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Vermont has an aging population and a shrinking workforce, meaning too many Vermonters are caught in a burdensome middle – caring for aging parents and young children at the same time. As Vermonters we care for each other, but that shouldn’t mean giving up a paycheck.

This issue is personal to me. Years ago, while serving as an Assistant Attorney General and teaching night classes at Vermont Law School to make ends meet, a member of my family was hospitalized. I was working to pay my rent and student loan debt, and just barely getting by. After using up my limited accrued leave, I found myself potentially confronted with an impossible decision: take unpaid leave to care for a loved one, or pay the bills.

As Lieutenant Governor, I’ve seen the impact of unpaid caregiving on our communities.

Nationally, the number of unpaid caregivers has increased more than 20% since 2015. As a disproportionately elderly state, the caregiving struggle is particularly acute in Vermont. To recover stronger from this pandemic, we need to build stronger safety nets for working families. Our local economy, families, and businesses thrive when workers can remain employed through a health crisis or parental leave. 

In Congress, I’ll keep working to deliver real solutions for Vermont families, including:

  • A national Paid Family and Medical Leave program, like the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act.
  • Affordable, quality child care for every American – no family should spend more than seven percent of their income on quality child care.
  • An extension of the Child Tax Credit, which was a lifeline to working families during the pandemic.
  • Investment to shorten waiting lists for in-home elder care services and improve pay for in-home care professionals.

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