Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is honoring state Rep. Tom Stevens, D-Waterbury, for his work to raise the state’s minimum wage and establish a paid family leave system in Vermont.

Rep. Tom Stevens

Rep. Tom Stevens

The business association has close to 700 members who advocate policies that support workers, communities and the environment.

Stevens will receive the ‘Legislator of the Year’ award at the association’s legislative breakfast and annual meeting today, Dec. 6, at Main Street Landing in Burlington

“Rep. Stevens helped shepherd these two bills through the House,” said Jane Campbell, executive director of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. “He presented detailed and data-driven arguments for both these bills while also outlining why the Legislature needed to take these actions — to improve the lives of working Vermonters and help support sustainable business practices.”

Stevens, vice chair of the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, worked with the business association and other organizations to craft bills that would improve the lives of working Vermonters and recognize the economic constraints of small businesses in Vermont. The two bills, S.40 (increasing the minimum wage) and H.196 (establishing a paid family leave system), were ultimately vetoed by the governor.

“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” Stevens said. “I appreciate — and am not surprised — that the businesses that belong to (Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility) support family-friendly policies like minimum wage and paid family leave.

“The work we do to lift the economic boats for those left behind, and for developing a policy like paid family leave that promises to relieve some of the stress when caring for children and elder parents, reflects the beliefs we hold when we work to provide the tools for small businesses to help make Vermont a place that works for all of us.”

Stevens, elected to the Vermont House in 2008, quickly made a reputation for himself as a thoughtful and savvy legislator who brings an artistic and literary flair to policy debates and proceedings. Stevens was co-chair of the Vermont Liquor Control System Modernization Study Committee and served on the Merger Committee for Liquor and Lottery. He is also president of the board of trustees of Downstreet Housing and Community Development. Stevens lives in Waterbury with his wife, Liz Schlegel.

“Tom Stevens represents me both as a resident of Waterbury and as a Vermont business owner. I applaud his commitment to using the power of government and business to help everyday Vermonters,” said Duane Peterson, co-president of SunCommon and a member of the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility board of directors. “Providing them with decent wages and time to spend with their families are policies that my representative will bring about, evidence of his vision for a caring society.”

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