Tag Archives: Phil Scott

Get Moving on Vote by Mail!

Just as we were beginning to think Republican Governor Phil Scott deserved a lot of credit for his responsible handling of the Covid-19 crisis, he threatens to undo that goodwill by dragging his feet on Vote-By-Mail.

Secy. of State, Jim Condos has set forward a timely plan that would ensure all qualified Vermonters will have the opportunity to make their voice heard in the November election, but the Governor wants to postpone a decision as to whether or not to go ahead with the plan, until August. 

That would give the state barely three months to develop the protocols, notify counties of guidelines, distribute ballots, inform voters about the procedures, allow for the necessary learning curve to address unanticipated problems, receive and process returned ballots for counting, and present a conclusion scenario in which voters may have full confidence.

That’s a very tall order, and failure on any of these measures would mean utter chaos and bitter divisions at the worst possible time in our history.

Condos has said the governor must approve the plan in the coming days to give the Secretary of State’s Office enough time to set up the infrastructure needed to strengthen the early and absentee ballot apparatus.

…And what exactly does the Governor think will happen between now and August to obviate the need for distance voting?  Does he buy Donald Trump’s narrative that COVID-19 will somehow magically “go away” by then?  I give him credit for much more common sense than that.  At best we might have a brief respite before the next wave, but not only is there the responsibility to ensure that voters are kept safe, concern by voters, themselves, for their safety could in itself suppress participation.

True, it would probably be easier on his Republican cred right now to delay, delay, delay in the hope that somehow he will be spared this difficult decision; but he knows full well that what is required of any political leader in a time of crisis is a profile in courage, not party loyalty.

The Republican Party has developed a reputation for attempts at voter suppression. At this critical juncture, Governor Scott would do well to avoid that appearance, himself.

Thanks, But No Thanks.

Apparently Vermont is one of the nine states getting the “all clear” from Il Duce Don to end social distancing and resume business as usual by May 1.  It is unsurprising that he cares little for the lives of vulnerable people in the state least likely to support him in the upcoming election.

He might just as well say, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” because he’s made it very clear that he believes voter suppression is the only way that Republicans retain power.

Let me be among the first Vermont seniors to say, “No thanks, Mr. President.”  We don’t want to be the canary in your coal mine.

I give Phil Scott credit for a little more common sense than to follow his party’s nominal leader right off the Coronavirus cliff, but I think we should all make ourselves perfectly clear, nonetheless.

I propose that all the vulnerable people who have been endangered by Trump’s self-dealing and deliberate ignorance in the face of the pandemic begin to come together to develop a massive class action lawsuit against him, to launch the day after Joe Biden is inaugurated as President.  No doubt, it will be only one of many awaiting him on that blessed day.

Who cares whether any lawsuit succeeds in the long run!  The idea is to hound him and his family of horrors for the remainder of their days, just as surely as they have darkened ours.

Tayt Brooks finds a job

Guess who’s getting his hands on the cookie jar?

Governor Elect Phil Scott announced a number of appointments today, but the one that really piqued my interest was that of St. Albans’ own Tayt Brooks who will serve as “director of affordability and and economic initiatives.”

As you may recall, Brooks occupied space in the Douglas administration as “economic development commissioner.” It sounds pretty much like his old job has simply been rebranded to protect the innocent.

It’s an interesting position for Brooks who formed his own superPAC, Vermonters First,?and famously coaxed Leonore Broughton into parting with north of $100,000. in 2012, laboring and bringing forth a goose egg for Republicans in statewide elections…other than that of incumbent Lt. Gov., Phil Scott.

As director of that superPAC, Brooks got himself into hot water over having dinner with gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock during the 2012 campaign. ?That’s strictly a no-no, as it has the optics of coordination between the campaign and the supposedly “independent” superPAC. Of course we believed that the topic of the election campaign was never even mentioned!

In that same election cycle, Vermonters First sent Franklin County voters an absentee ballot request to complete that resembled an actual ballot and apparently confused many voters.

As I recall, the activities of the superPAC belied the notion of anything that could remotely be considered“coordinated”…or even?competent!

One ham handed-flyer distributed by VF-PAC was so garish and badly designed that we at GMD speculated that Brooks had amateurishly designed it himself on his own computer, so that less of Ms. Broughton’s dough went out the door. Would that was all! The flyer also featured the Seal of the State of Vermont. On campaign literature, that is also a big “no-no,” and even caught national attention.

Leonore was at it again in the 2016 cycle, even though Vermonters First appears to have evaporated. The entire superPAC depended upon one donor, and I suspect she figured she could do just as well (or poorly) without Brooks ministrations. ?At least she bagged herself a governor this go-round.

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I plan to put the office of “affordability and economic iniitatives” on speed-dial at my house.

There are a whole lot of affordability challenges that Mr. Brooks ought to be tackling, like telephone, cable and internet service; prescription drugs, textbooks…and fresh fruits and vegetables! The list goes on and on.

Somehow I suspect Mr. Brooks attention will not be devoted to making ordinary Vermonters’ lives more affordable; the ones who are just struggling to get by. ?It’s pretty easy to guess that this office will have its laser focus on making business (and I don’t mean Mom & Pop operations) more “affordable.” That’s where the “incentives” come in. We’re not talking free in-state tuition for students who commit to living and working here after college graduation. We’re talking tax cuts, custom infrastructure and other goodies for the likes of IBM.

I suppose Brooks was bound to get office space from Scott. ?Hopefully, the governor?won’t??allow him to play with scissors.

 

Two newspapers for Sue Minter

Two of Vermont’s statewide newspapers just endorsed Democrat Sue Minter for Governor – over competitors Republican Phil Scott and “Spaceman” Bill Lee of the Liberty Union Party. The Burlington Free Press and The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus/Rutland Herald (Phil Scott’s hometown paper and its sister publication in the Republican enclave of Rutland) came down solidly for Minter to be elected as Vermont’s next governor.

debatetafreepAlright, I know, I know conventional wisdom is that newspaper endorsements don’t carry much weight, but in an election as close this one is, two solid thumbs up from two newspapers in the final days before Election Day sure can’t hurt.

Both papers praise Minter’s “well articulated agenda” and her considerable hands-on experience in the legislative and executive branches?–?her full-time, every-day job. Her public-service history makes a notable contrast to Scott’s years as part-time Lt. Gov. Scott. In that capacity he had enough spare time to “work” at other people’s jobs as a publicity stunt on a regular basis.

The Democratic nominee offers a vision for an activist administration that harnesses the power of government to tackle the big jobs, such as rebuilding the state’s highways and bridges.

Minter presents a policy portfolio built on the principle of investing in Vermont and Vermonters, from a plan to offer two years of college tuition-free, to help for parents who need childcare while attending classes, to expanded early childhood education.? ?–?From the Free Press

?And in no uncertain terms The Times Argus assures voters they believe Minter doesn’t play politics, “… she does government.”?Minter, the editorial boards say, has the capability to oversee an affordable to-do list that will manage to move Vermont forward at the same time.

In closing their endorsement of Sue Minter, the Free Press says:? A too-narrow focus on controlling increases in the state budget today without clear, explicit priorities about where and how Montpelier should spend money amounts to inaction. This is no time for Vermont to stand still.

Significantly, both papers agree budget and tax priorities will be the greatest challenge for the next governor, a signature issue for Scott and the VTGOP .Yet they favor Minter’s approach to address these concerns and move forward.

The Times Argus graciously says Vermont would not be “steered wrong” under a Scott administration, and I guess that might be so. But do we really want progress, or do we want another GOP governor to drive us around and around their circular track, waving scissors at any ribbon-cutting, like Jim Douglas did?

And from the department of hmm….?

‘Meant to pass this along earlier, but it slipped my mind.

On or around May 5, some Vermonters like me received a robo-call ‘survey’ paid for by Phil Scott for Governor, or some similarly named group. Only I got the call four times in a row within less than an hour. ?I wrote a few word about the anomaly on Green Mountain Daily and gave it no more thought.

I welcomed the opportunity to triple whammy the GOP guesstimator, but others may have been less amused by the calls.

A few days ago, I received a phone call from an attorney in Chicago, who?asked if I had given my consent anywhere to being contacted by the Vermont GOP, and I told him that I had not.

Somehow, he had gotten wind of my blogpost and was investigating the possibility that the Scott campaign had violated campaign regulations.

I couldn’t provide him with much information beyond what I had already written, but I promised to direct anyone else who received the call(s) to contact his firm. ?So I am passing the information along to our GMD readers/writers to use as they see fit.

It might just be a tempest in a teapot, based on my imperfect memory of how the survey was introduced or framed; or it might have something to do with the number of iterations…I have no idea.

BP checked and the law firm appears to engage in?ambulance-chasing excursions, so we doubt the veracity of the attorney’s assertion as to who told him to contact me (unnamed in this post.) ?I have therefore also removed his contact information from the post.?

 

 

 

 

RRR: Republican Robo Redundancy

Tonight around 7:00 PM, when most households??could?be expected to be attempting ?a quiet dinner, I completed a phone survey, paid for by Phil Scott For Governor, four times!

The calls originated from North Troy, and I took the first ungrudgingly. ?I am always happy to waste Republican dollars; and fortunately, I was planning a late?dinner.

It was a “three question” survey:

Question 1: ?Do you support strongly Phil Scott for Governor? Do you support him moderately? Do you support a Democrat? Are you undecided?
Question 2: ?Do you strongly support Bruce Lisman for Lt. Governor? Do you support a Democrat or other candidate (or something like that)? Are you undecided?
Question 3: What is the most important issue to you? There were seven choices, some of which were dog whistles, but I chose the environment just to be perverse.

As soon as I hung-up, the phone rang again and I took the poll again; and again twice after that. ? I would like to think that I wasn’t the only lucky respondent to get multiple opportunities to ding the same poll; and I would also like to believe?that others like me, took full advantage of the situation to maximize?obfuscation.

I hate robo calls, but it is my great pleasure to take them at the expense of the caller. I just do something else, like checking my e-mail, while they prattle-on. ?Try it, you’ll like it.

In this, the year of the Trump Dumpf, we need all the devilish distraction we can get.

Zuckerman Claims Key Endorsement

With the New York primary, we’ve just had an object lesson in the fallibility of the national “two party system.”

What better time to celebrate the candidacy for lieutenant governor of perennial Progressive (that’s, with a large ‘P’) Senator David Zuckerman of Chittenden County, who is running as a Democrat in the primary?

And celebrate we should, since Mr. Zuckerman has just received the notable endorsement of former Lieutenant Governor Doug Racine. While a respected Democrat throughout his years in office, Racine was enthusiastically endorsed by Vermont’s Progressive Party in his own primary run against Peter Shumlin (and three others) for Governor in 2010.

Senator Zuckerman gained the endorsement of Brandon Riker, who was himself a candidate, when Mr. Riker announced his departure from the race in March. ?A successful sustainable farmer, Zuckerman?has also been endorsed by environmental advocate Bill McKibben.

Now, only Senator Zuckerman and Rep. Keisha Ram, also of Burlington, remain to compete for the Democratic nomination.

Boots Wardinski (P) is also running for Lt. Governor, but under the Progressive banner.

The ironic lesson in civics from the national primary race has a faint echo here in Vermont.

Senator Zudkerman has a good chance of winning the general election against Republican Randy Brock, who has already tried and failed to defend his seat as Auditor of Accounts in 2006 and lost the governor’s race in 2012. However, Zukerman shrewdly grasped that, in order to not suffer attacks for being a ‘spoiler,’ he must necessarily compete as a Democrat.

I well understand that decision because I am a big ‘P’ Progressive who counts herself lucky to be given any choice at all in the primary. I’m supporting Dave Zuckerman, not because of his party affiliation, but simply because I believe he is the best choice to defeat Randy Brock and bring some substance to the office of Lieutenant Governor that has too long been little more than a convenient staging area for Republicans contemplating a run for the roses.

Unlike current Lt. Governor Phil Scott (R), who used his opportunity as a Senate tie-breaker to kill a bill that would have protected Vermont children from toxins, we can trust David Zuckerman to put community health and the environment before corporate interests.

Cozy Committee Assignment Goes to Degree

Well, isn’t this nice? The boys on the Committee of Committees, all three of them, had a huddle and decided to put Dustin Degree onto the Finance Committee. That’s gubernatorial candidate Phil Scott, resigning Senate Pro-Tem,?John Campbell and reliable blue-dog,?Dick Mazza.

Don’t ask to see a record of the deliberations. There isn’t one. Just three good ol’ boys making it work…for them.

Guess whose going out stumping for Phil Scott, other than Dick Mazza whose allegiance is already a matter of public record?

Look for a dutiful DD to hit the election trail with Scott…and maybe even a surprise appearance from good-buddy Campbell.

We, in Franklin County have some serious doubts about Dustin Degree’s judgment, following the Norm McAllister debacle; and they will no doubt be raised in the heat of the election campaign. McAllister and Degree campaigned in tandem in the last two election cycles, often appearing joined at the hip.

If we are to believe he had no idea of McAllister’s penchant for predatory sex, even after his teenaged ‘intern’ repeatedly accompanied McAllister on his overnights in Montpelier, it is difficult to understand how Degree’s powers of observation and simple judgment should not be suspect, too.

So when a vacancy opened on one of the most desirable committees in the statehouse, how is it that Degree sprang so quickly to mind for the gang of three?

Surely there is someone in the senate who has a more impressive record of good judgment than has McAllister’s sidekick.

How’s that ethics committee coming along, Boys? ?Is it going to be seated in a similar manner?

Finding a Governor in the VPR Tea Leaves

2016: the year of surprises. Donald Trump sweeping to victory in Nevada and South Carolina this week has every pundit in the game eating crow. Bernie’s huge win in New Hampshire was unthinkable a few months back. That said, we’re going to have to wait a while longer to be surprised when it comes to the Vermont governor’s race.

The VPR poll didn’t say anything shocking on the subject of who will occupy Vermont’s top office next year. First of all- Vermonters aren’t paying attention yet, and that’s good news for the Democrats. Fully 2/3 of Vermonters are either not following the race closely or not following it at all.

It’s no surprise that Lt. Governor Phil Scott polls well. He is the only candidate in the race who occupies statewide office. He has the best name recognition. The casual reader might say that it looks like he has a huge lead. Only one-third of respondents said they could tell whom they favored in the Governor’s race so far. So, you can throw out the question that tries to stack all of the four candidates against each other. Democrats and Independents aren’t yet ready to say which candidate they support.

Republicans are clear about their choice for Governor. Phil Scott is the solid favorite on the Republican side. Bruce Lisman couldn’t hit double digits no matter how the question was asked. After all of the time, effort and (of course) money that Bruce Lisman put into Campaign for Vermont and his race the VPR poll must be a big disappointment.

Matt Dunne has a solid lead against Sue Minter across regions and demographics. Still, those who are not sure who to vote for make up the majority of Democrats, so it’s still anyone’s game. A friend reminded me today that Brian Dubie had a 20 point lead all summer long in 2010 as the Democrats were battling it out. Dubie’s poll numbers dropped quickly once the race was head-to-head.

My money says that Scott’s numbers will dive like Brian Dubie’s if one of the Democrats surges and becomes the presumptive nominee, and will definitely do so once the primary happens. August is a long way away at this point though, and a lot can happen in six months.

If Donald Trump or another wild candidate like Senator Ted Cruz wins the Republican nomination it won’t help Lt. Governor Scott’s chances of winning in November. While the conventional wisdom says Scott will be our next Governor, I think 2016 is the year of the unconventional.

Matt Dunne must be looking at this poll and seeing the opportunity. He has the early advantage among Democrats and if he can introduce himself to the 2/3 of Vermonters who aren’t paying much attention yet he may be able to do the unbelievable and beat Phil Scott in November.

Vermont to Receive the Imp of Intolerance

Responding to the news that Donald Trump plans a visit to Vermont, our own Senator Bernie Sanders released this rather restrained statement:

“I welcome Mr. Trump to Vermont.?I hope his presence here will help him better understand Vermont values — social and economic justice, tolerance, respect for all people and the environment.”

…To which I can only say, “Don’t hold your breath, Senator!”

For the Vermont Democratic party this is a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-show moment because, whatever happens, the Vermont GOP is bound to be dis-served by a visit from the celebrated Imp of Intolerance.

Usually, a big name on the national ticket coming to town means donations and reflected glory flooding statewide candidates of the same party.

That doesn’t promise to be the likely effect of Mr. Trump’s visit.

I almost feel sorry for Randy Brock, who has very recently taken a giant step away from the presumptive GOP national nominee…something that Phil Scott has avoided over the past couple of months, although he?did say last September that he couldn’t support Trump.

What might Phil Scott’s reward be for keeping a lid on it? ?A photo op with His Nibs? ?And how would that play in Putney?

Under the immediate circumstances, I don’t know which has made the wiser decision.