In the Whack-A-Mole world of politics, former governor Peter Shumlin popped up with a few choice words for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Shumlin, a Democrat from Putney, stated in an interview with Politico this week that the Democratic presidential candidate was more than willing to “play dirty” in politics.
Shumlin, who was governor from 2011 to 2017, has taken plenty of heat on social media from the Bernie Bros, who are defending their candidate.
“What I’ve seen in Bernie’s politics is he and his team feel they’re holier than the rest. In the end, they will play dirty because they think that they pass a purity test that Republicans and most Democrats don’t pass,” Shumlin was quoted as saying. “What you’re seeing now is, in the end, even if he considers you a friend, like Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie will come first. That’s the pattern we’ve seen over the years in Vermont, and that’s what we are seeing now nationally.”
Shumlin alluded to recent allegations that Sanders met privately with Warren in 2018 and indicated a woman could not win the White House in 2020. Sanders has denied the reports, including an emphatic denial during Tuesday’s debate.
It is widely known that the former governor and the senator have not always gotten along, or seen eye to eye. Apparently, those rumors have more than a grain of truth.
For what it’s worth, Shumlin has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.
Siegel jumps in
Former gubernatorial candidate and political activist Brenda Siegel, a Democrat, has announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor.
“After a lifetime of working on the ground as an administrator, community leader and political activist, I will bring the people’s voices into the People’s House. We are in a new era of politics where all voices and types of experience matter. Vermont needs statewide leaders who reflect the identities and experiences of regular Vermonters” Siegel wrote in a news release. “Moreover, we must expect our elected leaders to do more to support, reflect and make room for historically marginalized voices of black and brown Vermonters, transgender folks, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and young people in our democracy. I am committed to bringing this kind of leadership into the State House and state government.”
According to the release, “Siegel is the founder and director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, a teacher, a writer of political and socio-economic commentaries and proud single mom.”
Siegel is the third candidate to declare she will run to succeed Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a progressive, who announced earlier this week he is in the race for governor.
Last week, Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, announced that he would run for lieutenant governor. Sen. Debbie Ingram, D-Chittenden, declared her candidacy Wednesday. Two others have said they intend to run: Meg Hansen, a Republican who has led Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, and Molly Gray, a prosecutor with the attorney general’s Office. Shap Smith, the former house speaker, indicated this week he was not in the running.
‘Broke the law’
The dean of the U.S. Senate, Patrick Leahy, of Middlesex, was co-authored a commentary that was distributed to media outlets nationwide indicating President Trump broke the law.
The impeachment trial of the president will begin Tuesday.
In advance of the commentary, Leahy issued this statement: “On Thursday morning, hours before senators were sworn in to serve on President Trump’s impeachment trial, an independent, nonpartisan government watchdog confirmed what I have long suspected: When Trump froze congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to compel Ukraine to investigate his political rival, he broke the law.”
It went on: “That’s because a central feature of our republic, defined by its separation of powers among the three branches of government, is that Congress, not the president, controls the ‘power of the purse.’ James Madison argued that this was ‘the most complete and effectual weapon’ to counter ‘all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches.’ The nation’s founders enshrined their vision in Article 1, Section 9, of the Constitution, establishing that Congress alone possesses the power of the purse. The president can propose funding for whatever projects he wants, but Congress ultimately decides where to direct the American people’s tax dollars.”
On Thursday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, or GAO, concluded that, because the “Constitution grants the President no unilateral authority to withhold funds,” the administration “violated the ICA.” The GAO further found that the administration’s excuses for the president’s actions “have no basis in law.”
Republican Gov. Phil Scott will give his annual budget address at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, before a joint session of the Legislature. You can live stream the address, courtesy of ORCA Media, by using the following link: www.orcamedia.net/show/governor-phil-scotts-2020-budget-address.
Community-based public hearings, within which public input can be taken on the proposed state budget, will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at the following locations:
— Barre City: Downstreet Housing and Community Development, 22 Keith Ave., Suite 100
— Morrisville: People’s Academy High School, Auditorium
— Rutland City: Rutland Public Schools, Longfellow School Building, board room
— St. Johnsbury: St. Johnsbury House, main dining room, 1207 Main St.
— St. Albans City: St. Albans City School, Library, 29 Bellows St.
— Springfield: Springfield Town Hall, 96 Main St., 3rd floor conference room (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.)
— Winooski: Vermont Student Assistance Corp. (VSAC), 10 East Allen St.
Secretary of State Jim Condos announced this week that the early voting period for the 2020 Presidential Primary Elections opened Friday, Jan. 17.
Vermont voters may request their ballot to vote early any day leading up to the March 3 election. Ballot requests can be made with local town and city clerks by phone, email, walk-in or online at https://mvp.sec.state.vt.us/
“Voting early is a great way to participate in our democratic process, and to ensure that you have cast your ballot before Primary Day” said Condos. “Ensuring access to the ballot box for home-bound voters with disabilities, military and overseas voters, and Vermonters who may have challenges getting to the polls on Election Day isn’t just important, it’s fundamental to our democratic values.”
Voters who have requested a ballot may return their ballot in-person or by mail to their town or city clerk. For the ballot to be counted, it must be received on or before Primary Election Day, which is March 3 for the 2020 Presidential Primary Election. To ensure a ballot is received in time, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division suggests placing it in the mail no less than one week prior to Election Day, and recommends that requests are submitted as early as possible to ensure time to receive, vote and return your ballot.
Vermont law allows for no-excuse early voting for all eligible Vermont voters. Additionally, 17-year-olds are eligible to register and vote in primary elections, including the presidential primaries, if they will turn 18 on or before the Nov. 3 General Election.
Seeing the Bern
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will return to New Hampshire for a two-day swing ahead of the Feb. 11 primary. This trip comes on the heels of a major endorsement announced by the Granite State’s second largest union, SEA/SEIU Local 1984.
Sanders will host town halls in Exeter and Conway, and a rally in Manchester.
He will then travel to South Carolina on Monday to participate in the 2020 MLK Day at the Dome events hosted by the South Carolina NAACP. This will be Sanders’ second consecutive year participating.
Rebecca Holcombe’s campaign for governor issued a list of 15 initial endorsements, including 13 current legislators representing districts in 10 of Vermont’s 14 counties. The include, Reps. Tim Briglin, Windsor-Orange 2; Kevin “Coach” Christie, Windsor 4-2; Sara Coffey, Windham 1; Peter Conlon, Addison 2; Martin Lalonde, Chittenden 7-1; Jim Masland, Windsor-Orange 2; David Potter, Rutland 2; Ann Pugh, Chittenden 7-2; Mary Sullivan, Chittenden 6-5 and DNC delegate; Maida Townsend, Chittenden 7-4; David Yacovone, Lamoille-Washington; Sam Young, Orleans-Caledonia.
In addition, Holcombe, a Democrat, received endorsements from Dottie Deans, former Vermont Democratic Party chairwoman, and Tim Jerman, former Vermont Democratic Party vice chairman and current DNC delegate.
The state announced this week an additional $2 million available to expand Vermont’s electric vehicle charging station network. The state is requesting proposals through a third round of grant funding to build Direct Current Fast Charging stations at 11 locations along Vermont’s highway corridors.
According to a news release, plug-in electric vehicles, or EVs, on Vermont roads increased by 154% since 2016. As of October 2019, there were 3,541 passenger EVs in the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles registration database. This is a 27% increase over the past year. EVs are registered in 90% of Vermont’s towns and cities, demonstrating their growing popularity across the state, the release stated.
The state has invested more than $1.2 million to install 90 Level 2 chargers and eight DCFC stations over the past few years. The third round of funding will ensure DCFC stations are conveniently available along interstate and other priority highway corridors such as interstates 89 and 91, U.S. Route 4 and Vermont Route 100.
The funding is part of the Volkswagen settlement money.
Rep. Peter Welch announced this week that his long-time chief of staff, Bob Rogan, will retire at the end of February.
Welch appointed Rogan to lead his staff soon after he was first elected to Congress in 2006. Prior to working for Welch, Rogan worked for Gov. Howard Dean, first as deputy chief of staff then as deputy campaign manager of Dean’s presidential bid. He also worked as an executive for both Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power. Prior to moving to Vermont in 1994 to work for Dean, Rogan worked for U.S. Sen. Lawton Chiles, D-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla.
Replacing Rogan as chief of staff will be Patrick Satalin, Welch’s deputy chief of staff.
Rounding out Welch’s staff leadership team is state director Rebecca Ellis, of Waterbury, and deputy state director Shannon Furnari, of White River Junction.
Good luck, Bob.
Elizabeth Grady, 42, of Underhill, is the lucky winner of the 2019 Vermont Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Lottery.
Grady will be entitled to hunt and fish for free for the rest of her life. She was drawn as the winner from among 13,053 lottery tickets purchased in 2019. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department holds the drawing annually.
This year’s sales of the $2 tickets brought $26,106 to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. These state dollars can be leveraged with federal funds to produce more than $104,000 to support the department’s mission to conserve fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats.