Advocating for Rural Communities

by Katherine Sims, State Representative, Orleans-Caledonia

MONTPELIER – The legislature adjourned for the 2021 session, and it was certainly one for the record books! We conducted all business remotely and our Green Mountain State received a vast infusion of federal aid due to the pandemic.

What an honor to carry your priorities with me into the statehouse as a strong advocate for rural communities. I worked diligently to ensure that the millions of dollars coming into the state were put to immediate and effective use. I advocated for high-impact, once-in-a-lifetime investments to accelerate recovery in all 14 counties of the state and advance priorities for our future.

We passed legislation that makes historic investments in the health, well-being, and economic security of Vermont’s families and small businesses including high-speed, reliable internet; high-quality, affordable childcare; housing infrastructure; climate, clear water and transportation investments; and supports for small businesses.

As a result of this work, Vermont is one step closer to a more prosperous and resilient future for all Vermonters.

Read my full report on the 2021 legislative session and the major bills passed this year at Visit my legislative page on the general assembly’s website at // to see the bills I co-sponsored and how I voted on all the bills that came to the House floor.

What’s next? I’ll be using my time this summer to get out, listen, and learn from all of you. While we made important progress on the key challenges we face as a state, there is more work to do to advance priorities for our future and to center racial and social equity in our investments.

In particular, I’m excited about my upcoming work as the clerk of the Rural Economic Development Working Group, where I’m helping arrange educational opportunities over the summer and fall for legislators to learn more about the forest economy. Vermont’s forestlands are vital to Vermont’s environment, economy, and quality of life. Unfortunately, we continue to lose forestland at a rate of approximately 11,000 acres per year. While still an important part of our forest-based economy, the wood products industry faces ongoing stress from overseas competition and an aging workforce. Our group is planning site visits across the state to hear directly from folks on the ground and identify policy opportunities to ensure the viability of the forest economy.

It has been a true honor representing the people of Albany, Barton, Craftsbury, Greensboro, Glover, Sheffield, and Wheelock in the Vermont House of Representatives.

Thank you for all your support. If you need assistance or want to discuss your priorities or needs, please reach out anytime. I look forward to connecting with you.