Note: I’ve received a further response from Mr. Batham, which has been added to the post below.
Not long after I posted my previous entry about David Zuckerman and Kesha Ram, I got a phone call from Brandon Batham, who runs Ram’s campaign for lieutenant governor. He wanted to assure me that Rep. Ram is not an anti-vaxxer, and sent along this statement via email:
Kesha fully believes in and accepts the science behind vaccinations. She is not an “anti-vaxxer.” As an 8-year State Representative, her goal is to keep our children—collectively and individually—healthy and safe. This will also be her goal as Lieutenant Governor.
Kesha remains concerned that parents opposed to vaccines will claim the religious exemption and remove their children from our medical and education systems. That is why she voted for an amendment presented by Rep. Ann Donahue that would have required parents to consult with a health care provider and review educational materials on the benefits of vaccines in order to receive an exemption.
She is in favor of removing both the philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccinations, and replacing them with an exemption request made in consultation with a medical professional related to adverse health effects.
I’ve sent Brandon an email requesting a bit of clarification, especially on whether she plans to pursue changes in the vaccination law as a legislator or, potentially, as lieutenant governor.
I’ll update this post when I get a reply. Reply now received; see below.
Otherwise, okay, she’s not an anti-vaxxer. I still have some concerns, though.
Note for those freshly landing on this page: Please also see subsequent post with response from Rep. Kesha Ram.
Interesting factoid about the Democratic candidates to succeed Phil Scott. One, Garrett Graff, is in day three of radio silence following reports that he may not qualify to run. One, Brandon Riker, must prove he can be competitive despite a lack of experience and little name recognition. As for the other two?
They each voted “No” on the bill that removes the philosophical exemption to childhood vaccinations.
State Sen. David Zuckerman’s opposition was widely noted, as he made a last-ditch maneuver to derail the bill in the Senate, asserting that the science on vaccine safety is “disputed.”
Well, I guess he’s right that it’s “disputed.” But not by the broad scientific consensus and decades of real-world experience.
Less noted at the time was the “No” vote cast by State Rep. Kesha Ram. As far as I can tell, she kind of went under the radar with her opposition.
While existential doubt continues to swirl around Garrett Graff’s proto-candidacy, yet another liberal has stepped into the race for lieutenant governor. So much hankerin’ for Vermont’s very own bucket of warm spit.
This time, it’s David Zuckerman, Dem/Prog State Senator from Chittenden County, confirming what many had expected: he’s in the race. Originally a Progressive, he’s campaigned for Senate on both Prog and Dem tickets, and he plans to enter the Democratic primary.
And in a sign of the Progs’ perilous position, he probably won’t run at all if he can’t get the Dem nom. This is either a high-stakes gamble, or Farmer Dave is tired of the Senate: he’s trading in a sure thing for what looks like a lottery ticket — one entrant in a field that already includes either two or three Democrats, depending on the disposition of Young Graff’s residency issue. And there may be further entrants from the Senate Democratic caucus, although I suspect that when push comes to shove, most (or all) of them will prove unwilling to let go of their comfy Senate perches.
(Really, can you imagine the likes of John Campbell or Dick McCormack entering a race they’d actually have to work hard to win?)
Zuckerman’s candidacy begins with inconvenient questions about fundraising. He says he may pursue public financing — but Seven Days’ Terri Hallenbeck reports that he may already be disqualified from that very restrictive process because of his early announcement. (The rules say no campaigning, period, before February 15. Which is far too late in the unprecedentedly early Vermont campaign season.)