( – promoted by Sue Prent)
Gov. Shumlin and Lt. Governor Phil Scott spoke this evening at the Vermont Rail Action Network annual meeting in Saint Albans. Governor Shumlin spoke first, and gave a rousing speech about rail and cross-border trains and their importance to Vermont’s future economic growth. The food by Twigg’s was delicious, by the way.
The room of about 150 railroad officials, government agencies, and legislators was a little surprised that instead of talking about rail, Lt. Governor Scott focused solely on last week’s election and slammed “Montpelier” for not listening to Vermonters. I guess this is what the beginning of a 2016 gubernatorial run looks like: No More Mr. Nice Phil.
It was tough for me to sit there and listen to him slam the same people he helped make laws with for years, especially in a crowd that is so happy we’ve continued to find ways to invest in rail infrastructure that has benefited St. Albans and the rest of Vermont. I’m sad I won’t be back there next year to keep pushing for smart investments that will improve freight resources for existing businesses in our state and open up passenger service to millions of tourists from nearby markets. Our new representative-elect in Saint Albans made it very clear during the campaign that he does not support the revenue increases that made these investments possible. It’s apparently not something we can afford.
I find it hard to be accused of not listening by someone who for the first time in his political life seemed to have gone tone deaf. Just when I thought I was going to put the politics to rest for a while, Phil Scott shocked the heck out of me when I least expected it.