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YCQM: July 19, 2020

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 8:53 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 9:30 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) -

>> Darren: GOOD MORNING,

EVERYONE, I'M DARREN

PERRONMENT RIGHT NOW ON "YOU

CAN QUOTE ME," FEMA'S FIGHT

AGAINST COVID.

AN OFFICIAL JOINS US TO

DISCUSS WHAT'S BEING DONE TO

HELP VERMONT AND NEW

HAMPSHIRE.

ALSO, THE LEGAL EXPERT WEIGHS

IN ON FORCED SCHOOL MERGERS

AFTER NEW SUPREME COURT

RULINGS.

PLUS, A YOUNG LGBTQ ACTIVIST

GETS NATIONAL ATTENTION FROM

"TEEN VOGUE" AND 'GLAD," NAMED A

TOP 20 UNDER 20 HONOREE.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

RESCINDS RULES ON FOREIGN

STUDENTS STUDYING ONLINE.

AND THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS

MORNING.

MORE THAN 1 MILLION

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS NO

LONGER HAVE TO SCRAMBLE TO

TRANSFER SCHOOLS OR LEAVE THE

COUNTRY.

WE TOLD YOU HOW IMMIGRATION

AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT SAID

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS MUST BE

ENROLLED IN IN-PERSON

INSTRUCTION THIS FALL TO LIVE

IN THE U.S.

IF THEIR SCHOOL WENT ENTIRELY

ONLINE, THEY HAD TO RETURN TO

THEIR HOME COUNTRIES.

SOME SCHOOLS, VERMONT AND 17

OTHER STATES, SUED I.C.E. AND

THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND

SECURITY.

NOW THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

IS ROLLING BACK THAT POLICY.

AND TO TALK ABOUT THE LAWSUIT

AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S

SWIFT REVERSAL ON BARRING

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FROM

THE U.S. IS ATTORNEY GENERAL

T.J. DUNAVAN.

THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> WHY DID VERMONT SUE OVER

THIS DIRECTIVE?

>> BECAUSE THIS RULING MADE NO

SENSE, WOULD HAVE I AM

IMPACTED 500 STUDENTS AT THE

UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT ALONE.

WAS NOT FAIR, WAS ARBITRARY,

AND WAS NOT IN THE INTERESTS

OF PUBLIC HEALTH, AND WOULD

HAVE IMPACTED THE BOTTOM LINE

OF UVM AS WELL.

IN MARCH I.C.E. SAID THAT

STUDENTS WHO WERE ON FOREIGN

VISAS WOULD BE IN COMPLIANCE

WITH THEIR VISAS WHEN

EVERYBODY WENT REMOTE IF THEY

CONTINUED TO TAKE ONLINE

CLASSES.

THESE STUDENTS RELIED ON THAT

REPRESENTATION.

THE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES

RELIED AND PLANNED ON THAT

REPRESENTATION.

WE KNOW THAT THIS PANDEMIC

THAT WE'RE IN IS DYNAMIC, IT

CHANGES EVERY DAY, AND THEN IN

JULY FOR THEM TO REVERSE AND

SAY IF YOU ARE TAKING ONLINE

CLASSES YOU HAVE TO LEAVE THE

COUNTRY ABSOLUTELY MADE NO

SENSE, WAS UNFAIR, WAS

ARBITRARY.

THAT'S WHY WE SUED.

BUT I'M VERY PLEASED THAT THE

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION REVERSED

THEIR POSITION, AND I'M GLAD

THAT FINALLY COMMON SENSE

PREVAILED.

>> Darren: NOW, A LOT OF

SCHOOLS, THOUGH, WERE PLANNING

TO OFFER IN-PERSON LEARNING,

AND THIS WOULD HAVE ONLY

APPLIED IF IT WAS ALL OFFLINE.

SO DO WE HAVE A HANDLE,

REALLY, ON HOW MANY STUDENTS

IN VERMONT WOULD HAVE BEEN

AFFECTED IF ANY?

>> NO, WE DON'T, BUT DARREN,

LET US LOOK ABOUT WHAT'S

HAPPENED IN THE LAST SIX

MONTHS IN THIS STATE, IN THIS

COUNTRY.

AS I SAID, THIS IS DYNAMIC.

THIS PANDEMIC, THE VIRUS IS

DYNAMIC.

IT IS CHANGING HOW WE LIVE

EVERY SINGLE DAY, AND EVEN AS

WE LOOK AT OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS,

OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS HERE IN

VERMONT, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT

SCHOOL IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE

IN SEPTEMBER, IN OCTOBER, IN

NOVEMBER, WHEN FLU SEASON

STARTS.

SO IT IS ENTIRELY REASONABLE

TO THINK WE WILL GO BACK TO

REMOTE LEARNING IN SOME WAY OR

FASHION IN THE FALL AND TO

SUGGEST THAT STUDENTS WHO ARE

PART OF OUR COMMUNITY, PART OF

THE FABRIC OF LIFE AT OUR

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES HAVE

TO LEAVE IF WE GO TO REMOTE

LEARNING AGAIN, IT WAS A

TOTALLY ARBITRARY AND UNFAIR

DECISION.

>> Darren: GOT IT.

SO DID I.C.E. INDICATE WHY

THEY CHANGED COURSE?

>> NO, I WOULD JUST SAY IT WAS

EVEN CREDIBLY WELCOMED NEWS,

ALBEIT UNUSUAL, TO HAVE A

REVERSAL IN SUCH SHORT ORDER,

BUT, AGAIN, IT'S THE RIGHT

DECISION.

IT'S WHAT'S IN THE INTEREST

FOR FAIRNESS, AND WHAT'S IN

THE INTEREST OF COMMON SENSE.

THE IDEA, AGAIN, WHEN WE ARE

SEEING THESE NUMBERS OF THE

VIRUS SPIKE IN OTHER PARTS OF

THE COUNTRY, TO SAY THAT, HEY,

FOLKS, YOU GOT TO GET ON A

PLANE AND LEAVE RIGHT NOW, IT

MAKES NO SENSE.

SO, AGAIN, I'M VERY HAPPY THAT

THE DECISION WAS REVERSED.

I THINK IT'S THE RIGHT

DECISION.

I'M GLAD THAT I.C.E. REVERSED

THEIR DECISION, AND THAT WE

ARE GOING TO RELY ON COMMON

SENSE, FAIRNESS, AND SCIENCE.

>> Darren: NOW, UNDER THE

RESOLUTION, ARE THERE ANY

CONDITIONS STUDENTS AND

SCHOOLS NEED TO ABIDE BY?

>> YOU KNOW, NOT THAT I AM

AWARE OF RIGHT NOW.

THERE MAY BE SOME CONDITIONS.

I AM NOT AWARE OF THOSE AS OF

THIS MOMENT, BUT I THINK, YOU

KNOW, THIS IS WELCOMED AND

GOOD NEWS THAT THESE STUDENTS

WHO ARE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY,

WHO ARE, AS I SAID, PART OF

THE FABRIC OF COLLEGE AND

UNIVERSITY LIFE CAN REMAIN

HERE, BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH

THEIR VISAS AND CONTINUE THEIR

EDUCATION.

>> Darren: ATTORNEY GENERAL,

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> Darren: TWO BIG RULINGS

ABOUT VERMONT SCHOOLS AND

LOCAL CONTROL BY THE VERMONT

SUPREME COURT.

IN BOTH CASES THE HIGH COURT

UPHELD ACT 46, AND THE LAW'S

PROVISION ALLOWING THE STATE

TO FORCE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO

MERGE AGAINST THEIR WILL IN

ORDER TO ACHIEVE COST-SAVINGS

AND INCREASE EDUCATIONAL

OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS.

DAN RICHARDSON OF TARRANT,

GILLIS, RICHARD JOINS ME NOW

IN INTERESTS OF FULL

DISCLOSURE, RICHARDSON'S

PARTNERS WERE INVOLVED IN

THESE CASES, BUT RICHARDSON

WAS NOT.

THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

>> MY PLEASURE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> Darren: LET'S START WITH

THE DISTRICTS FORCED TO MERGE

SUING THE STATE LOSE 0.

WHY?

>> WELL, THE SUPREME COURT,

THE MAJORITY OF THE SUPREME

COURT, THIS WAS A 3-2

DECISION, SO THREE JUSTICES OF

THE SUPREME COURT FELT THAT

THE STRUCTURE OF THE LAW WAS

ABLE TO SUPPORT THE ACTIONS OF

THE AGENCY OF EDUCATION AND

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.

THIS WAS REALLY A QUESTION AT

THE END OF THE DAY ABOUT THE

LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

THE LEGISLATURE WANTS THESE

SMALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO

MERGE BECAUSE OF A NUMBER OF

PRACTICAL REASONS.

YOU KNOW, DECLINING

ENROLLMENT, THE NEED TO

CONSOLIDATE RESOURCES, AND AT

THE SAME TIME EXPAND

POSSIBILITIES FOR RESOURCES BY

HAVING GREATER CONCENTRATIONS

OF STUDENT POPULATIONS.

ON THE OTHER SIDE YOU HAVE

LOCAL CONTROL, AND THE

TRADITIONAL VERMONT SYSTEM

WHERE SCHOOL DISTRICTS ROUGHLY

EQUATE TO TOWNS, OR THE TOWN

VOICES HAVE SOME VOICE IN HOW

SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE FUNDED,

AND ADMINISTERED.

>> Darren: SO THE COURT

BASICALLY, THEN, WEIGHED IN ON

WHO GETS TO DEFINE AND

ESTABLISH LOCAL CONTROL IN

VERMONT?

>> THAT'S CORRECT.

WELL, WHAT ACT 46 AND ACT 49,

WHICH ARE THE SUCK SECOND

SORES TO THE EARLIER ACTS 153

AND 156 DO, IS THEY REQUIRE A

TWO-STEP PROCESS IN WHICH

LOCAL BOARDS ARE GIVEN AN

OPPORTUNITY IF THEY DON'T MEET

A CERTAIN STANDARD TO MERGE ON

THEIR OWN.

AND IF THEY DON'T MERGE ON

THEIR OWN, LIKE, FOR EXAMPLE,

MOUNT PEELIER AND ROXBURY

MERGED ON THEIR OWN --

MONTPELIER, THEY WERE REQUIRED

TO URGE AS DIRECTED BY THE

AGENCY OF EDUCATION AND STATE

BOARD OF EDUCATION.

WHAT THE COURT DID IN BOTH OF

THESE CASES, HUNTINGTON AND

ATHENS, THEY AFFIRMED THAT

STRUCTURE.

AND WHAT WAS REALLY AT ISSUE

WAS WHETHER OR NOT THE SCHOOL

BOARD, THE STATE BOARD OF

EDUCATION HAD THE AUTHORITY TO

DO THIS TYPE OF MERGER.

THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT THE

LEGISLATURE GETS TO DEFINE

SCHOOL DISTRICTS, BUT THE

QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT

THEY HAVE PROPERLY DELEGATED

THAT AUTHORITY TO THE AGENCY

OF EDUCATION AND TO THE STATE

BOARD OF EDUCATION.

>> Darren: THE HUNTINGTON

SCHOOL DISTRICT DECISION CAME

DOWN THE SAME DAY.

HOW WERE THESE CASES

DIFFERENT?

>> HUNTINGTON WAS A UNIQUE

SITUATION IN THAT IT WAS

ALREADY PART OF A MERGED AND

MODIFIED, UNIFIED SCHOOL

DISTRICT.

SO WHAT HUNTINGTON HAD DONE IS

THEY HAD VOTED VERY MUCH AT

THE LOCAL LEVEL NOT TO JOIN

FULLY INTO THIS UNIFIED SCHOOL

DISTRICT, BUT TO KEEP A

SEPARATE IDENTITY.

AND THEY ARGUED THAT IT WAS

PERFECTLY FINE THAT THERE WERE

NO COST-SAVINGS TO BE HAD BY

FORCING THEM TO MERGE INTO

THIS ONE SINGLE UNIFIED SCHOOL

DISTRICT.

AND WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS THEY

WERE FORCED TO MERGE.

THEY WERE FORCED BY THE STATE

BOARD OF EDUCATION, AS WELL AS

THEY WERE ACCEPTED BY THIS

MOUNT MANSFIELD UNIFIED SCHOOL

DISTRICT, AND HUNTINGTON

FOUGHT ON GROUNDS THAT, YOU

KNOW, THERE WAS NO NECESSITY

THAT THEY MERGE INTO THIS

GROUP.

THE COURT RULED THAT IT WAS

PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE THAT THEY

JOIN THIS GROUP, AND

EFFECTIVELY IN SOME RESPECTS,

UNDERCUT THE LOCAL ISSUE OF

LOCAL CONTROL, BECAUSE IF YOU

HAVE A TOWN OR SCHOOL DISTRICT

THAT SAYS WE DON'T WANT TO

JOIN, ACT 46 AND ACT 49 DO

EFFECTIVELY UNDER THESE

RULINGS FORCE THOSE DISTRICTS

THAT THE STATE BOARD OF

EDUCATION DEEMS NOT TO FIT THE

MODELS INTO ANOTHER UNIFIED

SCHOOL DISTRICT.

>> Darren: SO BEYOND THOSE

CASES, THEN, WHAT ARE THE

LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS OF

THESE DECISIONS?

>> WELL, I THINK IT IS A REAL

QUESTION AS TO HOW WE VIEW

SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

AND I THINK THIS GOES BACK TO,

REALLY, ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL

QUESTIONS ABOUT

MUNICIPAL-LEVEL SERVICES.

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF

INDEPENDENT TOWNS IN VERMONT,

AND IF WE GO BACK 100 YEARS,

THEY USED TO DO A LOT MORE.

BUT BEGINNING WITH CERTAIN

ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, SOLID

WASTE DISTRICTS, WE STARTED TO

CREATE SPECIAL DISTRICTS THAT

ARE BIGGER THAN TOWNS, AND PUT

THOSE SERVICES INTO THEM, AND

THAT'S DEFINITELY THE

DIRECTION THAT SCHOOL

DISTRICTS ARE GOING INTO.

THAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE

BIGGER SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT

ARE GOING TO SEEK TO ENLARGE

THE OVERALL STUDENT

POPULATION.

AND I THINK THERE'S BOTH

POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES TO

THAT.

OBVIOUSLY THE LEGISLATURE FELT

IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO GET

LARGER DISTRICTS WITH HIGHER

STUDENT NUMBERS SO THAT YOU

WOULD HAVE GREATER RESOURCES

FOR THEM AND THE ABILITY OF

SCHOOL DISTRICT TO FUNCTION

AT, QUOTE, UNQUOTE, PEAK

EFFICIENCY.

ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU LOSE

THAT LOCAL CONTROL.

YOU KNOW, IF YOU TAKE

HUNTINGTON, FOR EXAMPLE, IT'S

NOW PART OF THIS MOUNT

MANSFIELD GROUP OF SEVEN

TOWNS.

IT DOESN'T HAVE A UNIQUE OR

SINGULAR VOICE OR ABILITY TO

VETO ANYTHING.

THEY JUST SIMPLY HAVE TO

FOLLOW.

AND I THINK ONE OF THE BIG

CONCERNS IS THAT WORRY GOING

TO SEE SCHOOL CLOSURES OVER

THE LONG-TERM.

>> Darren: DAN RICHARDSON,

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR

INSIGHT.

>> MY PLEASURE.

>> Darren: NEXT, THE FIGHT

AGAINST COVID.

A FEMA OFFICIAL JOINS ME.

DO WE HAVE ENOUGH SUPPLIES

RIGHT NOW?

DO WE HAVE ENOUGH IF THERE'S A

SECOND WAVE?

I'LL ASK HIM.

>> Darren: FEMA IS HELPING

COORDINATE COVID-19 RELIEF

EFFORTS AROUND THE U.S.,

INCLUDING RIGHT HERE IN OUR

REGION.

AND WE ARE JOINED NOW BY THE

REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR,

CAPTAIN RUSS WEBSTER.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE, WE

APPRECIATE YOUR TIME.

>> MY PLEASURE.

>> Darren: SO WHAT KIND OF

RELATIONSHIPS ARE YOU

ESTABLISHING HERE IN VERMONT

AND NEW HAMPSHIRE TO DETERMINE

WHAT IS NEEDED IN THE COVID

FIGHT?

>> WELL, THE COVID FIGHT HAS

BEEN UNLIKE ANY PREVIOUS

DISASTER THAT FEMA HAS HELPED

COORDINATE.

AND OUR ROLE IS TO SUPPORT THE

STATES AND PROVIDE THEM WITH

CAPABILITY, AND WE ARE USING

40 YEARS' WORTH OF EXPERIENCE

FOR THE STATE TO AGGREGATE

THEIR RESOURCES, RESOURCE

REQUESTS REQUIREMENTS AND

FORWARD THEM TO US.

FOR THE BETTER PART OF A YEAR

NOW WE HAVE HAD A LIAISON

OFFICER ESTABLISH ONE IN

VERMONT AND TWO IN NEW

HAMPSHIRE TO COORDINATE STATE

REQUIREMENTS, BOTH IN THE BLUE

SKY AND THE COVID ENVIRONMENT.

AND WE CONTINUE TO DO THAT,

SHIPPING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE

EQUIPMENT FROM FRANKLIN,

MASSACHUSETTS WAREHOUSE,

PROVIDING BOXED MEALS AND

COORDINATING TO PAY FOR

SALARIES AND BENEFITS FOR

NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN BOTH

STATES.

THAT PROGRAM, WHICH IS CALLED

TITLE 32, WILL CONTINUE

THROUGH AUGUST 21ST IN BOTH

STATES HAVE ASKED FOR

EXTENSIONS.

AND THERE ARE MANY OTHER

PROGRAMS THAT WE ARE

COORDINATING WITH 23 DIFFERENT

FEDERAL AGENCIES THAT ARE HERE

TO SUPPORT VERMONT AND NEW

HAMPSHIRE.

>> Darren: SO THIS IS FOR THE

FIGHT THAT'S ONGOING RIGHT

NOW.

SOME HEALTH EXPERTS ARE

PREDICTING THAT WE COULD SEE A

SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19,

PERHAPS EVEN THIS FALL.

ARE WE READY?

>> WE ARE READY.

ABOUT 2 1/2 MONTHS AGO WE

GAINED FOUR SCENARIOS.

WE GAINED THE LULL THAT WE ARE

IN NOW, WE GAINED THE TROPICAL

STORM IRENE DURING THE LULL,

WE ALSO GAINED A SECOND WAVE,

AND WE ALSO GAINED A HURRICANE

THAT OCCURS DURING THE SECOND

WAVE.

SO WE'RE READY WITH NEW

TECHNOLOGIES, NEW PROGRAMS,

WE'RE READY TO REPURPOSE

ALTERNATE CARE SITES THAT WE

USE FOR COVID, THE COVID

ENVIRONMENT TO SHELTERS AS

NECESSARY, WE ARE READY TO USE

THE CIVIL AIR PATROL AND

COMMERCIAL GROVES TO CAPTURE

ANY DAMAGE THAT MAY OCCUR AS A

RESULT OF STORMS, AND WE ARE

READY WITH NEW MESSAGING FOR

INDIVIDUALS TO REACT TO THOSE

STORMS, WHETHER THEY ARE

TYPICAL STORM THAT IS PRECIP

TATES FLOODING, OR WHETHER --

PRECIPITATES FLOODING OR

WHEREFORE NEW HAMPSHIRE

COASTAL FLOODING AS A RESULT

OF A HURRICANE.

>> Darren: CHANNEL 3 NEWS HAS

BEEN REPORTING ON THE SFIEKS

IN CASES IN FLORIDA -- SPIKES

IN CASES IN FLORIDA, ARIZONA

AND TEXAS.

ARE THOSE OUTBREAKS SIPHONING

AWAY ANY SUPPLIES OR PERSONNEL

FROM OUR REGION?

>> AT THIS POINT I WOULD SAY

NO.

WHAT WE HAVE IS AN

UNPRECEDENTED 50-STATE,

FOUR-TERRITORY AND 574 FIRST

NATION TRIBE ENGAGEMENT WITH A

DISASTER OF EPIC PROPORTION,

BUT FOR NEW ENGLAND, WE'VE

BEEN THROUGH THE WORST, AND WE

HAVE IN SEVERAL CASES

STOCKPILED, AND STATES HAVE

STOCKPILED SUFFICIENT PERSONAL

PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, ALTHOUGH

N-95 MASKS AND CERTAIN TYPES

OF SURGICAL GOWNS REMAIN

SCARCE, WHETHER YOU ARE IN

FLORIDA, GEORGIA, OR MAINE,

VERMONT, OR NEW HAMPSHIRE.

SO IN THAT REGARD WE ARE READY

TO RESPOND TO THE STATE'S

REQUIREMENTS.

AS OF THIS DATE WHAT WE'RE

SEEING IS THE COMMERCIAL

SECTOR IS PICKED UP MUCH OF

THE SLACK WE SAW BACK IN THE

MIDDLE TO THE LATTER PART OF

APRIL WHEN NEW ENGLAND WAS

MUCH MORE SEVERELY AFFECTED.

>> Darren: SO WHY THE

SHORTAGES, AND WHAT ARE WE

DOING ABOUT IT?

>> A COUPLE THINGS.

WE ALL STARTED WITH THIS, 90%

OF WHAT WAS NEEDED FOR OUR

HOSPITALS AND OTHER HEALTHCARE

FACILITIES WAS BEING PRODUCED

IN MALAYSIA, CHINA, SINGAPORE,

AND PLACES WELL WEST OF HERE.

THE GOVERNMENT REACTED TO THAT

AS PART OF THE WHITE HOUSE

TASK FORCE CREATED AN AIR

BRIDGE TO TAKE THE PROCESS

FROM WEEKS BY SHIP, TO DAYS BY

AIR, AND BRING THESE SCARCE

COMMODITIES IN.

IN THE INTERIM, THE PRESIDENT

HAS ACTIVATED PORTIONS OF THE

DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT WHICH

HAS ALTERED THE DOMESTIC

PRODUCTION, AND WE'VE SEEN

INDEPENDENT OF DPA ACTIONS,

COMPANIES, AS WELL AS PRIVATE

AND VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS

BEGIN TO PRODUCE PERSONAL

PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT ON THE

ORDER OF MAGNITUDE THAT IS

SUFFICIENT AT THIS POINT,

EXCEPT FOR N-95'S AND SOME

SURGICAL GOWNS.

>> Darren: SO WHAT ARE WE

GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT?

IF WE ARE SEEING THESE ONGOING

SURGES, THESE SPIKES IN PARTS

OF THE COUNTRY, HOW IS THAT

BEING ADDRESSED, AND ARE YOU

WORRIED ABOUT IT?

>> IT IS AN EVER-PRESENT

CONCERN.

THERE'S A PRESERVATION

STRATEGY, WITH THE

PRESERVATION SYSTEM THAT IS

PRESENT IN THREE SOUTHERN

STATES, CONNECTICUT,

MASSACHUSETTS, AND RHODE

ISLAND, SYSTEMS THEMSELVES

HAVE A CAPACITY TO RECYCLE

80,000 N-95 MASKS EACH DAY.

THAT'S ONE OF THE WAYS THE

GOVERNMENT IS ADDRESSING THIS.

AND THE SECOND WAY IS THAT

THERE ARE NOW MORE SOURCES,

MORE AGREEMENTS WITH COMPANIES

LIKE HONEYWELL AND 3-M TO

DOMESTICALLY PRODUCE IT.

BUT I DON'T WANT TO PRESENT AN

OVERLY OPTIMISTIC PICTURE IN

THOSE TWO AREAS, BECAUSE WE

EXPECT CONTINUED SHORTAGES IN

THOSE TWO AREAS THROUGH THE

END OF THE YEAR.

>> Darren: CAPTAIN RUSS

WEBSTER, GOOD LUCK WITH THIS,

FROM FEMA, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

TAKE CARE.

>> Darren: A VERMONTER GETS

NATIONAL ATTENTION IN THE

BATTLE FOR LGBT EQUALITY.

SEE HOW.

>> Darren: A LOCAL 20-YEAR-OLD

ARTIST AND ACTIVIST CAUGHT THE

EYE OF "TEEN VOGUE" AND GLAD.

AS CHANNEL 3'S KEVIN GEISS

FOUND OUT.

>> PRIDE MONTH WAS EXTRA PROUD

FOR A UVM STUDENT WHOSE NAME

CAN BE FOUND ON THE "TEEN

VOGUE" AND "GLAD'S" 20 UNDER

20 LIST.

\M\M

>> THE REASON I LOVE FILM IS

BECAUSE OF THE INTROSPECTION

OF ADVOCACY AND TECHNICAL ITS

OF STORYTELLING AND SFLIM

MAKING.

>> A YOUNG FILMMAKER, ALEX,

SAYS HE GREW UP IN A WORLD

THAT DIDN'T UNDERSTAND HIM, OR

REPRESENT HIM.

BUT THAT MOLDED HIM INTO AN

ARTIST AND ACTIVIST.

DISPUTE

>> CONSTANTLY DOUBTING MYSELF,

BECAUSE THERE WAS NO REALISTIC

REPRESENTATION OF WHO I WAS

AROUND ME, SO I HAD TO SEEK

OUT SOURCES LIKE REAL PEOPLE,

YOU KNOW, I HAD TO RESEARCH

ONLINE, BUT IT WAS DIFFICULT.

>> HIS DRIVE AND DETERMINATION

TO MERGE THE GAP BETWEEN

ACTIVISM AND ART LEFT HIM WITH

A MAJOR ACCOLADE.

BEFORE HE COULD TAKE A LEGAL

DRINK.

HE WAS NOMINATED AS ONE OF

"TEEN VOGUE"'S "GLAD 20 UNDER

20," THE GROUP CONSISTS OF

INFLUENTIAL LGBTQ PEOPLE

TAKING ON THE WORLD OF MEDIA

AND ACTIVISM.

HE SAYS HE WAS SPEECHLESS,

KNOWING WHAT HAD GONE INTO

BECOMING ONE OF THE TOP

ACTIVISTS IN HIS AGE BRACKET.

>> IT'S BEEN OVERWHELMING TO

SEE MY NAME ON THE LIST BESIDE

SO MANY PEOPLE I ADMIRED AND

LOOKED UP TO.

I FELT A LOT OF LOVE AND

GRATITUDE FOR MY YOUNGER SELF.

>> HE SAYS HIS JOURNEY STARTED

ON A PLANE DURING A FLIGHT

FROM MONTREAL TO BURLINGTON,

HE WATCHED THE FILM "MY

PRAIRIE HOME."

BY THE TIME HE LANDED, A NEW

DECISION WAS GROUNDED.

HE WOULD USE FILM AND FAMILY

TO GIVE THE WORLD THE MOST

TRUE VERSION OF HIMSELF.

>> THE SCARY THING TO FACE A

REALITY ABOUT WHO YOU ARE CAN

BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF IS

SOMEONE WHO WILL HAVE A

DIFFICULT TIME LIVING IN THIS

WORLD.

>> HE SAYS THE SKY IS THE

LIMIT, AND THAT THE FIGHT

ISN'T JUST FOR HIM, BUT FOR

ALL THOSE FOLLOWING IN HIS

FOOTSTEPS.

>> I THINK THAT'S WHAT MAKES

MY LIFE MEANINGFUL, AND

THEREFORE THAT'S WHAT MAKES MY

LIFE HAPPY.

I THINK IF I WAS JUST HAPPY

WITHOUT GETTING INVOLVED WITH

ANY OF THOSE DIFFICULT

CONVERSATIONS OR THAT PHYSICAL

ORGANIZING WORK, I THINK IT

WOULD BE AN IGNORANT LIFE,

PERSONALLY.

>> ALEX IS SET TO GRADUATE

FROM UVM IN MAY OF 2021.

HE HOPES TO MOVE TO NEW YORK

CITY TO CONTINUE TO WORK ON

HIS FILM, AND CREATE A SAFE

AND ARTISTIC SPACE FOR MEMBERS

OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY.

KEVIN GEISS, CHANNEL 3 NEWS.

>> Darren: AND ALEX JOINS ME

NOW.

GOOD MORNING!

>> GOOD MORNING.

>> Darren: HOW DID "GLAD" AND

"TEEN VOGUE" EVEN LEARN ABOUT

YOU?

>> SO, I APPLIED TO "GLAD" AS

A CAMPUS AMBASSADOR.

SO I DO WORK FOR THEM.

I WRITE ARTICLES FOR THEM AND

COLLABORATE WITH "GLAD" TO

CREATE LGBTQ COLLUSIVE

ENVIRONMENTS 0 -- INCLUSIVE

ENVIRONMENTS ON UNIVERSITY OF

VERMONT.

THAT'S HOW THEY BECAME AWARE

OF MY WORK.

I WASN'T AWARE OF THIS AWARD,

BUT BY THE TIME THEY GOT TO

KNOW ME, AND THEY NOMINATED ME

FOR THE "20 UNDER 20" HONOR.

>> Darren: CONGRATULATIONS ON

THAT.

YOU HAVE GOT HIGH-PROFILE

COMPANY ON THE LIST, LIKE EMMA

GONZALEZ, SCHOOL SHOOTING

SURVIVOR, PUSHING FOR GUN

CONTROL, AND TRANS REALITY TV

STAR JAZZ JENNINGS.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE IN THIS

COMPANY?

>> IT'S INCREDIBLE AND

OVERWHELMING.

I MEAN, I REALLY LOOK UP TO

THESE PEOPLE, AND IT'S QUITE

HEARTWARMING, AND INSPIRING TO

SEE MYSELF STANDING BESIDE

THEM ON THIS LIST.

>> Darren: YOU TOLD KEVIN YOU

GOT INTO FILM MAKING BECAUSE

YOU LIVED IN A WORLD THAT

DIDN'T UNDERSTAND YOU.

WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?

>> WELL, I FOUND OUT WHEN IT

COMES TO REPRESENTATION AND

MEDIA OF ANY KIND OF

MARGINALIZED IDENTITY,S IT IS

OFTEN NOT LUM HUMANIZING OR

REALISTIC.

SO SPECIFICALLY WHEN IT COMES

TO MEDIA, I DIDN'T SEE MYSELF

REPRESENTED ON SCREEN.

AND OVERALL THERE ARE

MISCONCEPTIONS IN OUR SOCIETY

ABOUT TRANSGENDER PEOPLE AND

WHO THEY ARE AND ABOUT LGBTQ

FOLKS.

SO I GREW UP FEELING THAT I

WASN'T REALLY PART OF THE

WORLD AROUND ME.

IT TOOK EFFORT TO FIND

COMMUNITY.

BUT THE FACT THAT IT TOOK

EFFORT I THINK IS A PROBLEM.

SO I WOULD LIKE TO CREATE

SPACES THAT ARE EASIER FOR

PEOPLE TO IDENTIFY WITH

THEMSELVES AND FOUND

EMPOWERMENT AND COMFORT.

>> Darren: HOW DO YOU

IDENTIFY?

>> I IDENTIFY AS TRANSGENDER,

AND I IDENTIFY AS QUEER.

>> Darren: YOU PLAN TO

CONTINUE TO MAKE FILMS.

WILL THEY FOCUS STRICTLY ON

LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND ISSUES?

>> THAT IS WHAT I'M INTERESTED

IN.

THAT'S WHAT I AM PASSIONATE

ABOUT.

IT IS MY COMMUNITY AND

THEREFORE I WANT TO REPRESENT

MY COMMUNITY.

BECAUSE I FEEL THERE IS A LACK

OF AUTHENTIC REPRESENTATION IN

THE FILM INDUSTRY AND MEDIA.

THAT'S WHAT I CENTER MY WORK

AROUND, YES.

>> Darren: WE'VE SEEN BIGGER

BLOCKBUSTERS FEATURING COMING

OUT STORIES LIKE ""CALL ME BY

YOUR NAME.""

IS THE INDUSTRY MOVING IN THE

RIGHT DIRECTION, OR IS THERE

STILL A LONG WAY TO GO?

>> THERE IS CERTAINLY A LOT OF

PROGRESS, AND THERE IS A LOT

OF MOVEMENT WHEN IT COMES TO

EXAMPLES OF REPRESENTATION.

HOWEVER, I THINK WHAT WE

REALLY NEED TO WORK ON IS

GETTING LGBTQ FOLKS AND OTHER

MARNL NAL EYES -- MARGINALIZED

IDENTITIES BEHIND THE CAMERA

IN THE SCREENWRITERS ROOM,

PRODUCING THESE FILMS AND

WRITING STORIES ABOUT

THEMSELVES.

WE FIND IN A LOT OF THESE BIG

BLOCK BUSTERS THEY ARE CREATED

BY PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT IN THE

COMMUNITY, AND THEREFORE

DISPORT THE WAY THEY ARE

PORTRAYED.

SO I WANT TO HAVE

OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE THAT

ARE PRODUCING AND CREATING

THIS KIND OF FILM.

AND I THINK WE REALLY NEED TO

WORK ON THAT.

>> Darren: WHAT WILL YOU DO

WITH THIS NEWFOUND FAME?

>> I HOPE TO NETWORK AND MAKE

CONNECTIONS AND TO FIND

COLLABORATORS.

I AM EXCITED TO CONNECT

FURTHER WITH THE PEOPLE ON THE

LIST AND I LOOK FORWARD TO

WORKING ON THESE PROJECTS WITH

NEW PEOPLE, SO THAT'S REALLY

WHAT I AM HOPING FOR.

>> Darren: YOU ARE AN ACTIVIST

AS WELL.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST

PRESSING ISSUES FACING THE

LGBTQ COMMUNITY, PARTICULARLY

FOR YOUNG PEOPLE?

SOME MAY ARGUE WE'VE COME A

LONG WAY.

THERE'S GAY MARRIAGE, WE SEE

PRIDE CELEBRATIONS, ALL OVER

THE WORLD.

>> FOR YOUTH IN PARTICULAR,

THERE'S STILL AN ASSUMPTION

THAT YOUNG PEOPLE DON'T KNOW

WHO THEY ARE, OR ARE TOO YOUNG

TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

AND ALTHOUGH WE HAVE MADE A

LOT OF PROGRESS, I THINK WE

DEFINITELY LACK A LOT OF

INCLUSION IN OUR SOCIAL

ATMOSPHERE, SPECIFICALLY WITH

TRANSGENDER ISSUES.

THERE ARE STILL TONS OF LAWS

THAT BAR ACCESS TO TRANSGENDER

HEALTHCARE, PARTICULARLY FOR

TRANSGENDER YOUTH.

SO IT IS GREAT, IN A LOT OF

WAYS, SOCIALLY WE HAVEN'T

REACHED EQUITY WHEN IT COMES

TO COMMUNITY, INCLUDING ALSO

INTERSECTING IDENTITIES.

SO PEOPLE THAT ARE QUEER AND

MARGINALIZED IN OTHER WAYS

FACE DIFFERENT TYPES OF

OPPRESSION STILL.

DARE IT IS AN ELECTION YEAR.

ARE YOU BACKING ANY CANDIDATES

WHO MAY SEE THINGS FROM YOUR

PERSPECTIVE?

>> THAT'S A DIFFICULT

QUESTION.

ONE THAT I AM STILL REFLECTING

ON, BUT I WILL BE BACKING THE

CANDIDATES THAT I FEEL REFLECT

MY COMMUNITY AND REFLECT

EXPLICIT AND ACTIVE INTEREST

IN LGBTQ FOLKS AND OTHER

MARGINALIZED INDIVIDUALS.

I DON'T HAVE A CONCRETE ANSWER

YET.

I AM STILL RESEARCHING IT.

>> Darren: ALEX, THANK YOU SO

MUCH FOR JOINING US.

BE SAFE AND HEALTHY.

>> THANK YOU.

MUCH APPRECIATE IT.

>> Darren: THAT WILL DO IT FOR

US.

HAVE A GREAT DAY, EVERYBODY.

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