Peter’s Stand on the Issues
Agriculture is at the heart of Vermont’s culture and economy. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chair of the Rural Development Subcommittee, Peter is working to advance legislation to support local, healthy, sustainably-grown food and help rural communities for generations to come.
Dairy farms that have been in families for generations are being threatened by rising supply costs and unenforced dairy standards. Peter has introduced legislation to enforce dairy standards that Vermont farmers follow, increase access to international markets, establish a supply management program for dairy farmers, and more.
Protecting the planet is also a core value for Vermonters, which is why Peter supports legislation to transition to a cleaner and greener agricultural industry. He supports programs that make energy efficiency upgrades, electrification, and renewable energy infrastructure more accessible to rural farmers and other businesses. Peter is also working to ensure the preservation of agricultural land and promote sustainable agricultural practices that treat animals and the environment with respect.
Peter is also working to protect organic products, which are crucial for many Vermont farms. He’s fighting for more organic research funding, stronger national organic standards, and better protections for organic producers.
Vermont farmers are proud that their products are fed to students, and Peter is working to expand nutrition programs that prioritize products from local farmers in our schools. He’s supported the expansion of SNAP benefits, co-led legislation to increase access to local produce in schools, and is working to reduce applicant barriers to regional food system programs like farmers markets and roadside stands.
Building an Economy for All
He supports more than doubling the federal minimum wage to $17/hour to help more folks make ends meet. He also cosponsored the PRO Act to protect the right to unionize and stop predatory behavior from companies trying to hinder workplace organizing.
Peter is working to end disparities in the workplace. The U.S. is one of the few developed countries in the world not to guarantee paid leave, which disproportionately impacts women. Peter supported legislation to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all workers. He also supported the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap and ensure equal pay for equal work.
By working together, we can create more good-paying jobs that also help us meet our climate goals. Peter supports a Green New Deal, which would create millions of new jobs in America by investing in green industries. He also helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which will bring millions of dollars and jobs to Vermont for major climate projects.
Small businesses are at the heart of Vermont’s communities. Peter has been a champion for small businesses, including co-leading the Credit Card Competition Act, legislation to lower costs for merchants and enhance competition in the credit card market. Peter also supports measures to boost energy efficiency for small businesses, invest in workforce training, and help small businesses avoid taking on more debt.
Too many families are forced to make tough choices about their finances. That’s why Peter supports the Working Families Tax Relief Act to cut taxes for working families and end child poverty in Vermont. While providing tax relief, he’s working to lower costs for hardworking folks by cracking down on junk fees, fighting for cheaper prescription drug prices, and lowering energy bills.
Criminal Justice Reform and Civil Rights
Peter first entered public service when he left school to organize against housing discrimination in Chicago. There, he witnessed discrimination against Black families who were trying to buy their own homes. After law school, Peter continued his advocacy by returning to Vermont to practice law as a public defender. In the Senate, Peter is working to close disparities rooted in systemic bias, keep our communities safe, and protect vulnerable populations to ensure everyone is treated equally under the law.
Peter has long been a proponent of LGBTQ+ rights. He supported marriage equality in Vermont and the Equality Act to prohibit discrimination nationally. He’s also cosponsored legislation to ensure religious beliefs can’t be used to discriminate against others.
As a former public defender, Peter understands how our justice system sometimes fails to deliver justice. He supports comprehensive reforms to improve our criminal justice system, including legislation to lower recidivism rates, overhaul racially-biased sentencing, and increase police accountability and oversight.
To keep our communities safer, Peter supports commonsense steps to reduce gun violence. He voted for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first meaningful gun safety reform in decades. He also supports banning assault weapons, expanding background checks, and closing the gun show loophole.
Peter is advocating for comprehensive immigration reform to create an orderly immigration system that treats migrants and refugees with the dignity and respect to which they are entitled. He’s voted for legislation to modernize the H-2A visa program and provide migrant farmworkers and their families with a path to legal status and citizenship. He’s also supported legislation to protect the rights of those detained at the border and to ensure that federal funding is directed toward community-based programs that meet humanitarian standards.
Our democracy is in peril. Voting rights are under attack, dark money is distorting our political system, and the Supreme Court is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis of its own making. Peter is working diligently to protect the pillars of American democracy and preserve the rule of law.
The ballot box keeps elected officials responsive and accountable to the public. But across the country, states have chipped away at this bulwark of American democracy and restricted the right to vote, particularly for voters of color. Peter has consistently supported legislation to safeguard and expand voting rights so that all Americans can weigh in on the issues of the day, including introducing legislation to restore voting rights in federal elections to currently incarcerated Americans.
The Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United unleashed a flood of untraceable, corporate money into American politics. Peter is working to limit the influence of money in elections and put power back in the hands of the American people. He cosponsored legislation clarifying corporations don’t have constitutional rights and money is not considered a form of free speech. He’s also a leading advocate for increased transparency in our political system.
In recent terms, the Supreme Court has overstepped its constitutional bounds and attempted to elevate itself above America’s elected branches of government. Peter is working to hold the Supreme Court accountable for the legitimacy crisis it has created. He supports legislation to restore the fundamental rights that the Court recently stripped away and to ensure the highest court does not have the lowest ethical standards in American government.
The rising cost of child care has become a crushing burden for too many working families. Peter supports legislation to create a universal child care system to ensure every family has access to high-quality, affordable child care. He also supports appropriately compensating essential early childhood educators so the profession can continue to attract talented, passionate education providers.
Peter is working to increase funding for schools and support for teachers who educate the next generation. He consistently supports legislation that will get more money to schools that need it. He’s also working to expand access to student loan forgiveness for America’s teachers and supports legislation which would set a $60,000 minimum annual salary for teachers.
The cost of college has become a significant barrier for students. For those who can attend, too many are graduating with mountains of debt. Peter is working to provide relief now for borrowers who need it while also addressing the root causes of the high cost of secondary education. He’s called on the Biden Administration to cancel up to $50,000 in student loans and has advocated for student loan forgiveness for college graduates employed in public service jobs such as public defenders, social workers, and teachers. He supports waiving tuition and fees for every community college student and qualifying students at public colleges and universities and expanding the Pell Grant program that provides low-income students with grants to attend college. He leads legislation in the Senate to eliminate existing student loan interest for borrowers and reduce interest for future borrowers.
Peter is an unequivocal proponent of the Jewish, democratic State of Israel, as well as the human rights of the Palestinian people. He has been an outspoken advocate for fulfilling the promise of a two-state solution.
Protecting the rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions abroad aligns with America’s values and serve U.S. national security interests. Peter has been a vocal advocate for fortifying democracy abroad, including by promoting free and fair elections in Latin America and supporting regional stability in the Western Balkans.
The use of American military force is a solemn decision. That’s why Peter has voted to restrict the unlimited use of military force, cosponsored legislation to limit the use of federal funds to conduct a nuclear strike, and was a vocal opponent of the Iraq War. Peter continues to use his role as a U.S. Senator to advocate for a limited use of military force by the U.S. government.
Peter supports U.S. contributions to the international effort to support Ukraine’s fight against aggressive and illegal Russian actions, along with appropriate oversight of the use of taxpayer funds to support this mission.
Peter is grounded in Vermont values of protecting human and civil rights, supporting refugees, and advocating for stronger human and civil rights protections abroad. He’s urged the State Department to make more assertive efforts to halt de facto annexations in the West Bank, condemned the Iranian government’s persecution of the Bahai’i minority, and cosponsored legislation to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world.
Peter is taking on Big Pharma to lower the cost of prescription drugs. He has long championed giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices—authority that was finally included in the Inflation Reduction Act. He has also introduced legislation to penalize price gouging, increase transparency in the fees pharmacy benefit managers charge, and make insulin affordable for all Americans.
With the Supreme Court overturning Roe, Peter has consistently supported legislation to protect and expand the right to abortion. He cosponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would create federal protections for abortion. He also supports fully funding Planned Parenthood and has fought to ensure veterans can access reproductive care regardless of where they live.
The overdose crisis has impacted every corner of the country, and Vermont communities have been hit particularly hard. Peter has been working with and listening to frontline providers on what resources they need to combat the overdose crisis. He supports legislation to expand access to substance use disorder treatment and recovery support and has advocated for expanded access to life-saving recovery medication. He also supports making federal investments in harm reduction and increased treatment strategies that have proven to work in Vermont. When a successful medication-assisted treatment program ran out of funding, Peter successfully advocated for over a million dollars to resume and expand the program to help Vermonters.
Our health care system benefits corporations at a cost to patients. That’s why Peter supports Medicare for All, which would create a national health system to focus on patient health outcomes rather than corporate bottom lines.
Protecting Our Planet
Peter has worked both in the Vermont statehouse and in the Capitol to combat the existential threat of climate change. He supports a Green New Deal to transform our economy by adding thousands of green jobs and investing in new technologies that will protect the planet. He’s also working to streamline the permitting process to get renewable energy projects approved, built, and connected to the grid faster. He also believes that local communities must have the opportunities to engage in energy projects earlier in the planning process, particularly communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.
Peter is a leader in the Senate to improve energy efficiency in America. He’s proposed legislation to require increased efficiency standards from electric and natural gas utilities, and successfully passed measures that created a new program to give grants to homeowners for energy efficiency projects, lowering household costs and emissions at the same time.
In the House, Peter was proud to influence, support, and vote for the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate investment in our nation’s history. Now he’s working to ensure the law is implemented to help working families and the planet as quickly as possible.
Peter has made it a priority to work with the small family farmers at the heart of our state’s economy. He’s introduced legislation to enforce dairy and organic standards, is working to expand nutrition programs that feed Vermont’s students with local produce and has advocated for greater investment in rural energy efficiency upgrades on rural farms.
You’re not connected to the world if you’re not connected to the internet, that’s why Peter has been working to get affordable broadband to every last home at the end of every dirt road in Vermont. He’s introduced legislation to expand access to broadband and worked to ensure that federal dollars are translated into physical projects on the ground.
For folks in rural areas, the nearest doctor can be miles away, and specialists even further. Peter is working to protect and expand access to telehealth—a critical tool for rural Vermonters. He supports making COVID-era telehealth protections permanent so more folks in rural areas can connect to their providers.
Peter is working on rural renewable energy and energy efficiency legislation to bring down energy costs for working families. He’s successfully passed legislation to make it cheaper to get energy efficiency upgrades in rural homes, lowering monthly energy bills while also bringing down emissions.
Peter supported and voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, two landmark laws that will bring clean energy investments and green jobs to every corner of Vermont, generating economic growth for rural communities.
Supporting Servicemembers and Veterans
America is protected at home and abroad by the strongest military in the world. Brave servicemembers from every corner of our country and every type of community put their own lives on the line to keep us safe. America celebrates them for their service, but too often they don’t receive the support they need when they return home. Peter is a leading advocate in Congress to hold up our end of the bargain and ensure veterans get the care and resources they deserve.
When veterans in Vermont got sick from being stationed near burn pits overseas, Peter helped lead the passage of the landmark PACT Act, the most significant expansion of benefits and services for veterans exposed to toxic substances in more than 30 years. Recently, he introduced bipartisan bills to decrease toxic exposure among veterans, educate veterans about burn pit exposure, improve data collection on veterans affected by toxic exposure, and ease accessibility of PACT Act benefits for veterans who served in Kosovo. His legislation directing DOD to explore alternatives to burn pits was included in the Senate-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Peter advocates for robust funding for veterans’ health care and health research, housing, supportive services, and programs benefitting veterans in rural areas. He helped introduce legislation to ensure all veterans, including National Guard and Reserve servicemembers, have access to medical care through Veterans Affairs, regardless of income. And for veterans in rural areas like much of Vermont, Peter has introduced legislation to increase reimbursement rates for the cost of driving to medical appointments. He’s also called for more funding to programs that benefit rural veterans.
Too many veterans struggle with mental health challenges and homelessness. That’s why Peter has called for more funding to house veterans and supported the creation of the new and expanded 988 Suicide Crisis Line.
In light of increased abortion restrictions in states around the country, Peter has also been working to ensure servicemembers and their families can access abortion and fertility care wherever they are stationed.