Conference Wrap Up


Public Assets Institute Executive Director Paul Cillo kicked off “Facts to Action” with a lucid presentation explaining how the recession hits with a double whammy: more people in need, and a government less able to help them. He showed how the downturn comes on top of decades-long economic trends and policies that undermine the state’s ability to create sustainable prosperity for all Vermonters and that threaten the government’s resiliency in responding to crises. He called for a balanced approach that includes new revenues to address this crisis and for a thorough study of the long-term economic forces that are pushing the state budget into deficit.

Throughout the day—spurred by keynote speaker Debbie Stein, of the Washington-based communications consulting firm the Hatcher Group—participants crafted coalition-building strategies and messages to move a wide range of Vermonters, from business to government to nonprofits to individuals, high to low income, progressive to conservative.

Evaluations of the conference—jointly sponsored by Public Assets Institute and Voices for Vermont’s Children—were enthusiastic. “Really good presenters – diversity was great!” said one attendee. Another expressed awe that economic data could be so stimulating: “Surprisingly interesting!