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Public questions Vt. policymakers at WCAX event - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Public questions Vt. policymakers at WCAX event

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

It was part breakfast, part business at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

"Tick-borne diseases are emerging as a real and growing health and therefore economic issue," said Ellen Read of St. Albans.

Dozens of people filled the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier for "Policy Over Easy." The forum brought taxpayers and students face to face with members of Gov. Peter Shumlin's cabinet for a lively Q and A on issues impacting them.

"What do you guys think of maybe instituting some sort of student loan forgiveness depending on what kind of field you go into?" asked Sam Davies, a student at St. Michael's College.

A group of St. Michael's College students sought details on state efforts to make college more affordable and pressed the panel on why young people should stay in Vermont.

"The governor is focused on growing jobs and opportunities and we would love to have you stay," Vt. Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said.

K-12 education and the idea of consolidating school districts as a way to save the state money also came up.

"The governor is a firm believer in local control. I do not think that Vermonters will accept a top-down approach," Vt. Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca said.

Botched plans for a new state plane, water quality and the environment, and concerns over when and where road work is completed across the state had people talking as well.

"There certainly is no formula that we endorse that would favor any part of the state over another," Vt. Transportation Secretary Brian Searles said.

In the end, the Channel 3 sponsored event aimed to answer some important questions while giving folks the opportunity to share what's on their mind with decision-makers calling the shots in Montpelier.

"I thought it was great, gave an opportunity for ordinary citizens to get a chance to meet and interact with the cabinet," said Traci Griffith of St. Michael's College.

A group that had a few more things to think about by 9 a.m.

This was the first "Policy Over Easy" for us at Channel 3. We hope to do it again.

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