Thank you for visiting my website.  You may subscribe to postings using the "Follow by Email" app at the far right.  You can email me using the  "Contact Info" link in the Site Map to the right of this column.  I welcome your input.

Note: Blog posts entitled "Legislative Report" have been published in The Charlotte News, and those entitled "The Word in the House" have been published in The Citizen.

Rally for Universal Background Checks - Montpelier, VT 8/4/2016

Happy Labor Day!

Today we celebrate all American workers and the Labor Movement that has achieved the greatest standard of living in the world.  The labor movement grew over the past century largely as a result of immigrant workers who fought for a living wage and safer working conditions.  They could not have accomplished their goals without banding together in labor unions and presenting a solid front to those who controlled the economy.

The Labor Movement brought us the minimum wage, a 40 hour work week, social security, paid vacation and sick time, and, by working with management, employer-sponsored health insurance. During WW II workers and industry stepped up together to accomplish a miracle which saved the world from totalitarianism, and afterword to build a society that rivals all others.

The Democratic Party continues to stand with Labor to build on the progress of the past which has been eroded over time.  The federal minimum wage of $7.50/hour is no longer adequate to support a family with both parents working 40 hours per week. While Vermont's minimum wage ($10.50/hour) is substantially better, it is still not a living wage.  Employer-sponsored health insurance still plays an important part in our economy, but is not universal.  The Affordable Care Act has extended health care insurance to 90% of Americans, but Vermont Health Connect has had major problems that still must be fixed. And as a result of years of effort, Vermont now requires employers to provide earned sick leave to all employees working more than 18 hours per week.

These are key family values that are essential for a healthy society.  I will continue to support these values in my work as a State Legislator.  I wish everyone a happy Labor Day.

Mike Yantachka and Bob Hooper speak with Jim Dean, Director of Democracy for America in South Burlington.

The Chittenden County Democrats Show on August 1st had the privilege of speaking with Democracy For America (DFA) Director Jim Dean about the Presidential election and the efforts of DFA to elect progressive candidates in November.  DFA endorsed Bernie Sanders for President, even though its founder, Gov. Howard Dean, endorsed Hillary Clinton in the primary elections.  Jim Dean gave viewers some insight into DFA efforts to support candidates nationwide going forward. Watch the show below, and mark your calendar for the next 2 shows which will take place on September 29th and October 3rd featuring the Democratic candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor, Sue Minter and David Zuckerman, respectively.

I'm with Hillary! Thank you, Bernie Sanders!

I hope my #BernieOrBust friends tuned into the Republican convention last week and are comparing it to the Democratic convention this week. There are 4 roads into the future of America from here. One is to continue to insist that Bernie is the only candidate that deserves your vote. This is a dead end, because such idealism, while feeling good personally, is not based in the real world. 
Another is to vote for a fringe candidate like Jill Stein. Another dead end because it has no hope of success. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 because I felt Jimmy Carter let us down. Anderson got 7% of the vote and Ronald Reagan became President. I learned my lesson then. 
 A third road is to vote for con-man, charlatan Donald Trump. If you supported Bernie for his policies, then voting for Trump is equivalent to deliberately driving off a cliff! 
 The fourth and best road is to elect Hillary Clinton President because she will fight for the same goals as Bernie. She is our only hope of accomplishing what Bernie fought for - a living wage, a fair tax system that requires the wealthiest people to pay their fair share, a health care system that is a human right, a program to effectively address climate change, respect for all people regardless of color, gender, sexual orientation, religion or heritage, protecting Social Security, access to higher education without overwhelming debt, reversing the Citizens United decision, reasonable gun safety regulations, and security without forfeiting our constitutional rights. 
Bernie paid a "yuge" role in making sure these issues will be priorities in a Clinton administration.  His unprecedented success in mobilizing popular support for the issues focused all Democrats on what is immensely important in this year's election. We owe him an enormous debt and our thanks for all of his past service, a great campaign, and the work he will continue to do for us in the Senate.

House Speaker and Lieutenant Governor Candidate Shap Smith Interview.

The Chittenden County Democrats Show conducted the third of the Lieutenant Governor candidate interviews with House Speaker Shap Smith in July.  The show is hosted monthly by Charlotte State Representative Mike Yantachka and Chittenden County Democratic Treasurer Bob Hooper.  Smith discussed his role as Speaker of the House and the goals he would pursue as Lt. Governor if elected. Smith served 14 years in the Vermont House of Representatives and as Speaker for the last 8 years. The interview can be seen here.

The other two Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor, Rep. Kesha Ram and Sen. David Zuckerman, were interviewed earlier in the year. The interview with Ram can be seen at http://www.mikeyantachka.com/2016/03/as-we-did-with-democratic-candidates.html, and the interview with Zuckerman can be seen at http://www.mikeyantachka.com/2016/06/lt-gov-candidate-david-zuckerman.html.

Building Homes Together Seeks More Affordable Housing

Brenda Torpy, chief executive officer of Champlain Housing Trust, answers questions from reporters at Monday’s announcement.  - Photo by Alicia Freese/Seven Days

A group of housing advocates, elected officials, developers and other local leaders are banding together to get 3,500 homes built in Chittenden County over the next five years.
[Read more]