Put People First Movement Packs the Vermont Statehouse on First Day of Legislative Session

The Vermont Statehouse was packed with members of the Put People First movement delivering thousands of petitions at the opening of the 2013 legislative session.  Organized by Vermont’s new Human Rights Council, spearheaded by the Vermont Workers’ Center, people spoke up for human rights, including the right to health care and the People’s Budget.

This is how the mainstream media covered the day:

Vt. Legislature’s Opening Features Activist Rally

Whether black, red, green or purple, in English or in Spanish, a colorful group of Vermont advocates came to Montpelier Wednesday with one message– put people first.

“We all feel like in the past we’ve been fighting against each other or we’ve been pitted against each other. We’re not going to do that anymore,” said Karen Topper of Green Mountain Self Advocates. […]

Activists Press For Their Issues To Be Heard
Vermont Public Radio

[…] The biggest rally took place inside and outside a large Statehouse hearing room where hundreds of people stood shoulder-to-shoulder.

Ed Paquin, the executive director of Disability Rights Vermont, uses a wheelchair to get around. So he couldn’t get inside the room because it was so crowded. He explained that the event was organized under the slogan “Put People First.”

Paquin says the budget process has been turned upside down in recent years as lawmakers faced tight budgets and a political skittishness about raising taxes.

“We definitely in the last few years worked from the assumption that ‘here’s the tax structure that we have and so let’s look at the revenue that raises,'” he says. “And so we don’t think outside … of that as a boundary for budget considerations.” […]


View additional coverage on ABC22 and in the VTDigger.