Tag Archives: Tim Jerman

Party of One

The leader of the State House’s perpetually undersized Republican caucus is feeling his oats.

[House] Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, said he believes the Republican Party can increase its presence in the chamber from the current 53 seats to 76 — a majority.

I understand it’s part of his job to put on a brave face, but there is no way on God’s green Earth that the Republicans rack up a net gain of 23 House seats. After all, 2014 was a horrible year for Vermont Democrats; their ticket-topper was the roundly unpopular Peter Shumlin, there was no race for President or U.S. Senator, and turnout was dramatically depressed. And even with all that in their favor, the VTGOP only managed a net gain of eight seats in the House.

Eight.

And 2016 should be a bounceback year for the House Democrats. (More on this below.)

There’s also the inconvenient fact that the House Republicans’ campaign warchest appears to be in the red. According to its most recent campaign finance filing, the Vermont House Republican PAC has raised $5,095 this campaign cycle and spent $7,832.74. That dip into penury was triggered by an Attorney General’s ruling that the PAC had improperly accepted contributions from lobbyists during the legislative session. It had to return $3,000 in donations and pay a $2,000 fine.

So, no help there. But it’s not like the VHRPAC is alone. Pretty much every Republican aside from Phil Scott is begging for spare change.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Last one out of House leadership, turn out the lights

Welp. Earlier this week, House Democratic caucus stalwart Tim Jerman announced he wouldn’t run for re-election. Today, Tony Klein, longtime chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, did the same. And since he’s actually my State Rep and I made some comments about Jerman, I’d better do the same for Klein.

Clearly, the Dr. Evil Lookalike Contest will be a wide-open affair in next year’s caucus. Otherwise, the House is losing a staunch advocate for renewable energy. Which, in some people’s eyes, really does make him Dr. Evil. For me, he’s a champion who has worked hard, and mostly quietly, to keep Vermont progressing toward a renewable future.

He told Seven Days’ Terri Hallenbeck that he actually made the decision early this year, but waited until the session was further along before going public. The timing will allow potential candidates to make plans before the late-May filing deadline.

He will have one more Sisyphean task to complete: trying to clean up the hash of an energy siting bill passed by the Senate last week. I bet he’s looking forward to a close examination of that turd. (On that note, he told VTDigger that he hopes to “remain involved in the energy field and the solid waste field.” Yeah, he’s been shoveling the manure for quite a few years now.)

But he’s used to it, and he faces legislative challenges with a smile and the occasional sarcastic remark.

Continue reading

A departure not to be overlooked

A new name has joined the growing list of political departures in Vermont. Last night, Rep. Tim Jerman informed constituents in Essex that he would not seek re-election to the House. He’s been in the House for twelve years, and has been a valued player in the Democratic caucus leadership team.

Nothing dramatic in his announcement; “It’s time to pass the torch,” he wrote in a message to his email list. “We have a strong bench locally to keep us moving forward.”

Tim’s not flashy or self-promoting. He’s what I call a glue guy, one of those people who tries to make the party and the system work better. Those people don’t grab headlines, but they play a crucial role in the political process. The job of the next House Speaker just got a little bit harder.

He’s a vice chair of the Vermont Democratic Party. For the past several years, he has served as the liaison between the House Democratic caucus and the state party executive committee. Myself, I hope he sticks around in his party role; it can use good people like him, people with more principle than ego.

The superdelegate schmozz

Having proven its electoral mettle in the New Hampshire primary, the Bernie Sanders campaign is apparently now just realizing that the Democratic Party’s nominating process is not entirely, well, democratic. 

Of the nearly 4,500 delegates who will cast a vote at next July’s Democratic National Convention, an estimated 713 of them are so-called “superdelegates” — party muckety-mucks who can vote however they please.

And surprise, surprise: a lot of the muckety-mucks are backing Hillary Clinton. Resulting in this seeming contradiction:

Bernie Sanders lost by a hair in Iowa and won by a landslide in New Hampshire. Yet Hillary Clinton has amassed an enormous 350-delegate advantage over the Vermont senator after just two states.

That’s because more than half of the unelected superdelegates have endorsed Clinton — although they are under no legal obligation to vote for her at the convention.

All of which prompts outrage in the Sanders camp. Outrage you might expect me to share.

Well, sorry, but I don’t.

Continue reading

A heartbreaking tale of innocence defiled

Pity poor Paul Dame, freshman Republican lawmaker, whose blissful ignorance was suddenly and violently stripped away as he was forced to the disheartening realization that politicians sometimes do political things.

Well, that’s the charitable interpretation of his opinion piece, entitled “Stop the Blame Game,” posted on VTDigger this week. The uncharitable view is to see it as a cynical attempt to seize the high road and ignore reality in the process.

Dane is reacting to an opinion piece written by Rep. Tim Jerman, vice chair of the Vermont Democratic Party, which accused the Republicans of putting their “negativity machine… in full gear,” and “trashing the… achievements of the 2015 Vermont Legislature.”

Dame is indignant over Jerman’s “partisan and inflammatory” essay that lowers itself to “partisan name-calling” instead of working together to meet the challenges facing Vermont.

Shocking, I know, that a top Democrat would try to attack Republicans. Mr. Dame is either the freshest babe in the legislative woods, or he’s being deliberately mendacious. Because if you take a gander at recent statements from the Vermont Republican Party, you see a consistent pattern of partisan attack.

Dame effectively accuses Jerman of poisoning the well of bipartisan cooperation. Truth is, the Republicans have been pissing in that well for months and months. And somehow Dame is surprised — nay, shocked — that Jerman might actually decide to respond in kind.

To illustrate my point, let’s take a stroll down the Memory Lane of VTGOP press releases.

Continue reading

The Speaker did it… in the hallway… with a soft cushion.

The New Hampshire legislature has a fine old phrase I’ve never heard anywhere else: “Inexpedient to Legislate.” It’s the graveside pronouncement uttered just before a bill disappears from view, perhaps never to be seen again. At least not for a long time. If Vermont had such a phrase, it’d be time to invoke it solemnly over the moldering corpse of H.76, the bill to ban teacher strikes. Neal Goswami of the Vermont Press Bureau:

Democratic leaders are maneuvering to amend a bill slated to hit the House floor Wednesday by replacing language that calls for a ban on teacher strikes and the imposition of labor contracts by school boards with a study.

Ah, the study. The favorite murder weapon of backroom dealmaking. H.76’s primary sponsor, Burlington Republican Kurt Wright, sees the writing on the wall and is not happy.

“I think that it’s time for us to act. This bill has been around for a long time,” Wright said. “We either want to ban strikes and the imposition of contracts or not.”

The answer there is “not,” at least not on H.76’s terms. As outlined earlier, most Democrats see the bill as fundamentally flawed because it sets up a long, drawn-out process for resolving disputes. And the longer the process, the more it benefits the employer. I doubt that Mr. Wright is mollified by Deputy Assistant Majority Leader Tim Jerman’s assurances that the study would be “unfettered.” Hell, the study itself is the fetter, tying up the inexpedient legislation for as long as necessary.

The House vote on H.76, scheduled for Wednesday, could be interesting. Republicans vow to strongly back the bill as it stands, and they might be able to skim off enough Democrats to make things interesting. On the other hand, the Democratic leadership might be wielding soft cushions when lawmakers gather for a vote.