Alicia Freese

Alicia Freese

Alicia Freese is VTDigger's political and education reporter. After receiving a B.A. in international relations from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., she worked as a media associate at ReThink Media, an organization building communications capacity amongst progressive foreign policy organizations. While out West, she also wrote for Bay Nature Magazine, a publication covering environmental news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Inspired by the investigative reporting she observed in the foreign policy arena, but eager to return to her home state and re-immerse herself in Vermont politics, she naturally ended up at VTDigger’s doorstep.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aefreese

    Legislative Preview: Education committees will pick up pre-K bill, analyze education financing, independent school standards and debate consolidation of districts

    First grader Jay Borland and his classmates work on projects in Emily Wrigley's classroom at Union Elementary in Montpelier. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

    Donovan and Peltz co-sponsored a bold bill at the end of last session that would do away with supervisory unions and consolidate the governance structures of the all of the state’s school districts into 30 new districts.

    Legislative preview: Paid sick leave, child care workers’ union to be top labor issues

    Child care workers testified in force at a Statehouse public hearing on Wednesday evening. Those in red represented the Vermont Workers Center, while those in blue supported the legislation, and those in white opposed it. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana

    One proposed bill would grant seven days of paid leave each year for full-time workers.

    2013 Politics Recap: Plenty of sparks fly in off-election year, thanks to health care reform and party infighting

    Gov. Peter Shumlin discusses prospects for adjournment. Photo by Andrew Stein/

    Gov. Peter Shumlin was hit by a triple whammy this year — the disastrous health care exchange launch, a soured land deal with a neighbor and the dismissal of several key policies by his fellow Democrats in the Legislature. Meanwhile, the GOP engaged in its own internecine battle over ideology.

    2013 Health Care Recap: Exchange turmoil overshadows single payer plans

    Governor Shumlin address participants in the Vermont Health Connect forum held at Capitol Plaza  Hotel in Montpelier.  The forum was designed to present information and answer questions about plans for new insurance cost and benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

    Over the course of the year, setbacks beset the rollout of the state exchange; the Shumlin administration and a business and health care group released dueling cost estimates for single payer; a health insurance cooperative unravelled and key players in the health care reform effort shuffled from government to consulting gigs and back again.

    State offers ‘flexibility’ to those who missed Monday’s health insurance deadline


    Department of Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson said employees will work through the holiday week to process applications and invoices. But the call center will close at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday.

    Report: Brock major player in Vermont Health Connect records requests

    Republicans have quietly been reaping fodder about the troubled rollout of Vermont Health Connect, while less quietly critiquing the Shumlin administration’s handle on the situation. Peter Hirschfeld of the Vermont Press Bureau reported Sunday that the 2012 Republican gubernatorial candidate and former state auditor, Randy Brock, filed roughly two-thirds of the 35 health care-related public […]

    Vermont Foodbank aims to raise $1 million before year’s end

    John Sayles, chief executive officer of the Vermont Foodbank, spoke during a news conference on federal food assistance program cuts at the Central Vermont Community Action Council in Barre earlier this month. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

    The Foodbank has an operating budget of $6.5 million, and it depends on individuals and foundations to contribute roughly 70 percent of that.

    Senate Democrats set legislative priorities

    Senate Majority Leader Phil Baruth summarizes the priorities for the 2014 legislative session, as identified by caucus members Thursday. Photo by Alicia Freese/VTDigger

    Senators see a lot to do in 2014 session beyond solving budget deficit, examining Vermont Health Connect and improving mental health system.

    Open or closed, caucuses agree on curbing spending

    Creative Commons

    House GOP leader promises to make party meetings more open, cites some room for cooperation with Democrats

    Underhill drug rehab center trims staff, medical services

    Maple Leaf Farm rehab Underhill

    Maple Leaf Farm, a 41-bed treatment center for drug and alcohol addiction in Underhill, is laying off eight staff and shuttering its primary care unit to deal with a budget shortfall.

    ‘Human error’ leads to second privacy breach on Vermont Health Connect

    Rep. Mark Larson. VTD/Josh Larkin

    The incident, according to Larson, was limited to two individuals with the same first and last names, and it was the result of a human error, not a technological problem.

    3SquaresVT faces more federal fines

    DCF Commissioner Dave Yacovone addresses advocates at a meeting at the Agency of Human Services Tuesday. Deputy Commissioner Richard Giddings is sitting behind him. Photo by Alicia Freese/VTDigger

    The fine for not enforcing a federal work requirement could be as high as $960,000, according to emails obtained from the state.

    Health care – exchange and single payer – dominate House Democrats’ caucus

    Dressed down in plaid, House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morrisville, addresses the Democratic caucus members at the Statehouse on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Photo by Alicia Freese/VTDigger

    Shumlin and Smith urge fiscal restraint; governor requests lawmakers to wait till 2015 to delve into single payer financing.

    Administration orders $2.23 million cut in developmental services

    Creative Commons photo by Henrik Ström

    The 16 agencies that receive state dollars to do the work had until Friday to submit cuts.

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