Letter to the editor: Scott must tone down rhetoric

It has been an especially difficult year for many Vermonters. People are still recovering from the floods of last summer. Property taxes and school budgets are increasing significantly, and health care costs are going up at alarming rates. These difficulties made the most recent legislative session challenging as well. In addition, we no longer have the benefit of Covid-era federal funds; there is increased homelessness and a lack of affordable housing; mental health and substance use treatment needs are greater than ever; and the list goes on.

In times like these, when everyone is feeling pressure and stress, it is especially important that we all come together to solve problems and support one another across the state.

Instead, legislators, school boards, and other public officials are experiencing an increased amount of vitriol and hatred. Legislators in Addison County have received death threats and menacing messages, been yelled at from passing cars, and our children have been harassed by adults.

Although this session was an especially difficult and divisive one, most of the 116 bills we passed had tri-partisan support. We don’t aways agree on solutions, but we strive to listen to viewpoints other than our own and treat each other with civility and respect.

The same cannot be said about the current rhetoric from the Governor’s office, where the leader of our state is indulging in name calling, disinformation, and sowing the seeds of distrust. To see and hear threats from members of our own communities is distressing, hurtful, and frankly, frightening. Some of us are changing our license plates and phone numbers, cutting back on public events, and even installing security systems at our homes. It shouldn’t have to come to this.

To the members of our communities: We appreciate those of you who have offered your support and encouragement during these difficult times. We hope you will continue to do so. For those of you who are frustrated and have questions or concerns, especially about property taxes, we hear you and will be working on structural solutions for our education system moving forward. In the meantime, we welcome personal conversations with our constituents and communities.

The governor is elected thanks to Democrats, who are a supermajority of citizens in Vermont. When he insults what he calls the “supermajority” in the Legislature, he is also insulting the Vermonters who elected him to office. The Governor can use his bully pulpit to set the tone for political conversations through his regular official media messages. More significantly, he has the resources of the state at his disposal. He is not a victim of the legislature. He needs to use the resources of the state in a positive manner to address the very real challenges we face rather than use the bully pulpit to engage in us-vs.-them messaging. Vermonters deserve better from their Governor.

Rep. Peter Conlon

Rep. Mari Cordes

Rep. Diane Lanpher

Rep. Jubilee McGill

Rep. Robin Scheu

Rep. Amy Sheldon

Senator Chris Bray

Senator Ruth Hardy.

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