Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Vermont connection comes through in DMV case

Editor’s note: The writer was the reporter/assistant news editor of The Reporter newspaper in Brandon, and a Bristol resident, until this past October.
As a former Vermont resident who now resides in Texas, I often look back on my time in Vermont with fondness. Especially when I look at the growing coronavirus numbers in my current state or when I’m reminded of how Vermonters will go out of their way to help each other.
I finally made it to the DMV to get my Texas driver license last month (the earliest appointment I could get back in April). After jumping through all the hoops to prove my identity and that I was a U.S. citizen, there was one final snag holding up my new license. Because of a traffic ticket I got near Brandon, the Vermont DMV put a hold on my driver’s license. 
After leaving the DMV empty-handed and baffled, I called the Vermont DMV and learned that my license was suspended even though I paid the ticket and the reinstatement fee. It seems I would be required to carry SR-22 insurance in Vermont, in addition to the insurance I had to carry for actually driving in Texas.
Despite my protests that I lived 20 hours from Vermont and posed no threat to be driving uninsured on state roadways, I was told there was nothing they could do. This was going to cost me upwards of $400 a month for both policies. 
I reached out to Butch Shaw, who was an acquaintance, and I’d like to think a friend, from my time at The Brandon Reporter. I told him my problem and asked if he had any ideas on what I could do. Butch said he would look into it and get back to me.
A little over a week later, I got an email from the Vermont DMV that said they were removing my insurance requirement because I was no longer a resident of Vermont. 
In these times of pandemic worry, its things like this that really highlight the spirit of Vermont. Despite not being a constituent of his, or even living in the state, Butch still looked into a problem when asked and got it solved in an efficient manner. 
It’s this attitude of stepping up and helping where he can that I feel has made Butch a great representative of his community for all these years. Thank you, Butch, for removing a tremendous weight off my chest and I wish you the best for you and your family.
Russell Jones
Amarillo, Texas

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