Daily Archives: February 10, 2022

More of This, Please

This piece of news made me much happier than it should have. I mean, it’s only one guy running for one seat in the State Senate.

But in his single term in the House, Nader Hashim distinguished himself in a pretty damn strong freshman class. He stepped aside in 2020 but now he’s ready to return, and I’ve gotta say I’m rooting for him.

It’s not a full-throated endorsement because we don’t yet know who else is running for Windham County’s two Senate seats, at least one of which will be vacant (Becca Balint running for Congress, Jeanette White undeclared on a re-election bid). But I’m certain that Hashim would be a valuable addition to the staid, stuffy, senior-laden Senate.

Our Most Barnacle-Encrusted Deliberative Body is so tenure-heavy that an entire generation of promising politicians have seen their way blocked by this or that immovable object. It’s a very talented generation, too. I’ll name some names in a moment.

Seniority has its advantages, and I’m not ignoring them. We need lawmakers who’ve been around the block a few times and know how the process works. But you need new blood as well, and the Senate is far too heavy on the older side of the ledger.

The average age of our 30 Senators is 64. There are three under 40, one of whom (Kesha Ram Hinsdale) is leaving to run for Congress. We’ve got two more in their 40s, and one of those (Chris Pearson) is about to turn 50. There are five Senators in their 50s, and two in their early 60s.

Everybody else — eighteen of the 30 — is at or over 65.

When you look at the chairs of the 12 policy committees, it’s even more extreme. Average age: 73. There is one chair — count ’em, one — under age 65.

The Senate would be stronger, more creative, and more representative of Vermont if a bunch of those people would just go ahead and retire, already. They seem to think they’re irreplaceable. Trust me, they’re not.

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