Primary Flashback and Franklin County Frolics

A belated congratulations are due to GMD’s own Mike McCarthy, who now, officially joins Rep. Kathy Keenan as our excellent  Democratic candidates for the Vermont House from St. Albans City.  Mike has already served a term as St. Albans’ House Rep. so we look forward to having him back again.

The heat knocked me out for the past week or so, but I’ve recovered enough to want to comment on the outcome of the primary.

Although I wasn’t particularly active in the primary, I could not be more pleased with the outcome. Despite the pain we all feel at the national spectacle, I think we have much to be grateful for, here at home.

Sue Minter and Dave Zuckerman comprise a very strong Democratic ticket. I look forward to the debates with relish!

I was also pleased to learn that despite the early endorsement pass by the VCV, Philip Baruth will be defending his seat against the Republican challengers once again.

Returning to Franklin County, it was, I think, a relief for the entire county that disgraced senator Norm McAllister went down in defeat. We can now refer to him summarily as ‘disgraced ex-senator’ Norm McAllister…and doesn’t that feel good.

Nevertheless, roughly 700 Franklin County voters actually endorsed candidate McAllister, leaving one to ponder whether his family is exceptionally large, or there is a significant population out there with disturbing attitudes toward women.

None could have been more relieved with the primary results than Franklin County Republicans, who would have not found it a pleasant experience to campaign on the same ticket with a virtual pariah

Stepping into the breech for Republicans was Representative Carolyn Branagan, who will join Dustin Degree in competition against our two outstanding Democratic candidates for senate, former Senator Sara Kittell and clean lake activist, Denise Smith.

It goes without saying that I support Sara and Denise without reservation, but I have to say that Brannagan would be a strong third choice. She’s a good moderate representative for her district and has a pretty good environmental voting record.

Incredibly, Branagan got some grief from McAllister and some of his supporters for having had the temerity to offer herself as a candidate in the scorched aftermath of McAllister’s untimely departure. No one expected him to run again, given that he was facing numerous charges for crimes against women; but run he did, submitting his petition in the last minute of the eleventh hour, when no one had a chance to discover that it did not satisfy the minimum of the law before time ran out on a challenge. That didn’t stop him from attacking, in a parting shot, the only woman on Franklin County’s Republican senate ticket

So now we have an interesting race shaping up for two senate seats in Franklin County: two strong Democratic women, one respected Republican woman…and Dustin Degree.

It does seem fitting that, for his sins, McAllister will definitely see a woman he probably loathes in his senatorial seat….no matter which woman that ends up being.

Of course, popular wisdom around here probably has Degree holding onto his seat, but I beg to differ. Branagan came in a strong second to Degree in the primary; and I think that even Republicans may be ready for a little more estrogen in the Franklin County delegation.

And there are those nagging, unanswered questions about who-knew-what-when.

In what could only be imagined as an attempt to drag Degree under the bus along with him, thus improving his own chances in the primary, McAllister himself hinted broadly that Degree knew more about him (and presumably, the ‘intern’) than anyone else.

We may never learn the whole story about the intern, but McAllister’s statement means Degree is in for some increased scrutiny.

Degree and McAllister campaigned almost in tandem in the past two election cycles. They passed two years as seatmates in the senate. The intern maintains that she helped on their shared campaign.

It is difficult to believe that Degree never visited the apartment where McAllister shared a bedroom with the intern, and that he never observed how very young and fragile she looked next to the sexagenarian farmer who presumably bossed her around at the statehouse.

Also to be questioned is Mike McCarthy’s House opponent Cory Parent, who gave the teenaged intern rides back to Franklin County from the statehouse. He seems to have been another close intimate of McAllister’s. One would think the relationship between McAllister and the intern could not have been entirely unobserved by Parent and Degree.

So, it should be interesting over the next couple of months. I sincerely hope that whoever conducts the debates does not shy away from the McAllister question. The voters deserve some answers before they cast their ballots again.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

2 thoughts on “Primary Flashback and Franklin County Frolics

  1. I would hope, as well that Kevin Mullin and Timothy Corcoran will face similar questioning from their constituents in their re-election campaigns. Whether it was a result of callousness or cluelessness, indifference to McAllister’s living arrangements crossed party lines.

  2. Pretty sure this was welcome news in Franklin Cty, personally also breathed a sigh of relief when checking local post-election results around the state. Plus, trial delayed until Dec would have really turned Montpelier into a circus during the session.

    We don’t need lawmakers or public officials engaged in profligately immoral behavior & corruption, also evidenced by falsified numbers used to get on the ballot, even if it is regarding issues which are not directly related to lawmaking activity.

    Guessing good ol Norm sadly mistaken when guaging support of friends & fam as a majority. But yeah, 700 supporters is still rather disturbing.

    Even in personal life violated the burn order, started a fire on his property which got out of control — an additional cost for taxpayers while arrogantly showing complete disregard for rules & laws.

    VT is one of the very few states with no ethics laws to speak of — hence MCallisters’ brazen display of very public relationship with young female “aid” in full view of entire statehouse I might add, including the sleeping arrangements, while in session which includes female lawmakers.

    That a lawmakers’ sexual advances — clearly harrassment — exposed by a fellow female lawmaker MCallister made lewd/lascivious comments to in the statehouse while in session — and more of MCallisters’ creepiness — was expected to be ignored as an unspoken rule is pretty disgusting.

    If memory serves, calculated he was paid approx $10,000 to stay home last session while Franklin Cty, senate Republicans & voters lost a voice of support.

    I don’t feel sorry for his financial woes — looks like he has plenty of resources which include a working farm, rental income & plenty of land which can be sold so he’s in much better shape than many others who find themselves in a legal predicament.

    Entire spectacle quite the eye-opener.

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