What Challenges and Opportunities Do We See for Our Communities and State? Town
Using Rutland as an example: Rutland has become "Anywhere USA". Sprawl is taking its toll. Poverty is rampant in the city. It's depressing. It's sad. And you know what? It's noticed. By everyone. We all want change. Vermont has a unique opportunity to transform itself into a place where everyone is entitled to a second chance and happiness by all. Rutland
Operating ANY business in Vermont. Operating any motor vehicle on the roads and bridges. Curtail and limit interaction with any resident flatlander. The opportunities to be part of, belong, associate, and live in Vermont are extinct. Sudbury
population growth management as seen in sprawl and ethnic diversity, drug control and rehabilitation, economic prosperity S. Burlington
too expensive to live here. Few career opportunities. Dead zone. manchester
Safety is eroding, and I find that too many people are too complacent about this. We'd rather talk about jobs and countryside, and put blinders on when it comes to the degradation of our state's sense of freedom from crime. Burlington
The biggest challenge facing Vermont is its ideals vs. wants. Ideally we want to be rural and progressive, but we want better paying jobs and affordable housing. We wish for the private sector to grow but do not want to give up our social service programs. Rutland
First in mind is that there is not much jobs here for our young talented college graduate children. We need to create jobs for our children so that they don't have to go to China to find jobs. Montpelier
Vermont does not have enough jobs to offer the people who want to live here. I and many others worry that we will be forced to look for work outside of Vermont. Burlington
The challenges involve getting through the recession & rebuilding the economy. The opportunities are to move our state ahead on such issues as universal health care & gay marriage. Chester
same as national AND maintaining a quality of life that is created of the whole environment and people but not easily defined cabot
One hundred percent internet and cell phone access. This state puts people at a disadvantage or at risk by not providing the technology America runs on. Vermont could be a leader in alternative energy and living green. Why we haven't taken those bulls by the horn I don't understand. Mendon
We need to cut the size of state government by eliminating expensive programs that we simply cannot afford. The goal should be to reduce the overall tax burden for businesses and individuals. Walden
Vermonters as a whole face increasing threats on our rights under the federal government. We pay too much in federal taxes, and don't see enough benefits (bailouts, housing crisis, etc… most of which isn't our problem. shaftsbury
Keeping Vermont the way it is …in many ways. We don't want to be a suberb of New Jersey. Green energy. Conservation of land. Affordable property tax. School education. Health care for all. Keeping younger people in the state. Affordable housing for all. Brownsville
The challenge of working with a timid governor with no forward-thinking future plan, unable to envision a more sustainable state and lacking compassion for the less fortunate. Opportunities abound at the grassroots level to work for health care for all, production of Vermont-grown food and leadership in establishing Vermont's energy future weathersfield
Challenges: growth under control so that we don't become a cold mini-New Jersey; turn off tv's and get involved; need governor for green energy policy and to wire state. Opportunities: small scale, work ethic,creativity, community, values Marshfield
Chall:1)Afford. hous,2)Supp VT biz,3)Fuel costs,4)Qual of/access to excel. schools,5)Adqt transpo opts for VTers,6)Afford prop. taxes,7)Conserv/preservation nat. lands/hist props.Opps:VTers are aware of aforementioned challenges.I believe there is a will/desire among VTers to address these issues.Unlike many other states, VT still has the opp to conserve our lands. Marshfield
– The depopulated Northeast…. how do we make a small-town, non-hip model attractive to our kids and the kids of the rest of the country (the ones who aren't selling drugs, at least)? Rockingham
rights for same sex couples, employment, ethnic diversity (lack of it), education, rural internet connectivity Glover
The state needs to find a fair, way to tax and pay for education, reaching into one towns pocket so other towns get a free ride is unfair. permitting process less of a chore! helping hand up and not a hand out. Affordable housing should be a hand up to home ownership not a hand out or hand down to a life long of renting. Manchester Center
We need to reform our social support system. Our elderly and disabled are falling thru the cracks. It appears that we are breeding more generations dependent on the state. Increased efforts on health care, including dental and eye care.Opportunity lies with our youth. Public schools are failing the potential.More $ are spent are problem children. Highgate Springs
economic opportunity/prosperity healthcare reform energy alternatives social reform Bennington
Retaining the character of VT. We need to make sure VT doesn't become another generic place w/ big box chain stores & few local economic engines. Small businesses & cottage industries are important. The creative economy & the arts. We need goods, service and resources ideally made nearby, not trucked in from far away. Keeping VT affordable is also important. Taxes & the cost of living are issues. Brattleboro
We need to establish such a degree of independence that we can shape our own future in a sustainable way. This doesn't mean not having any relations with the nation or the world, only that we are not trapped by conditions beyond our control. Dummerston
With the price of fuel rising, we may need to look inward more to sustain ourselves–living closer to where we work, and developing a true transportation infrastructure that gives priority to public transportation/ride sharing; we will need to buy more things locally–which will help keep our dollars circulating within our communities. Bristol
Have more places in the southern half of the state for "young adults" I'm not talking teenagers here but like 20 year olds, I know my much older cousin hates to visit us in "the south" because he says there is nothing to do, but he is from Burlington Manchester Center
Keeping Vermonters focused on what they've got, instead of what they think they're missing. I think this applies in particular to younger native Vermonters who don't yet realize how fortunate they are. South Burlington
Dislodging the stodgy, accountant based thinking from our State government. Fayston
that they realize for change and improvements to come locally we must first fix what is wrong nationally and globally East Wallingford
Creating a State where our kids and grand kids can stay and earn a living wage, not from minimum wage but from competitive employers. Tunbridge
Challenge: Attracting companies to the state to increase employment opportunities for young people. ACT250 process is broken. High taxes, high cost of education. Keeping young people in the state. Opportunities in green technologies. VT is ahead of most places and can attract and support cutting edge ideas in the green field which can provide good jobs for young people. Middlebury
I see a need to protect what we have here: a national treasure. I have witnessed urban sprawl and social decline in other parts of our country, and how they impact the environment: both the broader natural environment and the specific habitat of humanity. Finding a way to keep life affordable and to help Vermonter's thrive economically is very important to the long term future of this state. Halifax
We no longer share the same land values. Marking land as personal property and denying others the right to enjoy passive use of the land is on the rise. Lack of forward planning in energy, development and finance, a focus on re-election has weakened our government, and forced scarce dollars to address immediate emergency issues and not invest in our land, conservation, farming and communities. Montpelier
The biggest challenge is encouraging new and growing businesses who's values match those of our residence and can provide for jobs for the next generation of vermonters. We are at a critical point, and the policies we set in the next few years will have a dramatic effect on the future of our state. South Burlington
I think gay parenting is a challenge that we will see in the future. South Burlington
n/a Burlington
Balancing enough commerce to provide people with jobs, at the same time preserving our unique natural environment. I think it's especially tough for the 20/30-somethings just starting out to find a good paying job that will afford them to stay in Vermont and raise their families. It seems that real estate and the cost of living are very difficult to meet with the salaries offered here. Middlebury
Small business' are the heartbeat of VT. without them we would have no small towns. We need to make vt more small business friendly. People who grow up in vt love it here. They leave because of the lack of opportunity career wise. New Haven
Challenges:Declining enrollment in our grade schools.Cost of living too high, and lack of opportunity for younger generations.Lack of incentive and encouragement for small business. The emigration of young, productive, and ambitious adults. Becoming a retirement community for people that can afford to live here. Opp: Very many people still want to live here due to the quality of life. Dorset
Keeping towns small. Keeping the state rural. Costs of education, roads, energy… East Hardwick
There are many challenges, including supporting local farmers, building employment opportunities, and keeping the cost of living affordable, changing to renewable, sustainable energy sources, managing the ever growing correctional facilities problem, and building better socail, and educational services for our state, Easy right! winooski
Keeping towns small. Keeping the state rural. Costs of education, roads, energy… East Hardwick
Keeping the state economically viable for young people and families Brattleboro
Family dissolution is pandemic. (Most legal and social problems originate here.) We need to initiate educational focus on building strong families. Secure, intact families and homes can be emphasized K-12, and special programs for marriage preparation needed for couples considering matrimony: one man and one woman unions ONLY, for the sake of the next and succeeding generations. GUILFORD
Saying "No" to the privileged. We must stop any development outside of traditional villages. The wealthy should not be allowed to build McMansions that ruin the landscape for the rest of us. Owning property should not carry the right to build a house. I want to make it clear that I support development necessary to sustaining a working landscape–this does not include residences. Burlington
There is a great opportunity for the commuinity in its growth as an artistic meca for new england. This combined with the massive support for local merchants vs the big box store corp. will allow the town to continue to grow with local support. This is something that you rarly see else where inthe country is just another reason why VT is so great. Newfane
cutting government programs, consolidating school districts and other services like road repair to cut waste, better information and resource sharing Rutland
The Disneyfication of Vermont–a playground for the rich at the expense of local working Vermonters. Loss of working landscapes, habitat, open space to development. Increasing taxes due to increased property values as a result of out of state pressure on real estate. Lack of health insurance for many Vermonters. Wallingford
Biggest challenge: suburbanization and its ills: loss of independence, decline in health/rise in health-care costs, corruption of traditional landscape/settlement patterns, rising taxes, loss of uniqueness. Vermonters say they don't want this, but too many let it happen. Therein lies an opportunity. The buy-local movement, the localvores, high gas prices: people are starting to wake up. Waterbury Center
I think there's a lot of temptation to study other states' gameplans without recognizing that our needs and strengths are more unique. I'd like to see us booming with cooperative businesses that sustain our communities over generations, and to stop complaining about the lack of big businesses that make their employees miserable – only to lay them off anyway. Grand Isle
Continuing to foster our small town communities, maintaining the landscape and being stewards for eachother and the earth. Burlington
rural isolation due to cost/availability of fuel –> an opportunity to create a rural public transportation system. lack of availability of non-local food –> learning how to grown sustainable bioregional foods. having to stay put –> being able to call somewhere home. burlington
challenges are to cut down consumption of fuel and building fuel efficient homes opportunites are sharing rides, working with others, supporting local artists, farmers etc. Education about health and preventative care Worcester
falling victim to corporatization and the mythology of "the market"…….. castleton
Increased taxes and higher energy costs Winhall
affordable housing, jobs and education Bellows Falls
As transplants increase and native Vermonters decrease, the challenge is to maintain the character of the state. There is the story of easterners who moved to dessert lands of the southwest to escape the allergens associated with foliage. The fist thing they did was irrigate the land an introduce the types of foliage they were accustomed to. Brattleboro
Manufacturing jobs going to China/high cost of fuel.Opportunity in building trades to create renewable energy/retrofit homes.State could provide energy related jobs, insulate homes.Should be wood pellet manufacturers in thisstate.Sharemorewineighbors-rides,tools,gardening, visits. Ways that saving on fuel can bring us back to basic values. Brattleboro
Challenges: High cost of living. Why does Cabot cheese, a local Vermont company, cost more at Shaw's than the New York Shaw's brand of cheese? Same with local meats versus Perdue. I can't even afford to support local business on my salary, and yet we have this huge local business moving going on. How can a person on a typical Vermont salary, which is low, afford to support this movement? Montpelier
The biggest challenge of all is creating an environment where our children can remain in Vermont and have decent jobs with wages. Vernon
Energy, the economy and global warming. Reducing our carbon footprint because it will save money. We need to cease shipment of our retirement and our kid's inheritances to Middle-Eastern countries for their oil. Shelburne
Challenges — sprawl, too much traffic/pollution; high prices for staples — food, heating fuel, etc… and with the grain being needed for fuel, I can't understand why VT is leading the country in production Opportunties – come together to solve problems Jericho
Keeping food on the table is hard. The economy needs more help. West Bridgewater
Challenges:Being able to offer a future to our young people here in Vermont without giving our state over to the growth and sprawl. Opportunities: being an environmental leader once again in developing alternative energy, growing more of our own great local food, being a beacon to the country as a way of life that is not about having more things, but about sharing what we have. Ferrisburgh
who they are going to fleece next once all the natives are priced out South Royalton
School taxes/property taxes is a challenge. I believe that the educational system needs a clean sweep with an eye toward lowering costs. I think this is an opportunity to look at how we can "reinvent" education delivery to our children and come up with cutting edge ways rather than the traditional regional school design. Montpelier
1. provide better health care. 2. provide better incentives for Vermont youth to STAY in Vermont 3. provide more incentives for renewable energy. 4. provide more public transit. Put a commuter train along the midway of I-89. State gov't should incentivize it — for builders and for commuters. Berlin
You have to get control over the property tax situation because those that you are hurting the most seem to be those native born Vermonters you cherish most. Randolph
Maintaining a rural feel while keeping up with the rest of the nation technologically. Sourcing renewable energy that everyone can agree on. Affordable post-secondary education. Milton
The rise of a U.S. culture that "you're on your own," that there's no such thing as community, just individuals and their families. Rising inequality. The impact of neo-liberal economics and neo-liberal gloabalization undermining local self-sufficiency and a sustainable Vermont economy. Middlesex
take forfront in progressive evironmental programs, clean energy and organic farming. increase clean industries such as health-care, education, human services. montpelier
Challenges: keeping rapid changes in check:development, esp. on our mountains; low service wages (tourism); lack of public transit,increasing heat. Opportunities: current use; income sensitivity for taxes; tech.ed. for good trades jobs,always needed & well paid. Fayston
Energy, diversity, job growth and opportunities. Safe, local, reliable food water source. Burlington
Energy prices will continue to rise as demand outstrips supply, pressuring the economy, impacting jobs, resulting in continued price rises in food and other necessities. Opportunity lies within the crisis itself: relocalize, revitalize our communities, and develop resilience by doing so. Essex
Challenges: Affordable housing for working families. Family violence Employment Transportation Health Care/Insurance Transitioning youth to adulthood successfully Economic disparity/inequality; social classes Opportunities: We need to bring all people to the table; this project is a great start, but it will be important to note whose voices are missing as well as whose are heard. Hardwick
Much of Vermont's challenges stem from our state's dependence upon federal funds & acceptance of federal mandates, even when neither is in the best interest of Vermont and it's people. We must maximize the many opportunities we can create to become a more self sufficient state, provide more jobs and opportunities for Vermonters. Lowell
An energy challenged future. An opportunity to relocalize. East Montpelier
Biggest challenge is how to apportion taxes so that we can provide basic education and services for all Vermonters. There's a big income gap and the majority of Vermonters are paying as much as they can afford, yet there are unmet needs. Wealthier Vermonters need to contribute more so we can all benefit from living in this beautiful state. Middlebury
challenges: how to integrate change into the existing framework of Vermont; how to stay Vermont while being part of a national and global economy; how to deal with changing demographics and new immigrants from around the world; how to keep our politics civil. Burlington
pollution, economic collapse, loss of downtowns, education education education Colchester
I think we have a conflict in a couple of key values. One is our independence, the other our desire to "do the right thing." For example, we're all for renewable energy, but we want the independence to do what we wish with "our" land, regardless of what's in the interests of the common good. Colchester
Global warming and declining fossil fuels will pound Vermonters during the next few decades- we need to adapt. Especially important will be increased public transportation, greater use of rail, greater centralization of villages (less suburban sprawl), increased local agriculture and small businesses. The benefits will be closer, more friendly communities and less stressful lives. Essex
The way our land use patterns have evolved is not appropriate for a world where transportation is expensive. The most economically/socially disadvantaged people in the state will be negatively effected by the increasing cost of fuel in the coming years, and I am worried that we do not have plans for how to help them. Burlington
Challenge of convincing the general population that the state needs to truly support employment that provides jobs and income. To stop copping out for "Attractive Poverty". Winhall
Maintaining town meeting and other forums for civic involvement. There has been an upswing in crime and a weakening of the economy, both challenges I think will grow if not addressed agressively. Environmental impacts of sprawl need innovative solutions. Burlington
Our taxes are too high. We have too many people who work for the State here. We need to encourage a more private-business-friendly and lower-tax environment. We must grow private business, and discourage government dependency. No nation (read State) ever taxed itself into prosperity. Grand Isle
Too much growth; keeping the youngsters home in VT Burlington
I think in order to save Vermont's environment we need to shut down Vermont Yankee and turn to alturnative energy sources. Morrisville
I fear that younger people cannot find jobs and leave the state and don't return. It bothers me that Vt may become a solely aging state. The ideal is to create intergenerational supportive communities so all ages can be part of the solution. Weathersfield
The need to redefine downtown areas and find ways to make them functional. Incentives to rebuild, repopulate and develop closer to the core, rather than more strip development. Stop urban sprawl. Find tax and development incentives for more cluster housing, as opposed to chewing up 1-100 acre lots for a single house. Rutland
Vermont's influx in diversity: Some communities appreciate the diverstiy as learning opportunities, while others rejct it because it is "different". Vermont's nature provides a huge opportunity to draw nature enthusiasts from around the country (and the world)- both as toursists & as residents who appreciate & want to preserve the natural environment. Burlington
Maintaining the sense of community and caring as bigger business and more people from outside the state move here. Charlotte, VT
We HAVE to deal with the impending implosion of the cheap-gas economy NOW, with increased investment in rail and mass transit services. We CAN NOT continue investing in any way shape or form in dislocated, isolated, auto-dependent communities or it will make the obvious and eventual dependence on higher fuel costs unbearable. burlington
Taxes. We need to get school spending under control and look for a better way to fund the school system. Act 60 is destroying us with out of control school spending What are we. We are at a cross roads. We need to deicide if we want to be a society of farmer or have industry.Currently we have trying to be the farmers with the big business tax base. Franklin
The rising costs of living seem to be the biggest challenge. I think that our economy relies mostly on tourism and of course at this time when things are toughest, we will and should have to ride out the storm. Opportunities…Buy local and support ourselves internally until the economy improves. Orwell
too much time being spent on social and environmental issues, ie , same sex marriages and Act 250 . Little time on economic issues , heating our homes ; we are not business friendly and state and local taxes are killing us . ' Rochjester
I think we have an opportunity to be leaders in America. By demonstrating forward thinking about climate change, health care, humane rehabilitative criminal justice system (we have a long way to go in regard to our jails that tear people down instead of healing them.) Because we celebrate our creativeness in all aspects we can be national leaders. plainfield
Skyrocketing fuel prices will bankrupt families. My husband presently commutes from Berlin to Morrisville and it costs around $56 every 4 days that he commutes. We have put off having a family to become more financially secure, however with food and fuel being so costly we are back to not being able to save. Berlin
both (i.e., both challenges and opportunities): affordable housing infrastructure, (particularly for those most in need), affordable education (i.e., primary and secondary) as well as the mechanisms of how it is paid for, health care financing & service provision, setting up & maintaining statewide broadband, public transportation infrastructure as well as roads & bridges Montpelier
weak business community poor management of fish and wildlife exhaustion of community volunteers and donors exorbitant property and income taxes lack of will to implement important changes , willingness to close smaller elementary schools and supervisory unions to save money. MIddlebury
With the energy cost-shock, great adaptation is required. Will Vermont be allowed to adjust as required? Vermonter have no leadership which understands the principles of the Basic Community Unit, and does not know what the 12 basic functions are to be upgraded, nor how to organize around them. This is not comforting. Fairlee
I fear too many second home owners coming to Vermont – driving housing prices up and posting their land. I don't think Vermont should put all its eggs in the basket of promoting tourism. I think there is a big opportunity to attract young people with new agricultural ideas and programs. I see the ski industry tanking, and I don't want to replace it with year-round resorts! Burlington
We take our forests for granted We stick pinkies in the development dam with UVA, but the attraction of wood for energy, the aging of forest landowners and neglect in planning for our landscapes increase the need for citizen understanding participation for orderly growth,affordable housing, dependable power and transportation. Berlin
Unaffordable housing. A lack of quality rental properties. Poor roads. An aging population. Very few high paying jobs. Charlotte
Respect for political and social views that distinctly Christian and simple rural life based. New Haven
Mainstream corporate culture. Protecting and nurturing what makes VT special is hugely important and challenging. Burlington
Keeping our law makers from spending worthless time making laws that are unconstitutional and ultimately unenforceable. Too much time and money is spent by lawmakers in Montpelier making laws to impede the landowner and adding expensive bureaucracy to a State budget that they may not even understand. Newbury
Collapsing economy, ballooning taxes, fleeing young people, and a government that is hell bent on making sure nobody does anything to stop it. Ludlow
Sadly, the issue of gay marriage has the potential to divide us further, and education funding has never been solved to most people's satisfaction. We would have more opportunities if we became more business friendly, but because of our size we do have opportunities not available to people in large cities such as contact with our representatives. Randolph
a challenge giving our kids a proper education. Not just financially, but rounding their education to include all facets of learning and moral behavior. I see a need for schools to have stronger codes of dress and behavior among their students; to foster more respect for themselves, their peers & authority; and to teach about living responsibly: saving, working, etc. Williamstown
Returning to the strog values that Vermonters have always stood for. We need to stand up and say wnat is important rather than let liberal newcomers speak for us. Long time Vermonters are reticent to speak out about issues. This needs to change. Fairlee
In-State-based energy independence. Mass transportation (people and goods). The drug trade and the jail-them-all industrial complex. Affordable education for the masses. Reasonable, single payer based health care (Read: Get us out of this for-profit insurance racket). Rutland
Meeting costs.Maintaining and improving environmental controls.Housing needs and the costs thereof, especially for seniors and the disabled.Making medical services available to all.Attracting tourists.We have agreat opportunity to be an even greater bastion for small businesses. MONTPELIER
We can lead towards real solutions to global warming–decentralized energy, local agriculture, communities having control over their own resources. Challenges are from increasingly globalized corporate and financial system, excessive federal power verging on fascist control (see Naomi Wolf, The End of America). Barnet
affordable housing; an educated workforce; jobs that will attract an educated workforce; affordable and universal healthcare; an opportunity to turn our values and appreciation of the our landscape into a sustainable place that fosters a creative economy Pittsford
One issue that I feel needs to be addressed is the lack of tourism and funding that Vermont historic sites reciev. there are around 13 state historic sites and many more parks. these sites need to be preserved for future generations. Veromont has many amazing historic sites they just need our help. Lyndon
Challenges: The decline, or too high a price, of fossil fuels Alternative transportation Caring for an aging population Enough meaningful work for everyone An ever more diverse population Opportunities: All of the above! Plus, new state leadership with vision! Middlebury
We have a definite opportunity to remain a very progressive stte in many ways, including but not limited to wind and solar energy. Idisagree with developers who insist that wind turbine towers need to be 400 feet high. There is a tower on the Danville School property that is definitely NOT 400 feet high. I have also seen a portable tower on a sailboat. Needless to say it was NOT 400 feet high. Danville
Our cities are starting to get larger and look like what citizens from other states would call 'real' cities. Citizens from other states are starting to buy land and build houses in Vermont because it seems untouched by urban life. The more 'outsiders' that come to Vermont, the more urban Vermont becomes. Mount Holly
The chalenge that Vermonters face is low-income housing. White River Jct.
Here in the Northeast Kingdom alcohol and drug addiction are rampant. A state liquor inspector once told me that the NEK consumes almost as much alcohol as the entire rest of the state. This is very concerning. Also the lack of jobs and depressed wages and benefits. Newport
The tax rate continues to rise, as do gas prices. Promotion of careful spending and alternative transportation. Ensuring the return of affordable living and better health choices. I'm very proud of Burlington for not having a McDonald's anymore. Burlington
SMART growth . . . but grow. the current population #'s cannot sustain the roads, birdges, schools etc. without going bust. we need to stop giving away everything to the "poor" and put them to work. Lyndon
As an out of stater, it's difficult to make a living and afford to live here, even with some major lifestyle concessions. I think a lot of people would be willing to compromise some convenience for what it so special about Vermont–but you need access to jobs and affordable housing in order to do that. RANDOLPH
Allowing mainstream corrupt Vermont – be energy self-sufficient – embrace and implement renewable energy, be food self-sufficent by making the main stay of our diets seasonally driven and agree that chocolate, spices and other ingredients are extras we are willing to swap for, and find, strengthen and keep the collective will to be different in the face of becoming faceless in a global society. Montpelier
Zone better. Leave the rural and make the current cities workable and put in the stores people are driving miles and miles to go for. Establish green buffer zones outside various cities. Build up the roads to the cities. Newport
we are facing job crunch our children grow up here and move away because no work we need industries Brighton
energy costs, energy infrastructure needs investment. water and wind and transportation and affordable housing these are both challenges and opportunities. political will to invest in necessary change lacking at present Glover
Planning for the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Local communities can explore ways to create electrical power locally utilizing a distributed grid system Barnet
Becomming sustainable communties that will flourish without fossil fuels. Washington
dealing with global warming=technology/jobs accessible health care IN VT-I go to NH (DHMC) Better schools/lower dropout rate=fewer jails High property taxes. at least we have access to legislators. failing infrastructure=jobs Bridgewater
The lack of ubiquitous communication statewide IE. lack of consistant cell coverage and broadband access. Less federal assistance to support roads, special education, housing. Best opportunity – get rid of Bush and Douglas. Burlington
To promote buying locally; educate people about the value of what we have and about our past; continue to promote small business, self-employment. Keep the rural aspect of most of VT. Encourage people to engage in local, place-based activities e.g. farmers' markets, Valley Quests, vacationing in VT, outdoor environmentally sound activities. Weathersfield
Ironically we can spoil what attracted many of us here. We're on the cusp – we must be careful how we grow. The interest in buying local, local ag, is a great oportunity for us. While becoming 100% self-reliant is probably not achievable, perhaps not desirable, I think we should become less dependent on getting food and goods from outside VT and move toward maximum sustainabilty. Weathersfield
I think that some of the challenges are ;trying to maintain Vermont's historical charm while allowing new businesses to take root and provide more people with jobs.Another being that we are trying to provide everyone with the same rights, regardless of what others may think.However, it will draw more people into it, which means we must be prepared to undergo more changes regarding economics. Danby
We must become self sufficient in food and energy. A study has shown that we can feed our current population with the land available. Another study has shown that we can produce enough biofuels to heat all of our homes. With necessary changes in our agriculture (weaning oursleves from largely a dairy base), becoming self sufficient in heating energy and food is possible. East Montpelier
How to achieve universal health care. How to preserve farming and thus the landscape we say we treasure but which is rapidly disappearing. How to fund education. How to preserve small communities and the downtowns. How to preserve the middle class (ie raise those in poverty) and prevent the state from becoming a 2nd home for the wealthy. Jericho
Maintaining or even improving our pristine natural environment, working hard to raise those living in poverty to a high standard of living, spreading our good way of life beyond VT's borders, continuing to improve the quality of life for Vermont's minorities (especially LGBT folks) and most of all LOWERING OUR TAXES!!!!!!!!!! Norwich
Preserving our way of life – maintaining small communities, strong local governments, open spaces and natural areas, farms, forests, a clean environment, safety, and a steady economy. South Burlington
Inevitable change than we refuse to address but must. Warren Gore
The severe gap between high income families and low income families. the plight of the family farmers, high taxes. commercial or residential developments that threaten open lush forested lands that vermont is famous for. Essex junction
Bring back into focus basic values in the community and State. South Burlington
Vermont is uniquely positioned to be innovative in the agricultural and renewable energy sectors, and most Vermonters strongly support such efforts. However political courage and leadership are often lacking on this issue! Our biggest challenge will be to remove that obstacle to opportunity. Burlington
Challenges: maintaining a livable lifestyle for Vermonters at the middle and low income levels. It feels at times like our state is a haven for those in higher tax brackets, and that the gap between the high and low income is getting larger and larger. Opportunities: using our commitment to our communities and our environment to fix that gap. Proctor
challenges: poverty; racism; loss of civic experience & knowledge; phys. & emot'l violence especially in homes/schools; increased economic disparity; difficulty of going it alone (v. the strength of the fed govt & culture, the global economy). Opp'ties: every challenge can be turned into an opportunity through the strength & hard work of this "indominatable people" [Coolidge]. Burlington
I think we all like to be self-sufficient and strong, but are driven by poverty to be needy and dependent on a system that isn't really working for everyone. Someonecan do a better job raising their children on welfare than they can working and paying for health care and food themselves.?! The system encourages dependancy. People are moving here for the welfare benefits- did you know that? Ripton
challenges are to resist submission to immoral corporate interests and decisions based on fear; opportunities include implementing pioneer and model programs for environmental sustainability and progressive social justice Cabot
Maintaining and growing all of the above (safety, happiness, natural beauty, freedom) N. Ferrisburgh
Vermont faces a lack of job challenge and economic issues which surround the economy. The opportunities are there for stronger community connections to help all those in need. Sheffield
Keeping enough employment "action" in the state to hold on to young people once they graduate. Accepting and encouraging more diversity within the borders so our youth don't grow up "narrow minded". Barre
We need to think of Vermont children as OUR children and educate them equally. We need to include everyone in health insurance and health care. We need to address issues of class and equality. Cornwall
Lack of financial growth and opportunities for future generations to stay and prosper in Vermont. Rutland
We need to protect our natural environment, maintain its magnetism as a destination, and welcome all people of good will. We have the opportunity to acknowledge the equality and liberty of same-sex couples by making "marriage" available to all, not "civil unions", which is a put-down. Rochester
To totally become as our constitution guarantees, equality for all citizens of Vermont by taking the next step and allowing gay marriage. Cabot
Being able to afford living here westminster
We need to get wages in line with the cost of living. We need to rely less on tourism and the negatives of tourism so we can sustain better jobs & economy. Hartford
Keeping development in urban areas and not rural areas. Addison
Need clean-energy public transportation; Sustainable, vibrant economy w/o big-box/chain stores & housing developments that do not fit the landscape. Opportunities: Vibrant regional economy through agriculture (food & other essential items); develop strong community cohesion. Rutland
Preserving a way of life at the same time we must accommodate change. Westford
Developing a business climate that will bring businesses to the state that benefit the goals of the state and help with the tax base. Work toward the Governor's affordability program. Brandon
aging population, taxes too high for size of economic population, not enough rental properties everyone forced to own a home so that property taxes are too high and a prebate rebate system is required brandon
Keeping younger people here due to lack of competitive jobs. Integrating people of color into communities. Making Gay marriage legal S. Burlington
If the basic creativity of our own people could be unleashed and set free from the dead hand of the past which so many people among "the brightest and the best" now support; if the genius of Vermonters could be released, I think Vermont has a very bright future. eden
We have a huge problem with the separation between the haves and the have nots, even in Vermont. Similarly, we have not figured out how to build community among native Vermonters and newcomers, with both groups largely suspicious of each other. Newport City
Challenge: rising fuel costs, plus low tax base, make Vermont one of the most expensive states as far as basic living costs. Fewer tourists, second homes, retirees. Opportunities: got to realize potential income sources of the landscape and geography. burlington
Challenges for Vermont include the everpresent loom of sprawl, and the increasing environmental and energy demands it represents. A central challenge this state faces is that our young people graduate and move elsewhere, while people moving into Vermont tend to be past the age of entering the workforce in an entrylevel or journeyman level, creating workforce issues. Brattleboro
The rapidly rising cost of health care is driving the costs of government services which is putting pressure on both individuals and local busineses. The lack of gubernatoral leadership in addressing the problems of the state out of a false sense of 'affordability' is imperiling the enviroment, the infrastructure, the economy and responsible development in the State. Burlington
Roads, sewers, water treatment, energy resources. How do we respect freedom of religion when some people's religion deny others freedom If IBM can self insure, why not Vermont. If we taxed fairly, would rich folks leave? What effect? Small businesses benefit all. Winooski
Flatlanders. Pawlet
The lunatics are in charge of the asylum here–leftist ideology trumps application of common sense to find practical approaches to difficult problems: we are in ecomonic and demographic crash mode, but the lefties don't seem concerned; too busy impeaching the president, encouraging sexual deviance, etc. Weybridge
The challenge is to provide an easy to understand, level playing field that will allow Vermonters to quickly and without "red tape" exploit economic opportunities. Isle La Motte
To many on line forums and not enought country picnics. Winooski
Crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings.)The opportunity to invent a better way will never be a reality because it would mean doing things differently. Johnson
Life is keeping families so busy, and funding issues are keeping non-profits so busy, that there isn't enough communication between different groups and organizations.We're small enough to make it work- we could be a model for larger places. Fairfield
The need to clearly define what is productivity – not attending a meeting – and reducing all groups – government, non profits etc. that are funded by tax dollars to ones that can demonstrate how the funds are used and that the funds provide benefits which are not duplicated in other programs and reach lots of citizens. Bradford
Challenges – sprawl; keeping downtowns/village centers vibrant & diverse; retaining small & quality schools; childcare for infants/toddlers/pre-schoolers; elder care; informing tourists about places of interest without billboards. Opportunities – the many places of interest in VT, farmers markets, downtown businesses, 3rd stories of buildings to put back in use; small schools. Montpelier
breaking down social and ideological divisions a class divide that people don't talk about keeping rural livelihoods viable getting everyone on board for environmental initiatives creating small scale local economies, more self-sufficiency Wolcott
Keeping our children in the state for well paid careers. Franklin
Short changing our youth. Too many non-essential subjects being taught consequently they are not prepared for their future. The 1-10 student/teacher ratio is appauling. High costs of education is not producing better students. Grades are down standards are down. We put far too much emphasis on the buildings rather than the quality of care. Our priorities are in the wrong places. Hyde Park
maintaining vibrant communities and concentrating growth in urban areas, and limiting our dependence on cars. South Burlington
To be a model for the nation/ world. Burlington
Our young people are leaving at 4x the national average due to high taxes and lack of good career opportunities with larger companies. The opportunity is to create a pro-economy political agenda and incent growth of responsible business to drive our economy and our tax base. Create an affordable lifestyle for people to thrive rather than spread entitlements. Richmond
Challenges: High living costs, youth leaving Vt, permiting process too long. Medical care controls restrict care givers and hospitals. Doctors just out of school can not afford to practice in Vt. Opportunities: Develop energy resources, such as wood chip heat, wind; hydro; plan to keep operating Vt Yankee. Manage our wood lands. Better job in training our youth in job skills. Bennington
The aging population is going to stress Vermont more than any other issue in the next decades; we do not have the resources or facilities to care adequately for aging, ill, disabled or troubled people in great numbers. Our challenge is too keep the quality of interpersonal respect, caring and tolerance when we face these issues of age and decline. North Bennington
Vermont's rural landscape and old school mindset leave us without many tech jobs or the atmosphere to attract young professionals. This leaves our beautiful state quaint and charming, but left behind and aging. As for opportunities, Vermonters live the old cliche, "thinking outside the box." We may be the breath of fresh air the US desperately needs, that is if anyone will listen. Marlboro
Challenges: taking care of Vermonters in the midst of global and national trends and in-state problems. Opportunities: basing plans on our assets and resources, especially those in our wider region. Montpelier
Global and national trends; global warming, peak oil, international relations and war. Local trends;maintaining infrastructure, supporting the poor, maintaining a balance for working class and costs of services. Montpelier
Energy and the untapped labor force in the undereducated and welfare populations ST Johnsbury