Bobby Starr [Reportedly] Goes Off the Deep End

When last we saw nominally Democratic Sen. Bobby Starr, he was pontificating about all the supposedly “able-bodied” homeless folk livin’ it up in state-funded motel rooms when they oughta be goin’ out and gettin’ a job. Or, as he put it, “The able-bodied, it’s time to go to work and have a place for them to work and earn and provide for their own, as far as I’m concerned.”

That was his argument for ending the motel voucher program on schedule this summer. He didn’t say we’re coddling the ungrateful lazy poors, but that was the umistakable message he was sending. Shades of the Welfare Queen.

But wait, there’s more!

Starr reportedly expanded on his asshattery in a conversation after the hearing with Brenda Siegel, housing advocate and 2022 Democratic candidate for governor. We’ve only got Siegel’s word for this, although she says there were other witnesses. But there are good reasons to believe her; she’s still lobbying for a voucher extension in the FY24 budget, and has no motivation at all to slander a lawmaker, not even Bobby Starr.

Siegel posted her account of the exchange <a href="http://<iframe src="; width="500" height="296" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share">on her Facebook page. Highlights follow.

Siegel asked Starr to please use “more humanizing language,” and pointed out that many of the voucher clients have jobs already. His response: “Then why don’t they have somewhere to live. What are they doing with their money?”

Siegel explained that due to Vermont’s housing crisis, rents are extremely high and vacancies are scarce — especially for those trying to emerge from homelessness, not exactly a desirable credential for a prospective tenant. Starr insisted that if the poors were working hard enough, they’d be able to find their own housing.

She then related her own experience with homelessness, including a time when she was working three jobs but still couldn’t make ends meet. And here’s where Starr went off the deep end. Allegedly.

“Well, you must have made bad job choices. You are telling me you worked that much and still didn’t have enough for food sometimes? Yeah right. I doubt you have worked at all.”

Starr continued in that highly insulting vein for some time. Attacking, need I point out, the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer in 2022.

In fact, Starr put a cherry on this shit sundae by pointing out her one-sided defeat at the hands of Gov. Phil Scott.

Now, maybe Starr doesn’t respect Siegel’s candidacy and her willingness to take on a challenge that no other Democrat stepped forward to accept. She took a goddamn bullet for the party, and this is her reward? Any words of condemnation there, Vermont Democratic Party? You’re always quick to issue press releases. How about it?

Not holding my breath. The party knows that Starr holds a seat that would likely go Republican if he were to retire. He may not vote with the party all that often, but he carries the Democratic brand in unfriendly territory and keeps a seat out of opposition hands.

Between that, and the deference bordering on obsequiousness afforded to sitting senators, I don’t foresee any blowback coming Starr’s way. What he ought to do is apologize, but nobody’s going to tell him that.


5 thoughts on “Bobby Starr [Reportedly] Goes Off the Deep End

  1. montpelier28

    Unfortunately that was the gist of what I expected hearing in this story. Thank you for bringing this to our attention tho. Old coot imo lol Hope that’s not a bad word now. Need to look it up. Sorry to whomever I offended if it is. Later.

  2. P.

    I was thinking earlier about horseshoe theory of politics as it relates to the recent words and actions of many Vermont Democrats and the hotel voucher/ housing crisis. Entitled, condescending, smug, belittling “pull yourself up but not if it means I gotta do something”. Just like a whole lot Republicans.
    Horseshoe theory assholes to the right, assholes to left. I detest libertarianism on both sides.
    I wish these jerks would get repeatedly countered by the media with the simple fact there are no vacancies. Then, asked what are people supposed to do when there are no goddam vacancies.
    Thank you for your work covering this issue and providing a space to vent on shitty politicians.

  3. Fubarvt

    “Well, you must have made bad job choices. You are telling me you worked that much and still didn’t have enough for food sometimes? Yeah right. I doubt you have worked at all.”

    This is a typical American attitude toward those who are not a success in life by American standards. It explains why our legislatures can inflict so much cruelty on the less fortunate and the poor and not dive a goddamn about it.

  4. JC

    No political blowback, perhaps. But if he keeps running his mouth while the working-class-to-poverty pipeline keeps flowing, he improves his chances of setting off the wrong person at the wrong time. If he gets knocked on his ass, my first instinct will definitely be to laugh.

  5. lmark5

    I think it might be better to let Essex-Orleans elect a wacko Republican, than to support Starr. Later there might be an opportunity to elect a moderate Dem.
    Brenda Siegel is a fearless champion! She deserves a position of greater power to enable positive change in Vermont.


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