Apparently one of Mr. McAllister’s alleged victims has passed away. That might potentially affect the criminal case against Mr. McAllister, but does not alter the urgency of separating him from the senate.
This is the letter that I have, today, sent to the St. Albans Messenger.
As it should have been, Wednesday evening’s Taylor Park rally against sexual exploitation and abuse was very moving and respectful of the victims.
It was not, however, as well attended as one might have hoped.
I choose to give our Republican legislators the benefit of the doubt by assuming that none attended because of the acute embarrassment they have been caused by Norm McAllister’s behaviors.
This was a mistake, however, because the absence of Republican representation was uncomfortably conspicuous to all.
It is impossible to divorce Mr. McAllister’s political affiliation from the conversation without some help from his party colleagues. Otherwise, they appear to be closing ranks against the will of their constituents, the vast majority of whom undoubtedly want Mr. McAllister out of his senate seat…yesterday.
In light of the fact that the event organizers took great pains to ensure that there would not be even a hint of politics in the program, and that it would focus on the needs of victims of domestic violence and exploitation, this failure to even put in an appearance came across as somewhat insensitive.
Absent any discussion of Mr. McAllister or his alleged offenses, he remained, nevertheless, the elephant in the room.
…But that was yesterday.
Today it is time for the citizens of Franklin County to take back their senate seat.
Mr. McAllister is understandably focused on his own defense, wherever that may take him. It is clear that his constituents and even his party are no longer a priority for him.
Are we to pass an entire summer in a limbo of public dysfunction while Mr. McAllister continues to cling to the illusion that he represents Franklin County?
If there is such paralysis in the legislative halls and in the VGOP that no one can compel Mr. McAllister to resign his seat, we the people will have to do the job for them by demanding that the House issue an order of impeachment and the Senate carry it forward by trial without delay.
The charge can be as simple as violation of his oath of office, in which he pledged to do no damage to the state or to its people.
There is already ample evidence of that violation in the factual record, before even venturing further into his personal liability under the criminal code.
I herewith make this formal demand of our Franklin County legislative delegates, Republican and Democrat, that a petition be prepared by one or all of them to be posted in every City and town hall in the County, so that every citizen of the County has an opportunity to add his or her name to that petition demanding immediate removal of Mr. McAllister from his senate seat.
If for some reason, no one in our delegation will do this, I request that the Messenger, as our principal organ of community conversation, host a petition on behalf of the population.
I ask that the Messenger share that petition in its pages; and for the benefit of those who may not see the paper or visit their town hall in a timely way, that public access television, the library and other public institutions also provide an opportunity for community members to read and sign the petition.
If there is any single lesson about the health of our legislature that we have learned from this nasty experience it is that we are long overdue for adopting an ethics policy that would bring swift justice for the people of Vermont when it is members of the legislature themselves who have violated the public trust.