarks can be found below:
Governor Scott: Madam President, Pro Tem Balint, Majority Leader Clarkson, Minority Leader Brock, and Members of the Senate.
It’s great to be here with many of my former colleagues, friends, and possibly even Vermont’s next Congresswoman or several other statewide office holders, for that matter.
I realize this has been a difficult biennium for Vermonters and legislators alike. But it was one where we made truly historic investments in shared priorities including housing, water/sewer/storm and traditional infrastructure, broadband, and combating climate change.
In January, I shared my optimism for the opportunity we were presented thanks to billions in federal aid and unprecedented state surpluses.
I talked about the potential to combine good ideas, thoughtful legislation, and historic financial resources to put our state on the path to a better, brighter future.
And while it was far from easy and we had a few pointed policy debates on some big issues, I’m proud of what we achieved this session and I hope you are as well.
One takeaway from the last two years, and I think Senator Kitchel will agree, is that in some ways it’s actually harder when you have more money than when you don’t have enough! But to be clear, I’d still rather have surpluses than deficits!
Just think about this. After years of debating how to spend hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, for programs and new initiatives, we’ve invested billions this session on transformative projects that will put Vermont on a new trajectory.
Because of our work, communities will get the infrastructure they need to bring in more jobs and housing, and families can replace water and sewer systems that have been unusable.
We’ll finally fulfill the promise of broadband that governors and legislators have struggled with for decades.
And with a quarter-billion dollars for housing, on top of our significant investments three years ago, we can hopefully turn the corner on the tremendous shortage of decent, affordable homes we face.
We worked to make our state more inclusive, standing up for the transgender rights, and to better protect all citizens from threats to their safety.
Importantly, we all stood together, unanimously, to protect democracy by passing a bill in a matter of days to provide over $600,000 to help the people of Ukraine.
That says a lot about who we are and the values we share, regardless of party.
I also want to take a moment to thank those who aren’t running again for your service to Vermonters.
I’ve had the honor of serving with, and learning from, many of you over my many years in the Senate.
We’ll have more to say about your contributions individually in the weeks and months ahead, but I want you to know how fortunate Vermonters have been to have had you here, contributing in your own ways.
Public service isn’t easy. In fact, just putting yourself out there to run is tough. So, thanks for all you’ve done here in this building, and what I’m sure you’ll continue to do for your communities in the future.
As I’ve said, you can walk away knowing what a significant impact you made for Vermont, especially over the last two years.
And that goes for all those who are staying on as well.
I know at the end of the session most of the attention is on areas of disagreement, but that really overshadows the things we do that have cross-party support like the T-Bill, which I understand passed unanimously, which isn’t unusual, and in record time which Senator Mazza tells me every year.
It took work to build consensus on some issues, find compromise on others, and let the process take its course in the areas where we couldn’t find agreement.
And we showed that even when we disagree, we can be respectful, and civil, something not every state government can say and definitely can’t be said at the federal level.
My hope is we will be an example for others and show that putting politics aside is the best way to give the people the results they deserve.
And that’s just what we did.
With an $8-billion budget, we’ve made investments that will move us further towards a Vermont that can keep and create good jobs, build affordable homes, and support communities across the state.
A state where all kids are getting the best education whether they go to the largest school, or the smallest.
Where families keep more of what they earn, and where we get closer to having a healthy and vibrant economy in all 14 counties, so we can protect the vulnerable and invest in the things we care about most.
That’s the vision I outlined in January, and we took some big steps towards reaching it this year.
Thank you again for all you’ve done.