Since becoming governor Phil Scott has twice had the chance make appointments to the state legislature. His choices to replace Republican legislators — a lobbyist and a golf pro — hardly fit the image most citizens may have of an average Vermonter.
Scott’s first legislative appointment to the state House of Representatives was Jim Harrison, a lobbyist and former president of the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association. And his most recent pick, for the state Senate is David Soucy, a golf pro who now manages the Green Mountain National golf course.
The course, located in and owned by the town of Killington, has struggled for years to cover as much as $5 million in debt originally incurred to build the facility. In 2011 with golf revenue down 13.5 percent in Vermont, town officials were critical of spending $25,000 per year to promote the course while facing a large municipal debt restructuring.
At the time Soucy appeared to dismiss worries over the debt and said reporting on it had been “sensationalized.” He championed the golf facility, telling WCAX: “[…] as far as the debt is concerned, the pressure is on the town, not the course. It really comes down to the debt structure, not our operations; we make money on our operations. The debt structure is what needs to be taken care of,” he said. [added emphasis] So the Gov’s newest pick for the legislature — hardly your typical Republican town budget hawk — worried.
David Soucy may actually be a good match with Scott’s earlier appointment to the legislature, Jim Harrison the former Vermont Retail and Grocers Association president. Under Harrison the VRGA opposed taxing sugared drinks, any paid family leave policy, and the Vermont Genetically Modified Organism labeling law. A lobbyist and a golf pro selected to represent average Vermonters in the state House and Senate — that’s par for Republican Governor Scott giving business an even bigger voice in the legislature. Making Vermont Affordable for Whom?