Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jason on the move

This was originally written on Nov. 18, 2005


Yes, I’m on the move. Literally. My partner Nat and I bought our first home on 231 Park Avenue (right near Manhattan Drive). We just moved in last Friday, and we’re madly unpacking boxes as we prepare to host our first Thanksgiving in our new home, when my mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, and two adorable nephews come to visit us from Baltimore and Chicago. People tell me that we’re crazy to have house-guests so soon, but hey – it’s a great incentive for us to get settled quickly!

Already some of our neighbors had popped by to say greet us, which is so wonderfully Vermont.

And speaking of wonderfully Vermont, the snow on the ground today is just beautiful, our season’s first here in Burlington. I love the snow.

But before getting too accustomed to winter, let me recap you on what I’ve been up to this past summer and autumn.

It’s been a busy and productive time for me. I did a lot of standup comedy, including gigs at Higher Ground, a fundraiser for the Rutland County Democratic Caucus, and upcoming shows at the Flynn Space, 135 Pearl, and in Waterbury. I also performed in several plays, including “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, “Tying Up Sandima” by Burlington playwright Maura Campbell, and now finishing up my final weekend of “Glengarry Glen Ross” by Vermont-dwelling David Mamet. Those plays are/were performed at Burlington’s new Waterfront Theater (proudly in my district) – it’s right across the street from the Wyndham Hotel, overlooking Lake Champlain (and we’ve gotten great reviews for all three plays). Plus, I’ve had a couple of TV commercials airing, including a stint as the Tooth Fairy (with the whole costume) promoting dental care in a public service announcement.

Legislatively, I’ve been focusing my attention on Corrections (prisons and jails). In a quest to hear directly from the people most affected by Corrections, I’ve been interviewing dozens of people, including spending a day in jail up in St. Albans; meeting with nine correctional officers, representatives from several victims groups, the attorney general’s office, inmates, Department officials, and many others; and attending a statewide conference on women’s correctional issues. As I’ve interviewed people, I’ve focused on four main questions: (1) What are the problems we face, (2) What are the causes, (3) What are the short-term solutions, and (4) What are the long-term, ten-year solutions. I will be sharing writing up my findings in a report. Stay tuned.

Separately, I worked with VT Speaker of the House Gaye Symington, VT Senate Pro Tem Peter Welch, Rep. Alison Clarkson, Sen. Matt Dunne, and others on calling upon the federal government to offer federal marriage benefits to those of us with Civil Unions. Currently, people with Civil Unions are denied federal inheritance rights, social security survivor benefits, veterans’ benefits for partners and dependents of living or deceased service members, and more than 1,000 other benefits that married couples receive. We were successful in getting the word out about these injustices. You can hear the VPR radio report, or read a transcript of it, at:

On the healthcare front, which remains the Democrats’ top legislative priority, I’ve been actively involved, attending healthcare forums to hear what Vermonters think. What I heard is that Vermonters are frankly fed up. We must have universal healthcare coverage, and we must address the out-of-control costs. I remain committed to this cause.

I’ve been working on several other legislative matters, which I’ll update you about in future emails. The Legislature convenes again in January, and I’m looking forward to it!

Please drop me a line and give me a quick, “Hello.” Or, tell me what you’re up to and what’s on your mind.



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