Lt. Gov. Molly Gray: To recover stronger, we have to listen to Vermonters

This commentary is by Molly Gray, the 82nd lieutenant governor of Vermont.

This past year has proven what we have long known to be true: Vermonters are resilient and know how to come together to get through tough times. 

While we should all be proud that our brave little state has led the nation in responding to Covid-19, the all-too-familiar stories of working families and small businesses hurt by the pandemic are devastating. While in some instances we know the toll this pandemic has had on our families, businesses and communities, in many other instances we are still learning. 

Now is the time to listen to Vermonters. That is why this summer I will be spending my time in our communities, meeting directly with Vermonters impacted by the pandemic. Together, we will identify the additional resources needed by working families, businesses, communities and nonprofits to not only recover, but recover stronger from Covid-19. 

Because of the hard work of our Vermont congressional delegation, especially Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Leahy, Vermont is set to receive a historic $2.7 billion in relief through the American Rescue Plan Act. While the Legislature has allocated some of these relief funds, we continue to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make strategic investments that align our budget with our greatest needs and values. We can get this right if we listen to Vermonters. 

We know, for example, that our Vermont employers are struggling to recruit and retain employees and this pandemic has exacerbated our workforce development challenges. We also know that our working families, especially Vermont women, continue to have to choose between work and caregiving without adequate access to child care or paid family and medical leave. Finally, we know that access to work, education and health care may, even beyond this pandemic, be linked to the ability of every Vermonter to access affordable, reliable broadband. 

It is often said that from crisis comes opportunity. This summer, we will take stock of lessons learned from this pandemic and capture stories of innovation, perseverance and resilience. Throughout this pandemic, our communities, nonprofits and innovative businesses have often served as laboratories for creative solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. From deploying vaccines to addressing food insecurity and other emergency assistance, we are working together in new ways. While it is hard to imagine, there may be ways in which this pandemic has led to positive change at the local level that can be replicated throughout the state. 

It would be a missed opportunity to let the lessons learned from this pandemic pass us by. To embrace this opportunity and to make investments that serve the needs of our communities, we have to center the experiences and voices of Vermonters in the process. This summer, I look forward to doing just that.

Community meetings and opportunities to connect during our Recover Stronger Tour will be shared in local papers throughout the summer. You can also contact me directly with your pandemic story or recovery idea at or follow along at @LtGovGray. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in your community! 


About Commentaries publishes 12 to 18 commentaries a week from a broad range of community sources. All commentaries must include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and a brief biography, including affiliations with political parties, lobbying or special interest groups. Authors are limited to one commentary published per month from February through May; the rest of the year, the limit is two per month, space permitting. The minimum length is 400 words, and the maximum is 850 words. We require commenters to cite sources for quotations and on a case-by-case basis we ask writers to back up assertions. We do not have the resources to fact check commentaries and reserve the right to reject opinions for matters of taste and inaccuracy. We do not publish commentaries that are endorsements of political candidates. Commentaries are voices from the community and do not represent VTDigger in any way. Please send your commentary to Tom Kearney, [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Send us your thoughts

VTDigger is now accepting letters to the editor. For information about our guidelines, and access to the letter form, please click here.


Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Lt. Gov. Molly Gray: To recover stronger, we have to listen to Vermon..."