Tag Archives: Darren Perron

Tears of a Clown

After four years of radio silence, never once speaking to her home-state press, Darcie Johnston emerged from the dank underbelly of the Trump Administration to give a three-minute interview with WCAX’s Darren Perron. During which a tear or three ran down her copious cheek.

(Trigger Warning: This post is going to be kind of mean. All I can say is, she deserves every bit of it.)

Johnston has just concluded an undistinguished four years as a Trump administration political appointee. She was fairly high up in the Department of Health and Human services. And she was deeply involved in the administration’s disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Perron caught her at a vulnerable time, a few hours after she witnessed Trump’s farewell at Andrews Air Force Base. Yep, she was one of the lucky few hundred at the thinly-attended soiree.

Since her chat with Perron was such a rare event, here’s an annotated transcript of her remarks about her tenure in Washington.

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WCAX Gov Debate: Same Song, Different Verse

The governor,his eyes fixed downward as they were throughout the debate.

The final (IIRC) gubernatorial debate of the 2020 campaign happened Wednesday evening on Channel 3. And it was pretty much more of the same: Fairly polite, well spoken, and a clear contrast between Gov. Phil Scott and Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.

Style Moment: Zuckerman looked directly into the camera. Scott never did; he looked downward and to his left throughout the debate. I’d say he was fascinated by Darren Perron’s shoes, except he’s done this at every previous face-off.

On substance, Scott spoke of austerity in the service of keeping Vermont as affordable as possible, something he seems to weigh entirely in terms of the tax burden. He downplayed any dramatic new initiatives that might cost money, unless it’s money from someone else’s pocket. The feds, for instance.

He did bring up his “Cradle to Career” concept, as he has done throughout his governorship and his 2016 campaign. Once again he failed to provide details, which he has consistently refused to do. That’s because the basic idea is to raid the Education Fund to pay for more robust efforts in pre-K, child care and post-high school education, and politically that’s a non-starter.

Scott often spoke vaguely about “needing to do more” without any specifics on issues like broadband, the opioid crisis, and making the state (and government) more diverse. On broadband, he again indicated he would depend on a major federal investment to bring the internet to rural Vermont. “We can’t wait for Congress,” replied Zuckerman.

As he did in previous debates, the Lite-Gov laid out a strong progressive slash Progressive agenda.

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So… Christine.

One of Vermont’s better-known executives came out as transgender last night, in a really good story by WCAX-TV anchor Darren Perron. Top marks to him for an in-depth, unsparing but respectful report, and top marks to WCAX for giving the story a full ten minutes — an eternity on local TV news.

Dave Hallquist, CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, is now Christine Hallquist, the person “I really am,” she said. She told of feeling different from a very young age, but sucking it up and passing as the man she appeared to be — even having a long and successful marriage and raising three children.

What’s becoming clear in 21st Century America is that gender is not a matter of black or white, off or on; it’s a continuum. For perhaps the first time in history*, people on various points of that continuum are beginning to feel free to explore and express their true selves.

*That’s probably a broad overstatement. From the little I know, there have been many human societies more accommodating of gender variety than the contemporary world. Just as “traditional marriage” between one man and one woman is a surprisingly modern phenomenon.

Hallquist’s grown children expressed an honest mixture of confusion, acceptance, and love. Hallquist herself has been effectively closeted for a long time, and is only now stepping into the spotlight as a woman.

The person whose voice was absent from Perron’s report, presumably by her choice, was Hallquist’s wife of 35-plus years, Pat Hallquist.

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