( – promoted by Sue Prent)
Eleven of Franklin County’s thirteen legislators are now Republicans, and Democrats like me who lost their seats in the last election are watching our new Representatives and Senators in Montpelier with a lot of apprehension.
In the 1/21/15 edition of the Messenger, Rep. Parent wrote about how he would urge his new colleagues to stand against the Governor and work to make Vermont a more affordable place to live and work. That sounds a lot like what he promised during the campaign. I’m concerned that regardless of what legislators think about the Governor or his budget, there were no suggestions of what cuts should be made to offset the proposed tax increases.
I pose this challenge to my Republican friends, especially the one who called me and Rep. Keenan “intellectually lazy” at a forum last fall: If you believe you can govern our state better, tell us how. If you think we can’t afford to provide healthcare for every Vermonter, tell us who should go without. If you think the poorest Vermonters, those with disabilities, those looking for work, students at our state colleges, members of law enforcement, state employees, highways or health care providers should get funding cuts then tell us. Please do not pretend that every dollar we spend investing in our kids, our communities, and our economic growth is wasted.
The campaign is over and it’s time for the new legislature to state priorities and lay out an alternative to Gov. Shumlin’s budget and tax proposals. My fear is that Franklin County’s inexperienced new legislators will spend more time criticizing the Governor than serving the interests of our communities. Can these legislators suggest alternative policies and work together with the Democratic majority to get them passed the way me, Michel Consejo, Cindy Weed, and Sara Kittell have done in the past? It remains to be seen.
The campaign is over. It’s time to govern. Simply stating that one stands against the Governor is easy. Offering real alternatives and successfully implementing them may be beyond the experience, vision and leadership of Franklin County’s new legislators.