by Dale and Nancy Gassett
The Vermont State Constitution lays out Vermont’s governmental structure and our rights. It is the supreme foundational law of the State of Vermont.
The aim and overall purpose of the Vermont State Constitution is communicated in Article 7. It was written for the common benefit of ALL the people, for equal consideration, equal freedom and equal justice. It is expressly NOT for the advantage or favoritism of a person or set of persons.
Vermonters’ expectations that the Vermont State Constitution will be respected, adhered to and preserved is justified by the oath elected officials take: “To be true and faithful to the State of Vermont and not do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government.”
Vermonters should expect that the lawful process laid out to amend the Vermont State Constitution will be followed by their elected representatives. That process rightfully involves The people of Vermont as having the last say in any proposed changes through a statewide vote.
Some of our present Vermont lawmakers have proposed and voted on two bills that will change the Vermont State Constitution. Rather than following the lawful process laid out to amend the State Constitution, they are flagrantly usurping The people of Vermont, those they are elected to represent.
Requirements necessary to qualify as a voter in Vermont are laid out in the Vermont State Constitution. One requirement is to be 18 years of age and another is to be a United States citizen. Present lawmakers have proposed bills that would allow the voting age to change to 16 years old in Brattleboro and also allow for non-citizens to vote in Montpelier.
Why are lawmakers ignoring the voter qualifications that are clearly written in the Constitution? Why are they ignoring the amendment process and leaving out the people of Vermont? Why are lawmakers trying to pass laws giving advantage and favoritism to certain groups of people in Vermont? We have asked lawmakers these questions and we have not received answers.
If we can’t depend on those we elect to keep their oaths and protect our Constitution and government, how is our state government for The People, By the People? Have lawmakers become the law? Has our government become a government of the lawmakers by the lawmakers?
What is our recourse for these violations of public trust? As laid out in Article 6, it is our citizen function to hold our Elected Officials accountable to the law.
Please contact your lawmakers and give your input on this important matter. The present Windham County area lawmakers who have proposed and agreed by vote to the changes communicated in this letter are:
Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, Windham 2-1 Rep. Emily Long, Windham 5 Rep. Tristan Toleno, Windham 2-3 Rep. Molly Burke, Brattleboro Rep. Sara Coffey, Vernon/Guilford Rep. Michael Mrowicki, Putney Rep. Carolyn Partridge, Windham 3
There are many more Vermont Lawmakers who agreed on these changes through two proposed Bills, H.177 and H.361.
The authors live in Vernon.