Rebuking Pearson

I would like to thank Kensington Moore and the Cynic staff for their in-depth reporting on my candidacy for the Vermont House of Representatives in the article “Ram to run for Vt. Statehouse.”I am writing to express my disappointment with the comment of Rep. Christopher Pearson in the article:”I would be curious to know what she thinks she brings to the table.” This statement does not sit well with me for a number of reasons.First, I certainly hope Rep. Pearson is not implying that college students or young people do not have much to bring much to the table.Young Vermonters face a unique set of challenges and bring a unique perspective to the table.The issues we confront as a state are great, and we must have all voices present to hammer out meaningful solutions. For example, more can be done to ensure and increase state funding for higher education so that Vermont’s youth are not priced out of an education, and I am up for that task.Second, I believe I have a lot to bring to the table from my work at UVM and in the Burlington community, and because of my passion for serving others.I already represent 9,500 people as the SGA President and have brought change on issues that are important to UVM students and all Vermonters. I serve on Mayor Kiss’ Environment and Energy Coordinating Committee and have piloted a program to reduce energy costs for families living in poverty in partnership with the local non-profit NeighborKeepers.I have spent two years researching environmental health issues in Vermont and their disproportionate impact on low-income communities and refugee populations.My culminating work, state environmental justice bill H. 463, is currently on the docket in the Vermont House of Representatives thanks to the support of Rep. Rachel Weston. In fact, Rep. Pearson has signed on to my legislation, so perhaps that could serve to remind him what I bring to the table. Lastly, there are plenty of other political leaders in the state who do recognize what I bring to the table.It is exciting to be in a state where members of the Democratic Party have noticed my passion for making change and engagement in public service, and would invite me, regardless of my age and in some ways because of it, to join them in the Statehouse.Perhaps Rep. Pearson has yet to see what I offer to Vermonters, but there are already many students and citizens who are willing to stand with me to see that the voices of young people are heard in Montpelier.So, to Rep. Pearson, I would respond: I want to empower students and young people to recognize the rich opportunities that exist and the important work that must be done in this wonderful state.I intend to bring voice and opportunity to all of Vermont’s next generation. We deserve a seat at thetable. Respectfully,Kesha RamSGA President andDistrict 3-4 House Candidate