Tag Archives: Phil Scott

Strap a Rocket to His Backside

The second-biggest winner of the campaign cycle so far is (I would argue) Mike Pieciak, newly-minted Democratic nominee for Treasurer. (Lovely 8-bit illo courtesy of Epicenter, a podcast devoted to blockchain, cryptofinance, and other stuff I am blissfully ignorant about.)

I say so despite, and because of, the fact that he sailed unopposed to the nomination.

I completely underestimated the guy. When he entered the race, I saw him as the unknown technocrat who, like Chris Winters, would be vulnerable to a Democratic officeholder with relevant expertise. Kitty Toll, perhaps. Shap Smith. Mitzi Johnson. Etc.

Turned out he wasn’t another Winters. He was another Beth Pearce, a technocrat who blossomed into a political force.

Or maybe it was there all along, and I wasn’t in a position to see his appeal to Democrats of all stripes. As it turned out, Pearce quickly endorsed Pieciak and nobody else even tried to enter the race. (H. Brooke Paige falls into the category of “nobody.”)

Pieciak will be our next Treasurer, and it’s absolutely not out of bounds to see him as a viable gubernatorial candidate in a few years’ time. Maybe even 2024.

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The Money Race: Gubernatorial

Second in a series on the July 1 campaign finance reports. The first installment covered the race for lieutenant governor.

We’re livin’ in an upside-down world, I tell ya.

There are six campaigns for statewide office. Second from the bottom, from a fundraising perspective, is the race for governor.

Yep.

Gov. Phil Scott and Brenda Siegel have raised a combined total of $82K. The only cheaper campaign is Auditor Doug Hoffer’s bid for re-election. He has raised precisely zero dollars in the past year. He carried forward a $1,115 surplus from 2020; he’s spent $862 of that, including a $200 donation to the Vermont Democratic Party. I guess he’s not worried about taking on H. Brooke Paige or whatever patsy the VTGOP digs up to take Paige’s place.

Otherwise? The six candidates for lieutenant governor have raised a combined $324K, including a paltry $16K for the two Republicans. The two Democrats running for attorney general check in at $154K. The three Dems competing for Secretary of State have raised a combined $120K. And good ol’ MIke Pieciak, running all by his lonesome for the Democratic nomination to succeed Beth Pearce, has raised $106K.

Meanwhile, the race for governor tootles along below the radar.

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Just Shut Up, Phil (And Other Observations)

“Deeply disappointed,” my ass.

As long as he continues to voluntarily wear the Republican badge, Gov. Phil Scott is in no position to bemoan the disastrous Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Besides, he has no power whatsoever to make anything happen about this. In fact, I assume that if he had his way, we’d elect Christina Nolan to the U.S. Senate, which would be one more nail in the coffin of reproductive rights.

Indeed, if those pesky rumors about a Phil Scott run for Congress had come true (and he’d won, which could have happened because Nice Guy), he’d be helping his party retain or expand Congressional majorities, which would mean even more anti-choice judges.

“I signed a law”… that the Democratic Legislature pushed through with no help from your fellow Republicans. “I will be voting for that amendment,” but the vast majority of your fellow Republicans won’t be. You can roll your disappointment up real tight and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

Phil Scott likes to pretend that his party has gone off the rails fairly recently. Say, with the nomination of Donald Trump. Problem is, his party has been working to overturn Roe v. Wade since the 1991 confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. He was nominated by George H.W. Bush. Justices Alito and Roberts were nominated by George W. Bush. The other three radical judicial activists were installed by Trump and Mitch McConnell.

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One of These Things Is Not Like The Other, Or Even Like Itself

Gov. Phil Scott must be feeling extra invulnerable right now. On Monday he decides not to appoint new state’s attorneys in two counties because it’s too close to the next election; on Wednesday he appoints a new Attorney General even though Election Day is even closer. He’s not even bothering to be subtle about it.

Scott declined to appoint anyone to the SA vacancies in Addison and Rutland Counties because there’s not enough time left in the SA’s term. It would create continuity issues, supposedly. Instead, the current interim occupants will serve out the remainder of the time.

Meanwhile, Scott is parachuting administration stalwart Susanne Young into the attorney general’s office to serve out the remainder of TJ Donovan’s term even though Donovan’s chief deputy Joshua Diamond is right there in place to, um, provide continuity. In a much more important and complex office.

So what is Scott doing here? Hell if I know, but I have a guess or two.

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Governor Nice Guy Is Channelling His Inner Asshole Again

Gov. Phil Scott sent a letter to Legislative leaders on Thursday that was a tour de force of passive aggressiveness. In it, he said he was signing H.720 despite “a significant error” (italics his). What’s more, he alleged that this was just one of a series of unacceptably typo-ridden bills that has him questioning the Legislature’s basic competence.

As usual with his periodic coruscations of outrage, it’s overstated, mean-spirited and misses the point.

Funny thing for Mr. Nice Guy to be doing over and over again.

Scott felt compelled to express his displeasure despite the fact that the Legislature had already acknowledged the error and promised to fix it in 2023, via a well-established process to correct a bill that didn’t quite hit the bullseye.

The letter is pure condescension through and through. After slamming the Legislature over H.720, he goes on to infer that there were a bunch of bills with typos and mistakes. He doesn’t enumerate them, of course; I interpret that to mean it’s a pretty short list with picayune problems.

Scott concludes by expressing his hope that the 2023 Legislature “will resolve to have a better managed process with greater attention to detail.”

Well, la di da, Mr. Perfect.

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Was This Phil Scott’s Dumbest Veto?

Gov. Phil Scott has been wearing out the old veto pen this year. He’s rejected a total of 11 bills this year, bringing his lifetime total to 35 according to VTDigger. He has nearly doubled the previous record-holder, Howard Dean, who amassed his 20 vetoes in 11 years. It’s taken Scott less than six years to rack up 35.

Scott has vetoed bills on questionable grounds before. But number 35 may be his dumbest one to date. H.728 would have ordered studies of a number of drug-related issues. But the one Scott objected to was a study of overdose prevention sites — places where people can use illicit drugs without fear of arrest.

I mean, c’mon, a study? The Legislature’s time-honored strategy for postponing tough decisions? What’s so objectionable about preparing a report that’s probably going to wind up sitting on a shelf gathering dust, or whatever the digital equivalent might be?

Well, if you look at his veto message, it appears that he misinterpreted the bill in a very fundamental way.

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VTDigger’s Twitter Account Calls Gubernatorial Race Five Months Early

Well, that settles it. Phil Scott has won re-election to a fourth term as governor.

He has, according to VTDigger’s Twitter feed, which assumes that legislative Democrats will once again face Phil Scott veto threats in 2023. Here’s the entire tweet:

Yup, it’s confirmed in the text beneath the photo of the Statehouse dome as seen through autumn (?) leaves. Phil Scott, re-elected. Brenda Siegel might as well pack up her tent and head home.

Seems like a teeny-tiny breach of journalistic principle, does it not? Calling the election five months before it happens?

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This Should Be a Very Good Year for the VDP

Recently I was talking with a couple of friends in the #vtpoli world, and I casually remarked that 2022 should be a good year for the Vermont Democratic Party. I thought it was kind of obvious, but I was met with puzzled looks. So I explained my reasoning. And I thought that if the VDP’s advantage is less obvious than I thought, maybe it needs to be explained in this space.

I’ve got six reasons for seeing a big 2022 ahead for the Dems. Let’s start with their inherent advantage in the Vermont electorate. Statewide, a generic Democrat starts out with at least a 10-point edge over any Republican not named Phil Scott. In the Legislature, the Dems consistently hover right around the two-thirds mark — usually just above in the Senate, just below in the House. But at worst, they can expect to hold more than 60% of all legislative seats. (It must be really depressing to be a Republican lawmaker, knowing you have little influence and no prospects.)

Other factors give the Dems an even bigger edge in this particular year. Like Proposition 5 and the U.S. Supreme Court. When Democrats proposed enshrining reproductive rights in the state constitution, it seemed kind of superfluous. I mean, who’s going to ban abortion in reliably blue Vermont? Now, with the high court’s majority trending in a Handmaid’s Tale direction, reproductive rights are in question. Even before Alito Mussolini’s decision was leaked, Vermont Democrats saw Prop 5 as a turnout-booster in a non-presidential election year. Now, reproductive rights are front and center and Prop 5 is, as they say about police procedurals, “ripped from the headlines.” It should galvanize pro-choice voters.

After the jump: Money, organization, an unprecedented campaign season, and a unique Democratic resource.

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Maybe This Will Make Democrats Stop Voting for Phil Scott. Eh, Probably Not.

This is the elevated “thoughts and prayers” statement posted on Gov. Phil Scott’s Twitter feed in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting. It follows a trajectory parallel to statements by other Republicans elsewheres. Scott is more moderate than they are, but not in a way that will make a material difference.

The statement hasn’t aged well, considering that we’ve seen two Vermont schools locked down following threats of mass shootings in the ensuing two days. In one case, the principal had to postpone a student walkout over gun violence because of the threat of gun violence. If that’s not a Catch-22, I don’t know what is.

Scott says he “struggled to find the words.” I can understand why: He has nothing to offer besides a shattered heart and a wrenched gut, both metaphorical. He has nothing because he wants to do nothing. It’s clear he opposes any further state legislation. Instead, he wants the nation to follow Vermont’s alleged example.

Yeah, that’ll fix it.

Problem is, Vermont isn’t terribly distinguished in this area.

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Where Manly Men Hold Sway — UPDATED and Even More Manly

Typical meeting of the Fish & Wildlife Board (Artist’s Rendering)

Here’s another thing that won’t change until Phil Scott isn’t governor anymore: The state Fish & Wildlife Board is chock-full of hunters, almost all of them men.

Scott recently appointed three new people to the 14-member board (one member from each county). All three were hunters. All three were men. The makeup of the board: 11 men, three women.

Correction: It’s 12 men and two women. Maybe.

The F&W Board webpage listing the members has a typo. “Nicholas Burnham” is spelled “Nichola Burnham.” I jumped to the conclusion that “Nichola” was female.

Also, I’ve been told that Board member Nancy Mathews has resigned. I haven’t been able to verify that. If true, the makeup of the board is 12 men, ONE woman and a vacancy.

Generally speaking, Scott has done a very good job of appointing women to top positions in his administration. But apparently that notion of equity doesn’t apply to deer camp.

The Board’s gender imbalance is concerning; surely there are more than three qualified women in Vermont. But more concerning from a policy viewpoint is the administration’s clear preference for loading the Board with hunters. As if they are the only ones whose opinions matter.

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