Procedural excuses for avoiding a moral imperative

Despite the widespread pleas of responsible politicians (almost) everywhere, Norm McAllister continues to represent the good people of Franklin County in the State Senate. And I have to confess that I hadn’t considered how it would feel to be represented by that fetid pile of [ALLEGED] human excrement, until I read about a petition drive calling for his resignation.

Weston/McAllisterWhich made me realize that if I lived in his district, I’d want him the hell out of office ASAP. Even when the legislature is out of session, there is still business being done. McAllister is a pariah. He’s avoiding public events, he’s been stripped of his committee assignments, and as for “constituent service,” well, who in state government is returning his calls? Who, in their right mind, is depending on Norm McAllister for “constituent service”?

The people of Franklin County are (a) underrepresented, and (b) forced to bear the stigma of having McAllister as their Senator. If I lived there, you bet I’d sign that petition.

McAllister, for those just joining us, was arrested on the Statehouse grounds and charged with a whole bunch of skeevy sex crimes. As soon as the details broke, McAllister immediately lost every friend he might have had in Montpelier; but he refused to resign, and the legislature adjourned eight days laer without taking any action.

And now, Profiles In Courage, they are hiding behind process.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Senate’s presiding officer, and Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell have both called for McAllister’s resignation. But that’s all they’re doing for the next several months.

Campbell said that most likely, lawmakers will wait until they reconvene next January. At that point, he said, “We will do whatever is within our power.”

Secretary of the Senate John Bloomer, who keeps the rules of the upper chamber, said that to his knowledge, the Senate has never moved to expel a member under circumstances like this. He is looking to other states for precedent.

Here’s another instance of Vermont’s institutional informality coming back to bite us at the worst possible time. The only apparent way to remove McAllister sooner is to bring the entire legislature back to Montpelier for a full hearing on the charges, at a cost of $250,000 per week. And Democrat Kathy Keenan of St. Albans would hate to see such a hearing because it would be a “circus.”

Here’s a news flash: There are worse things than a circus. Like having a[n ALLEGED] slime-mold in human form representing you in the Senate. That should trump any concerns about dignity.

As for McAllister, his completely clueless reaction makes him look very much like a sociopath capable of committing horrendous sex crimes. He thinks the talk of resignation is just “politics,” because the people who want him gone “are not people who have supported me much in the past.”

Yeesh. And speaking of Profiles in Courage, the chair of the Franklin County GOP, Steve Trahan, told VTDigger he has not been involved in discussions about McAllister. Well, why the hell not?

For that matter, where are the other esteemed representatives of Franklin County? Sen. Dustin Degree, come on down! Do you really want to be sitting right next to Norm McAllister next January?

And how about all those Franklin County Republicans in the House? Why don’t we get you all together with Good Old Norm for a photo op? Since you seem to be okay with him as a colleague, I’m sure you won’t mind taking a picture, maybe sharing a float in the Fourth of July parade, giving him a big ol’ hug to help him through these trying times.

Otherwise, you could take a small but meaningful stand. Sign the petition. Please.

Postscript. If any of those officeholders step forward with a clear call for McAllister’s resignation, I will happily post their comments right here.


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