Rutland Teacher Praises Mayor and Young Professionals as Leaders

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Matt Seager, 32, was born and raised in Vermont. He lives in Rutland, and he is a teacher.

When asked if he thinks the community of Rutland is strong, Seager said, “I feel that  it’s got a bad rap with the drugs and with crime. There’s a report that came out that had Rutland as the most dangerous place in Vermont, which I can tell you is just, I don’t believe it at all. You know I think that there aren’t many cities in Vermont so Rutland…it has it’s share of problems, but you look at the population, you look at the city…it’s really a pretty good place.”

When asked what could be done to make Rutland stronger, Seager said, “I really don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of good things going on with the young professionals, some of my friends are involved with that. I think there’s a lot of good efforts involved a lot of awareness and you’re kind of seeing some of these things play out that are happening not only in New England but you know I lived in the Midwest not too long ago and the same thing’s happening out there but it’s sort of that bucolic type image of Vermont that’s attracting attention. I think there’s a lot of good things going on. Pine Hill Park has a lot of good stuff going. I think for a place this size there’s a lot going on in a positive way.”

When asked if he likes living in Vermont, Seager said yes. “For anyone that enjoys four seasons, it’s got a lot to offer. You gotta find something to do during the winter, but generally speaking I mean and you know I’ve lived overseas and whatnot, I really think Vermont’s a great place, I used to say a great place to be from, but now as I come back a little older you know you appreciate it more and more when you do come back just the scenery and the people.”

When asked if there is anything the media isn’t covering that should be covered, Seager said, “I could offer more about what I think shouldn’t be covered or sensationalized. I think that you know a lot of that sensationalization is attracting negative attention. What I think you’re seeing with the police there’s a lot more awareness that way. I think that Vermont is a very progressive place and I think that’s a good thing. I think more focus on that. And there has been some about different treatment options that are going on here and sometimes it gets spun into a negative type thing when actually it’s a pretty positive thing. A lot of other places around the country are keeping an eye on Vermont to see how these things play out. And to spin that in a positive way is an option for the media. I think that would be a good thing. I think a lot of the problems are not necessarily Vermont problems but they’ve been spun that way. You know there’s a big out of state element that has come through that’s a big part of the problem and I think that a alot of the focus has just been on the local addiction issue which you know is a part of the problem but certainly not the entire thing.”

When asked if the average five year move rate and the practice of high school students leaving home for college has the effect of ripping communities apart, Seager said, “No not at all. I’m a pretty good example of that really. I left home at 16 and went to boarding school in Connecticut. I went to Spain for a couple years after that. I’ve lived down south, I’ve lived in the Midwest and I’m back. I think it actually gives the people who do leave and come back a deeper appreciation for where they grew up and where they’re from. It can be a little limiting; you get that with any small town environment, but it’s great to have people come back with new ideas and new experiences and all that comes with moving away.”

When asked who he saw as leaders in Vermont Seager said, “You know I’m really not as up as I should be on the politics in Vermont. I think the mayor Chris Lauras has done a very good job. I consider him a leader. I consider some of the local young professionals around here leaders. In particular Kate Richards and Jim Sabataso, Matt Bloomer…those people are all, you know they lead by example and they dedicate their time and their talents to helping the local community and especially the young people to find their way.

When asked if he thought elementary school students should learn how to grow food in a hands-on environment, Seager said, “No not necessarily. I think it’s nice. I think that, you know I tutor some local kids with some remedial math and English. I think that those extra programs are certainly good and useful. I’m not sure if the elementary school level is the time to be introducing that, but I like the idea of new programs and progressive ideas like that.”

When asked if he thought human instincts are as complex as other animals, Seager said, “I believe that they are more complex.”

When asked if he thought emotions are instincts, Seager said, “I think that they influence our instincts.”

When asked if he supports legislation that would make it illegal to charge women more than men for the same goods and services, Seager said, “Yes I absolutely do.”

When asked if he would support legislation that would raise the age you could buy cigarettes by one year each year until there was no longer anyone who was old enough to buy cigarettes in Vermont, Seager said, “No I would not.”

When asked if he believes courting rituals are dead or if they are still alive and healthy, Seager said, “I believe that they are still alive and healthy.”

Seager is on Facebook, but he’s not interested in networking with fellow Vermonters.

When asked if he thinks our instincts are more to be selfish or good, Seager said, “To be good people”

Seager does support legalizing pot in Vermont.

When asked what he does for hobbies and recreation, Seager said, “I travel. I do a lot of back-packing. I play sports. I play golf and hockey and skiing.”

When asked if he thinks we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together, Seager said, “No I think that’s an important piece to survival certainly. I think you have to address some of these things at the government level the administrative level to sort some of that stuff out. I see the distinction, but I think that they go hand in hand.”

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