Kitchel Discusses Upcoming Term

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janeLYNDONVILLE- Democratic Senator, Jane Kitchel, is running unopposed in the upcoming midterm election. Since 2004, Kitchel has served the Caledonia District.

According to Kitchel, her upbringing in Danville has significantly shaped her politics. "It certainly defines who you are. Not only did I grow up here, but our family has been on the same farm since 1839. So we have a very strong connection to land, and our heritage, and our community."

Kitchel proceeded to note her involvement with politics early on in life. "I was very fortunate because I grew up in a family where we were very engaged in the political world, as well as community activities. My mother was in the legislature, back in the 60's. We had very active parents, both in state and local government. I also had the advantage- we had a family friend that was a U.S. Senator, so we also got exposure to the national political scene."

At the time Kitchel was elected to state Senate in 2004, there had only been one Democrat elected before her from the same district since 1912. She was also running against two incumbents. That being said, she had to ask herself, 'Do I really want to do this?', knowing very well that it would be an uphill battle. According to Kitchel, what convinced her to run was acknowledging the possible regret of not trying. She continued to note that same motive behind her decision to continue serving the Caledonia District today.

When asked about specific goals throughout the upcoming term, Kitchel spoke about two initiatives which target the state's drug crisis. The first regards the workforce shortage in the area of mental health and addiction treatment. "Every state is struggling with it," she said. "And so I was able to set aside money so that we can look at how we develop our own Vermonters who might start out in an entry level, but be very interested in the field, and with education and training move up through."

And the second will target the protection of children. Kitchel explained that she's designated 7 million dollars to assist in overhauling the way the state approaches families, protects children, and adjudicates cases. "More children, unfortunately, are coming into the custody of the state because of parental substance use," she said.

Kitchel concluded by emphasizing the importance of voting and becoming aware of the issues facing the state. "It doesn't matter how much money you have, or whether you don't have a nickel. Your vote is equal and just as important in terms of getting your candidate elected. And that's very powerful. I just hope we can see more and more of that younger demographic get engaged and understand how important an engaged citizen is, and the strength of our democracy. It can't be overstated."