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Vermont Democratic congressional candidates discuss the opioid crisis


Two of the three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Vermont’s lone U.S. House of Representatives seat participated in a forum with Jenna’s Promise in Johnson on Thursday night.Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint spoke in front of an audience at Jenna’s House. They spoke about their own experiences with the opioid epidemic, took questions from Vermonters, and talked about what they want to do in Washington to help address this crisis. “Increasing base funding for recovery centers like Jenna’s Promise,” Gray said. “We really struggle right now with recruitment and retention so it would support that. It would also support pilot projects for rural communities. We know that opioids have impacted us disproportionately in Vermont.”Balint said she would support federal legislation to assist those struggling with addiction.”I want to make sure we have federal law that enables more providers to give medically- assisted treatment,” Balint said. “Whether its methadone, whether its suboxone, I think one of the things we hear in rural areas is people can’t get to a treatment center.”Jenna’s Promise is an organization that was founded for substance use prevention. The family of Jenna Tatro started this work after she died of an overdose in 2019.Gregory Tatro, Jenna’s brother, said that Vermont’s next representative in Congress needs to focus on getting enough money in the hands of the people who do lifesaving work.”With a little bit more funding, with a little more attention, with a little more help, I really think that there is no end to the protentional of what they could do,” Tatro said.Former congressional aide Sianay Chase Clifford was scheduled to participate in this forum. However, she was not in attendance since she recently dropped out of the race.Louis Meyers, another candidate for the Democratic nomination, was not in attendance. Event organizers said the other two candidates established a relationship with the organization and were part of the forum’s planning process.

Two of the three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Vermont’s lone U.S. House of Representatives seat participated in a forum with Jenna’s Promise in Johnson on Thursday night.

Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint spoke in front of an audience at Jenna’s House. They spoke about their own experiences with the opioid epidemic, took questions from Vermonters, and talked about what they want to do in Washington to help address this crisis.

“Increasing base funding for recovery centers like Jenna’s Promise,” Gray said. “We really struggle right now with recruitment and retention so it would support that. It would also support pilot projects for rural communities. We know that opioids have impacted us disproportionately in Vermont.”

Balint said she would support federal legislation to assist those struggling with addiction.

“I want to make sure we have federal law that enables more providers to give medically- assisted treatment,” Balint said. “Whether its methadone, whether its suboxone, I think one of the things we hear in rural areas is people can’t get to a treatment center.”

Jenna’s Promise is an organization that was founded for substance use prevention. The family of Jenna Tatro started this work after she died of an overdose in 2019.

Gregory Tatro, Jenna’s brother, said that Vermont’s next representative in Congress needs to focus on getting enough money in the hands of the people who do lifesaving work.

“With a little bit more funding, with a little more attention, with a little more help, I really think that there is no end to the protentional of what they could do,” Tatro said.

Former congressional aide Sianay Chase Clifford was scheduled to participate in this forum. However, she was not in attendance since she recently dropped out of the race.

Louis Meyers, another candidate for the Democratic nomination, was not in attendance. Event organizers said the other two candidates established a relationship with the organization and were part of the forum’s planning process.



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