One of the most eye-opening resuls from last month’s VPR Poll concerned substance abuse. When respondents were asked to name “the most important problem facing Vermont,” 17 percent named “drugs.” The only other issue scoring higher than six percent was “economy/jobs/cost of living” at 28 percent. And when asked specifically if opiate addiction is a major problem, a massive 89 percent agreed.
Even more striking were the figures for personal connections to opioid abuse. 53 percent have been affected by opiate addiction or know someone who has. And 94 percent “personally know” someone who has struggled with addiction.
Practically the entire state.
If we needed convincing that opiate addiction is a serious problem, we shouldn’t anymore.
But let’s take another pervasive issue of a similar scope. An issue that’s usually lost in the white noise, that’s never been the subject of a State of the State address.
In the runup to Tuesday’s primary, I suggested that Peter Galbraith’s candidacy could backfire on his allies in the anti-renewable camp. I thought he was likely to finish a poor third, and that could damage the antis’ claim to represent a sizable and growing force in Vermont politics.
Turns out, they may be loud but they’re not terribly numerous. Galbraith did worse than I thought, finishing with a mere nine percent of the Democratic primary vote.
It remains to be seen if Galbraith’s poor showing diminishes the pull of groups like Vermonters for a Clean Environment and Energize Vermont; but it sure can’t help them.
I can almost hear them arguing that their numbers were split among Galbraith and Republicans Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman. But even if Scott wins the governorship, Democrats will hold the legislative power, and they should be unimpressed by the small number of anti-wind voters in Democratic ranks.