A tribute to Koch
This letter is written to pay tribute to Tom Koch for his over two decades of outstanding legislative service. Koch felt that an important highlight of his career was co-chairing with Sen. Jim Leddy a commission relating to substance abuse. The title of the 2001 commission report was “The Elephant in Vermont’s Living Room: The Impact of Substance on the State Budget.”
Some of the findings of the commission included that substance abuse dollars were not being spent wisely and the system for delivering services lacked measures for prevention programs and treatment.
At a recent bill signing ceremony Gov. Shumlin asked Koch to say a few words about the precious metals bill for which he worked so hard. Koch said, “The new regulations which I helped pass should help curb burglaries perpetuated by addicts. They break into homes, steal jewelry, steal silverware, and they take it to a dealer and the dealer can send it out of state and have it melted down within 24 hours and somebody’s family heirloom is gone forever. Overall what the bill really attempts to do is to reduce the benefits that people can get by committing burglaries.”
Koch always spoke with great clarity on the important issues during the time in which he served. His work on substance abuse was most important because it affected the security of our homes in our state and nation. One of the greatest tributes to Tom Koch was Shap Smith, speaker of the House of Representatives, giving Koch an opportunity to preside over the House chamber.
The writer is a state senator representing Washington County.
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