Tim Ashe, former Senate President Pro Tem and current deputy state auditor, stepped right into it Sunday afternoon. He immediately tried to step back, but the shit was plastered all over his shoe.
Ashe, who is widely expected to run for [insert office here] sometime soon, put out a Tweet criticizing Democrats (not directly by name; he might be running in a party primary any day now) for failing to enact paid family leave.
Nice try. The problem is, as anyone who’s been following Vermont politics for more than about five minutes knows, is that under his leadership the Senate was the biggest obstacle in the path of paid leave. For several years running, as Democrats were trying to enact paid leave and a minimum wage increase, the House favored leave and the Senate favored wage. Each effectively stood in the way of the other. And Ashe repeatedly raised objections to paid leave.
After a bunch of Tweeters called him out, Ashe quickly deleted the tweet. Unfortunately for him, screenshots are a thing.
Takeaways from today’s gubernatorial debate on women’s issues, viewable here…
1. Bill Lee has nothing to contribute to this campaign.
2. Phil Scott offers empathy, but no ideas or policies on women’s issues.
3. Sue Minter’s getting good at this.
And finally, and most importantly,
4. This debate shows why we need more women in political office.
Let’s take ‘em in order.
Firstly, Bill Lee is a joke of a candidate, even by the oddball standards of Vermont small-party politics. He arrived late, delaying the start of the debate by about 15 minutes. He’d done nothing to prepare. He had little to say on the issues. His answers meandered all over the place. At one point, he appeared to utterly forget the question and just rambled on until his time was up. And here are a few examples of the Spaceman’s forthcoming entry in Bartlett’s:
This year’s election will trigger a turnover at the top perhaps unprecedented in Vermont history. A new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and new heads of the House and Senate will all be in place by next January. And heading into the campaign, Vermont’s two major parties are offering completely different visions of the state of our state and the mood of its people.
Republicans see Vermonters as tired of high taxes, government intrusion, and the restless reformism (as they see it) of the Shumlin administration.
You’d expect Democrats to be treading cautiously. They are in the tightrope position of simultaneously defending their tenure in power, and crafting a distinctive profile going forward. Not to mention its persistently strong incrementalist tendencies.
However. Driven by Bernie Sanders’ overwhelming success in our primary, the party is moving leftward. There is a sense that Vermonters are ready for even more decisive change, even more government, a more aggressive push to lift up the downtrodden and blunt the sharp edges of capitalism.
Andrew Cuomo gets a lot of grief in progressive circles. New York’s Governor has engaged in a petty spat with progressive New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. He created an ethics commission that began cleaning up the Augean stable of Albany politics — and then kneecapped the panel when things got a little too close for comfort. He’s been accused of excessive coziness with Wall Street and big business.
But damn if he didn’t just deliver a couple of big policy initiatives that seem downright unattainable in allegedly progressive Vermont.
On the last day of March, the New York State Legislature finalized a budget deal that included not only a promise to raise the minimum wage to $15, but also the nation’s newest — and by far its strongest and most comprehensive — bill mandating paid-family-leave time for most employees.
That’s right. While Vermont politicos are patting each other on the back for passing a much smaller minimum-wage hike and a minimal paid-sick-leave measure, New York has leapfrogged us (and the nation) on both.