February 5th, 2015
On most issues, Gov. Shumlin would not see eye-to-eye with Robert Bentley, the conservative Republican governor of Alabama. Yet, last week Govs. Shumlin and Bentley appeared together before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Bentley and Shumlin, speaking on behalf of their colleagues in the National Governors Association, urged Congress to pass a multi-year extension of the federal highway trust fund.
In Thursday’s, Jan. 29, article, “Vergennes duels set for city council,” longtime Addison Independent reporter Andy Kirkaldy describes candidate Jeff Fritz, as “best known in Vergennes for purchasing a large Victorian Main Street home in 2011 and renovating it before moving there from Washington state.” While committing substantive energy and resources to the restoration of one of our most important Vergennes residential assets is in and of itself most admirable, Andy missed the point.
With regard to the sugary beverage tax being floated and which so enchants our own Angelo Lynn, if Montpelier is so concerned for our health why is there a tax on gym memberships? Sounds like the state wants to have its soda and drink it too.
After reading the article “Vergennes duels set for city council, VUES board seats” in the Addison Independent Jan. 29 issue, I am compelled to write this letter.
My deep disappointment is that author of the article chose to write what he did with regard to Jeff Fritz. I have recently had the pleasure of working with Jeff at the Vergennes Opera House and the Friends of the Bixby Library; however, his involvement in our community includes a whole lot more.
If you believed that the Shoreland Protection Bill was about fighting pollution in Vermont’s waters, you also probably believe that a tax on sugary drinks is a health care initiative. Both could not be further from the truth.
What about the gun bill, S.31?
There’s been some speculation on Front Porch Forum regarding my motives for co-sponsoring a bill that does three things: It puts Vermont in compliance with the federal law that requires Vermont to enter into a federal database (1) the names of certain violent felons and (2) the names of persons who have been judged in a court of law to be a danger to themselves or others. The third thing it does is require a background check during the sale of all weapons, while allowing for family members to gift guns to each other.
This is the start of my seventh year in the Vermont House of Representatives, and it is still as special as my first year. In many ways I am experiencing those freshmAn hurdles again due to my acceptance of a new and challenging legislative assignment. For six years I served on the House Transportation Committee. But after several conversations with House Speaker Shap Smith, I knew this 2015 legislative session was going to have a very different approach.
Town Meeting, it has been said, is “democracy being practiced in its purest form.” Thomas Jefferson called Town Meeting the “wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self government and for its preservation.”