Much Ado About Meatballs

Very curious event took place yesterday. A business announced it was locating in Vermont, and nobody from the Shumlin administration was on hand.

Phil Scott was.

His buddy and nominal Democrat Dick Mazza was.

House Republican leader Don Turner was.


Good Ol' Phil, pleased with himself. Screenshot from Seven Days.

Good Ol’ Phil, pleased with himself. Screengrab from Seven Days.

The event was Bove’s announcement that it will locate a sauce plant in Milton. According to the Burlington Free Press, Bove’s currently makes its sauce in Youngstown, Ohio, God knows why, and its meatballs and lasagna in Shelburne.

Yum, long-distance interstate food, just like Grandma used to make. Well, it’s all coming home to Milton.

As for why two Republicans and a go-ahead-admit-it-you’re-a-Republican were the invited guests, company owner Mark Bove offered some cagey remarks.

Bove was flanked by several legislators, including Phil Scott, the Republican lieutenant governor; Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle, and Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton. The restaurateur said each helped Bove’s find its way back to Vermont.

“I just couldn’t get back to Vermont, as much as I tried,” Bove said of previous efforts.

Well, okay then.

I guess what we have here are the first jobs to be created by the Phil Scott administration. I don’t know how he, or Mazza, or Turner, who have no executive powers, managed to empower Bove’s when the full weight of the state of Vermont was insufficient to the task.

If Bove elaborated further, or was asked to, none of the reporters saw fit to include it in their stories.

The announcement itself, to borrow a phrase, is kind of a nothing-burger. Nice symbolism, but the immediate impact is “five to ten jobs,” according to Bove. And most of those will be transfers from the signature family restaurant, which is about to close. Future growth depends on Bove’s ambitious plans to go national. Getting shelf space in big supermarket chains is a huge challenge for a regional producer; its success probably depends on (sigh) getting bought out by a larger company.

Anyway, I was less interested in the announcement than in the unspoken politics behind it. Because it’s not every day you get a ribbon-cutting that features the junior varsity. Was the Shumlin administration not invited? Not informed? Turned away at the door?

3 thoughts on “Much Ado About Meatballs

  1. NanuqFC

    Maybe the Shumsters were in Paris? Or recuperating from jet lag on their return? After all, good ole boy Phil (or maybe Capo Phil, flanked by his henchman Mazza and sub lt.Turner (both representing districts potentially affected by the new factory) is acting Gov whenever Shummy goes out of state. Which brings up the question of scheduling, as in was this little announcement scheduled to take advantage of the Gov’s absence in order to shine a halo on da Capo.

    Would be interesting to find out what Bove received from the legislators by way of enticements to bring his production facility home: promises of reduced taxes under a Republican governor, or something more substantial?

  2. walter moses

    Is the Shumlin administration the “varsity” team? According to John Walters, I guess. Why then do they play in the pee wee league?


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