Your next lieutenant governor might just be an anti-vaxxer

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.

The only available statement I can find online is a pair of Facebook posts urging policymakers to “find a balance between the two sides” and warning that we might “push parents away with inflammatory rhetoric and mandates when a reasoned, informed discussion can still be had that builds trust and better outcomes.”

Balance and trust are excellent things. But the minds of anti-vaxxers are firmly closed. They will never stop believing their conspiracy theories about corrupt doctors and Big Pharma. There is no way to have a “reasoned, informed discussion” with most of those people. And in the meantime, their beliefs imperil public health.

The vaccine issue is not, by itself, a deal-breaker for me. But it’s a matter of concern that an anti-vaxxer, or a sympathizer, could be a heartbeat away from the governorship.

Ram and Zuckerman should be called to account for their positions on the issue. And whether they would seek to reopen the philosophical exemption or otherwise make it easier to opt out of vaccinations. That’s a legitimate matter of concern. And it leaves me hoping that a pro-vaccine Democrat will enter the race.

Speaking of which, there are still rumors of more potential candidacies here and there, most notably State Sen. Philip Baruth. But another entry looks less likely with each passing day. In the words of Yogi Berra, it’s getting late early out there.

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