Mr. Kenney Declines (UPDATED With Fresh Perfidy)

The busy beavers at the Vermont ACLU are giving some attention to the seldom-considered races for state’s attorney, especially the contested primaries in Addison, Chittenden, and Washington Counties. They’ve distributed an issues questionnaire, and they’re sponsoring a candidate forum on July 28 featuring the candidates from those three counties.

Well, most of them, anyway.

Declining to participate in the forum, you’ll be shocked to learn, is Ted Kenney, challenger to Chittenden incumbent Sarah Fair George and advocate of a vaguely defined admixture of reform and lock-’em-up.

Kenney also failed to return the ACLU’s candidate survey.

I guess it’s no surprise, since the ACLU supports the kind of reforms that George has championed. But it’s disappointing. I mean, if Kenney is tough enough to clean up Chittenden County, surely he’s got the cojones (or ovaries, if you prefer) to handle a skeptical encounter with a legitimate advocacy group.

Late add. I’ve been told that Kenney repeatedly stiffed the Chittenden County Democrats, who invited him to a forum. He told them he couldn’t make any of the suggested dates but never proposed any alternatives. So there’s that.

Or maybe he’s worried about blowing his cover. He might have the backing of police unions and The Good People of Chittenden, but he can’t come across as too retrograde for the Democratic primary electorate. Under the ACLU spotlight, he might let his smiley-face mask slip a little and reveal the cold, dead eyes within.

But it’s not a good look. George answered in the affirmative on economic justice, discouraging racial profiling, police accountability, transparency and de-felonizing drug possession. Across the page, Kenney REFUSED TO RESPOND (caps ACLU’s).

Recall that Kenney campaigned publicly alongside ex-cop Travis Trybulski, who became an ex-cop after George filed a Brady letter branding him as an unreliable witness. (In fact, George leads all state’s attorneys in writing Brady letters, which maybe has something to do with the police unions backing Kenney. Heaven forbid the cops be held accountable. 

To be fair (briefly) to Kenney, he was far from the only one who REFUSED TO RESPOND to the survey. (He is, however, the only Democratic candidate in Addison, Chittenden or Washington who won’t take part in the Thursday forum.) A truly unfortunate number of candidates couldn’t be bothered to complete the five-question survey. I mean, how long could it take?

One of the two Dems running for Washington County SA, Bridget Grace, didn’t respond. A whole bunch of incumbents couldn’t be bothered which, heck, they rarely bother to campaign, so sure are they of being returned to office no matter what. The incumbent non-responders include Bennington’s Erica Marthage, Caledonia’s Jessica Zaleski, Vince Illuzzi of Essex, Grand Isle’s Douglas DiSabito, Jennifer Barrett of Orleans, Ian Sullivan of Rutland, Tracy Kelly Shriver of Windham and Ward Goodenough of Windham.

That’s more than half the incumbent state’s attorneys sitting out the ACLU survey. I’m sure they’re busy people, but running for re-election is part of the gig. It’s the people’s office. They’re occupants, not rightful owners. They could do the minimum.

As for Kenney, the ACLU survey would have forced him to define himself with more clarity than he’s been comfortable with. He would have had to specify which reforms he agrees with and which he opposes. I guess that was too much of a burden for the guy.



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