GOP legislative, electoral frustration on display at party barbecue

VT GOP barbecue gathering on State Street earlier this month

by Aubrey Weaver, Community News Service

Earlier this month, In a backyard overlooking Spear Street, dozens of Vermont Republicans watched a four-part performed history of patriotic songs and munched on barbecue beneath an American flag the width of a two-car garage in the leadup to Independence Day. 

It was the state GOP’s third-annual summer cookout, an evening featuring speakers such as New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas. 

Notably absent was Gov. Phil Scott — something that lined up with the uncertainty and frustrations of a party with one of the country’s most popular chief executives but practically no power in its statehouse. 

Coming off the back of particularly upsetting legislative and veto override sessions for Republican-sponsored policy, some attendees were heated about the direction of state politics. 

“We’re angry for a reason, and that’s because we’re completely left out of every conversation,”  said Samuel Douglass, chairman and founder of Vermont’s Young Republicans branch and a state Senate candidate in Orleans County for 2022. “Republicans do make up a percentage of the voters. So you know, if you completely ignore how we feel or our opinions on things then of course we’re going to be a little demoralized.”

Brianna Morgan, a member of the Young Republicans national committee who lives in Vermont, sounded disenchanted about the GOP’s representation in the Statehouse. “It’s hard to watch our legislators go down there and how defeated they are when they get home,” she said. 

Said Douglass: “I don’t understand why our legislature is so intent and so eager to overturn the vetoes of the most popular governor. Yeah, my guess would be that there’s no consequence for them.”

Eli Chevalier, a 32-year-old from St. Albans at the barbeque, shifted some of the blame for Republican policy failure in Montpelier away from legislators: “This also goes to Phil Scott to some degree because he could be out there way more than he is trying to bring awareness to the terrible laws being passed.”

Attendees said Scott had not made an appearance at the barbeque in the three years it has gathered. 

“He’s not a good leader. That’s where I’ll stop myself,” said Chevalier, joking that if he continued the interview would become a Scott “bashing fest.”

Community News Service reached out to Scott’s office repeatedly by phone and email seeking comment for this story but received no reply.

Sentiment against Scott was shared by some other barbeque attendees. Kathleen Dwinell said the governor “does not have enough of a backbone.”

“He doesn’t have Vermont at heart, he isn’t strong,” she said, pointing to policies supported by state Democrats that Scott has signed. 

Dwinell said she wants state lawmakers “to wake up and pay attention to what’s happening, especially with our children, with transgenderism and (diversity, equity and inclusion) being taught in schools, which is a Biden thing. I just get more aggravated every day, and we need to have some backbone here.”

Some attendees indicated they would rather see legislators do less than more these days. “With where we’re at numbers-wise, really the best thing that we can hope for is a whole lot of nothing,” said Morgan, the Young Republicans committee member, “which is not what we’re going to see.” 

Douglass is hoping for “nothing,” too. “(Democrats) don’t give Republicans the time of day, they don’t care about Republicans and don’t care about Republican voters. They want what they want, and they’re going to get what they want.” 

Paul Dame, chair of the state GOP and a former Vermont House representative, had more optimism for Republican lawmakers and the governor, as he explained in an interview with Community News Service before the event. 

“As we move into the 2024 legislative session, we are still looking to address the housing crisis by making it easier to build housing that is affordable,” Dame said. “We think that it was unfortunate that the housing bill that got passed removed important reforms to Act 250.”

Dame stressed the GOP’s goal to advance policy for tax relief, in particular for veterans, and a broader paid leave program. 
“The governor has already kind of taken the lead on that. He’s already put into place a voluntary paid leave program that is already going to be in effect with Vermont state employees,” said Dame.

But Dame leveled about the challenges GOP lawmakers face in Vermont. “Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough Republicans serving in the Legislature to help the governor’s vetoes be successful. And that’s certainly something we’re looking at improving on as we get ready for the 2024 election.”

In the ever-expanding GOP primary at the presidential level, former President Donald Trump continues to lead national polling among Republicans, but at the cookout in Vermont, people were open to alternatives. 

There was strong hesitancy about voting for former President Trump again in 2024 among barbeque attendees interviewed. “Yeah, he might not be the perfect Republican candidate. There’s a reason ‘South Park’ insulted both (Biden and Trump,)” said Douglass. 

Dwinell described “giving consideration” to a lot of the new primary candidates. “I like DeSantis. I thought about Nikki Haley, but I just don’t think she has what it takes.” 

Though like many, if the former president wins the primary, she’ll support him. “I know Trump is a mouth, but he sure did a good job running this country,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.”

Chevalier agreed that Trump comes with baggage as a candidate. “His numbers are only going up, and it’s unfortunate because a lot of people would prefer not him because his mouth’s out of control,” he said. 

“But part of me,” he added, “says, ‘You know, maybe we should put him in because he’s going to flip over some tables.’ And like, I think everybody is pretty much anti-establishment at this point.”

Dame, the state chair, suggested the Vermont party is keeping an open mind about primary options. “We are definitely not universally backing the former president,” said Dame.

He added: “I think one of the things that more and more people are considering is that one of the downsides to electing Trump this time is going to be that he’s only going to be able to serve one term. Republicans have to evaluate whether or not they want to nominate a president who will be a lame duck as soon as he gets elected, or look at a new face who has the potential to serve for eight years.”

The Community News Service is a Vermont news source offered by the University of Vermont that pairs students with professional editors to provide news to small local newspapers at no cost.

Categories: politics

30 replies »

  1. Phil Scott will quietly but actively undermine GOP legislative candidates that do not align with the Democrats on far left social issues.

  2. I mean if you want to know why the GOP is irrelevant in Vermont just read the comment section here or read some of the editorials. If the base came back to earth a little, the GOP would win back seats, but when you’re ranting about CRT, election denying or clutching your pearls over transgenders, you can’t be surprised that most of the state doesn’t take you seriously.

    • You have no idea what you are talking about or the geopolitical power grab occuring globally by non-elected entities, such as the United Nations. For example, a new financial rating system is being implemented globally, which was envisioned by a UN staffer called Environmental, Social, and Governence. The Social component of ESG is Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Equity and Social Justice are United Nations goals. The World Economic Forum is working in partnership with the United Nations. Seeing that Brattleboro just voted to allow minors aka school children to vote, I researched the originals of this political agenda. The World Economic Forum put out a global document stating that young people need to be included in governmental decisions and civic activity because they have been indoctrinated into Social Justice and gender theory. Social Justice is based on critical theory aka CRT. I am more than willing to share the 100s of hours of research and documents that support my statement.

      • The reply I received from Freedom Founders 1776 requested the link to support my comment. I apologize that for some reason I couldn’t copybthi link. Instead I am providing the document name, which is United Nations Our Common Agenda Policy Brief 3 Meaningful Youth Engagement in Policymaking and Decision-making, April 2023.

        UNESCO is a United Nations entity m UNESCO is working with the National Education Association Foundation funded by NEA dues. Yes,the teachers union. They and many other entities are creating educational resources that are trickled down via the teachers union. The purpose of Transitional Social Emotional Learning is to deliver a political education aligned to achievement of the goals of the United Nations.

        I have many documents to share for anyone who wants them. You can check out my website transparencymatters.info and/or email me at transparencymatters.info@gmail.com.

        My website is still underdevelopment but is helpful.

      • How ’bout YOU ] “google” the facts there, FALSE “freedomfounders1776”?

    • CRT is sheer lunacy, baseless, and fantastical. The election system appears rife with fraud; if it’s not – AUDIT it & allow non-partisan experts to examine it. Transgenderism is anti-science & essentially doesn’t exist. MAGA.

  3. It appears some Vermont Republicans suffer an afflication similar to long COVID – it’s a minor case of lingering TDS – the Left being the the super-spreaders of this virus.
    The major symptom is the inability to see the forest through the trees. Unable to distinquish fact from fictional propaganda that causes cognitive dissonence, emotional self-destructive weakness, and memory loss.

    Case in point: “Chevalier agreed that Trump comes with baggage as a candidate. “His numbers are only going up, and it’s unfortunate because a lot of people would prefer not him because his mouth’s out of control,” he said. “But part of me,” he added, “says, ‘You know, maybe we should put him in because he’s going to flip over some tables.’ And like, I think everybody is pretty much anti-establishment at this point.”

    Baggage? Is the baggage and the pithy mouth a direct result of the DNC and RNC military industrial complex establishment? From Day 1, he was always playing defence against a beast system wanting to take him out whichever way possible for the past eight years. If they succeed to take him out, they can take out millions of US citizens and countless others around the world. Blood running everywhere and the stench of death is what they want because that is how they fund the machine. Trump stands in the gap with millions behind him.

    Before 2015, Congressional approval was at an all time low. Eight years under the Obama Administration brought us wars of all types, domestic and foreign. Military hardware sold to our enemies. Dead bodies piling up everywhere around the world. Pallets of cash to Iran. False flags and more dead bodies on American soil. Good times eh?

    One wealthy business man comes out of the ether to expose it all. Yet, some in the weak-kneed, gutless, populace are more concerned about their delicate feelings than the survival of our Republic and humankind. Nevermind the blood-thirsty ghouls looking to elminate you, your family, and your livlihood. No, we must favor the candidate that tickles our ears, lies and cheats with impunity, and keep the status quo right up to our elimination. Wake up now or stay asleep forever. The war is real and the enemy is at your front door.

  4. It’s really sad to read that the comments of the GOP are devoid of acknowledging their biggest problem in Vermont which is the corrupt and chaotic Vermont Election System.

    Vermont’s Election System where ALL Vermont Voters are mailed unrequested ballots controlled by the state, passed in May of 2021 and was signed by the so-called GOP Governor.

    With Vermont as a member of ERIC (non-governmental organization having access to Vermont’s Voter Checklist), no voter ID’S, an election period of 45 days of ballots circulating instead of a single election day, no ballot chain of custody, ballot drop boxes allowed, ballot harvesting allowed and the mandated and flawed electronic vote counting machines, how can voting results be trusted?

    If we cannot know who is actually voting or where the voted ballots are coming from, how do we know who would actually win if the system was fairly set up to be measurable and trustworthy?

    How is Vermont’s Election System constitutional? Why is the Vermont GOP in denial about this? If the Vermont GOP wants to be taken seriously, they should file a lawsuit to pursue a Free, Fair and Trustworthy Vermont Election System that is not corruptible.

    • There are many critiques of the current GOP leadership in VT. But this is by far the most consequential. If you’re too scared of being called an election denier in the face of all these opportunities for abuse, then you’re too scared to do anything worthwhile (except maybe take money from gullible donors who respond to the latest push poll). There are many things to justifiably criticize Gov Scott for but signing these election reforms into law killed any reasonable prospect of a Republican legislature, for at least a generation. We are all doomed to live with the consequences of whatever extreme proposals the radicals in California, Canada, the UN and elsewhere choose to put on the progressive wish list.

    • And vtbeliever is absolutely correct. The election law changes made in 2020 and 2021 orchestrated by condos, balint and krowinski have had the desired effect. Regardless of any assurances of “fair” elections, the current election laws allow the majority party, whom controls the ballots and rules- assured control over election outcomes. The idea that a voter who shows up at the polls on election day, without the mail in ballot is only allowed to vote provisionally is a very big problem, with a wide margin for fraud.
      As to the current state of the VTGOP, it is merely an annoyance to the elitist legislator in Montpelier, to be disregarded such as our governor is.

  5. Paul Dame, Jim Douglas, Chris Sununu. Sounds like a RINO BBQ to me. Trump will be the Republican nominee from Vermont and all that will be left of the Vermont Republican Party will be RINOs with sticky BBQ sauce on their fingers and no show Phil as their leader.

    TRUMP 2024
    I am your Voice.
    I am your Warrior.
    I am your Justice.
    I am your Retribution.

  6. Freedom Founders 1776 requested a link to the document I referenced. This was actually a United Nations document called United Nations Our Common Policy Brief 3 Meaningful Youth Engagement and Decision-making. I was unable to copy the link. You can email me at transparencymatters.info@gmail.com and I will share this and other documents or check out my website transparencymatters.info. I have some links posted there. Although, I have far material. I tried to respond once but my comment didn’t post, so I am posting again. Should two similar posts show, this was not my intent.

  7. First of all, the titular head of the Vermont republican party can’t find the time to attend the parties’ annual picnic for three years in a row. He won’t even comment as to why. Second, referring to the gov as the most popular governor in the country is BS. He got 70% of the votes not because he’s loved, it’s because his opponents were all moon bats. If he’s so popular, where is his support for his vetoes? The party operates without a leader.

    These young republicans so triggered by Trump’s no BS approach is typical of today’s youth. Going along to get along has destroyed the party. These republicans enjoy being trampled over because they never fight the good fight to stop this evil that has permeated our state.

    Then you get the usual RINOs, Douglas (who I always supported) now a never Trumper and supporter of the weakest governor Vermont has ever had. Sununu, who NH can’t wait to get rid of and Paul Dane trying to lead the party with no help from the governor or the rest of the dinosaurs at the top positions in the party. What could go wrong, everything that has and will continue.

    Okay, I’m a dinosaur whose been around a long time watching my state crumble and die under the weakness of the republican party that led Vermont for 109 years before the carpetbagger invasion. It makes me sick to watch as there’s no gain, no fight and no leadership to take on the progressive craziness that is and has destroyed this once free and beautiful state. There’s no shame in these republican leaders. All they do is gather to point fingers at others and of course Donald Trump who was persecuted from day one when he announced for president. Of course, they can’t deny that he did great things for the country. So he wasn’t bought and paid for and indebted to the republican establishment, they were all afraid he would squash the good old boy and girl grift party in DC so they had to destroy him and are still trying while the Biden crime family is kneed deep in organized crime. Yes, I’m disgusted.

    • Thank you Dano …… well said.

      Unfortunately, Paul Dame thinks he has to be loyal to our weak and feckless Vermont Governor, because he deems himself to be a Republican.

      The Vermont Republican Party Leadership says nothing while Scott signs destructive bills with no fight such as S-15 that remade our state election system into a chaotic and corrupt mess equal to that of a banana republic.

      While they ignore this very foundational and important issue, they promote the Republican Party like it stands for something people want to take part in. If we don’t have any reason to have confidence or trust in our state election system,
      why bother voting?

  8. First, let’s just establish this: Scott is NOT a republican, he is a somewhat fiscally conservative democrat. I am no longer a republican. I have walked away from the uni-party. I am now a libertarian in the Jeffersonian sense. If you’re not hurting another, fine. If you sink your own ship, find some trustworthy friends to help, don’t expect help from the government. Perhaps someday if the GOP can find a way to be distinct from the dem/progs and return to true principles of a constitutional republic I may consider returning…until then I’m lost to the GOP. Settling for the lessor of two evils is still settling for evil…I won’t do it.

  9. So, what comes first the chicken or the egg?

    Is it the populace or the party?

    What can we do?

    What is being done?

    What happens when you have a losing sports team?
    What happens when you have a failing business?

    How does one turn around a failing business or a losing sports team?

    What is being done with the VTGOP?

    Vermont is in a very unique position, when the VTGOP in Vermont is victorious, we will have found the secret sauce to repent from our local and national ways of corruption, lobbyists and minions of the NWO…..so it’s a worthy goal, a worthy cause, truth and love always are.

    If this were a failing little league team, we’d all know what to do.
    If this were a failing creemee stand, we’d all know what to do.

    If you have no money, no support, no people, no plan, on might come to the conclusion that there is a leadership problem. You are making something that 112,704 people in Vermont won’t contribute toward, yet they’ll pull the lever for somebody the party leader voted against and publicly stated so for the world to know.

    A business would declare bankruptcy and start over.
    A little league with no players would start over.

    It’s time for a do over. At least have the dignity to let some others try something new and fail. The same plan and same 2 decades long failure is getting old.

    • One thing rings true in Vermont, ignorance is bliss. Programming and social engineering works on the populace. An influx of young, social justice warriors and community activists have infiltrated every office in government, NGOs and non-profits. Vermont cannot exist without Federal pork and the Federal government is a cartel, a killing machine syndicate. Vermont is not the only State tied to the dirtiest of all money. All of New England is locked up, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Wisconsin…literally every State in the Union has major corruption. Why? All annual meetings of The Governors Association, and any State executive branch confab is where these plans are shared. All the money doled out in the District of Corruption is given with instructions and scripts. No change will occur until the entire rotten,corrupted Federal government is dismantled and sanitized. We are at that precipice. They know it. All we are seeing now is chicken dancing in a futile attempt to avoid what is coming at them like a cosmic 2×4 slamming into their craniums.

  10. One only has to look to the US House to see what would happen if Republicans were in control instead of Democrats. This is exactly what would happen in VT and I guarantee you that Phil Scott would veto just as many Republican backed bills as he would Democratic bills that didn’t represent humanity and fiscal responsibility. He is the best thing that has ever happened to this state; a true human being first and a politician second. Maybe he didn’t attend the barbeque this year because he was too busy bailing out his neighbors.

    You want to take back the legislature? Put up better Republican candidates and Independent voters like me will mail in at least one or more ballots voting for he, she or it.

    • Please take a closer look at the bills Scott has signed with no opposition like the very important one in May of 2021 that broke our state election system. How do we know who is really winning elections if we don’t know who is really voting?

      Vermont is now a paying member of a non-governmental organization (ERIC) and allows them access to the state voter checklist. WHY?

      We now have no ballot chain of custody or voter ID’s. Instead of election day, we now have election month and a half with ballots circulating through the United States Postal Service for 45 days. We now allow ballot harvesting and 24 hour ballot drop boxes. We now have questionable, state mandated vote counting machines.

      Why would Scott freely sign and agree to a bill that remade our election system into a chaotic, corrupt, immeasurable and untrustworthy mess?

  11. We actually have Serious issues in Vermont , Not Only did Govenor Scott commit Treason but Most os the Republican legislature and all the Democrats went along with it .
    It was Pathetic to bring in Chris Sununu ,another Treasonous ,Governor spewing talk of Unity and less Divisiveness .
    That is Rhino Trash Talk , Echoing Biden himself . Chris Sununu when removing himself from the Presidential Run after being found Complicit of not answering Subpoenas as to his Having 9 Innocent citizens Arrested in NH tweeted out his App Add as to Defeating Trump was More Important than running for Office .

    Opinion I’m not running for president in 2024. Beating Trump is more important.
    By Chris Sununu
    June 5, 2023 at 12:07 p.m. EDT


    You will see shenanigans , of Demonrat and Republican Govenors , Joining forces to defeat Trump , I have already seen Utah and Colorodo GOV’s in Unison tweeting Ridiculous Videos together today .
    Uniparty is going to go Hole Hog to Defeat Trump .
    Mainly because they are all Establishment Criminals . Selected not Elected .
    All the More Reason to Vote Trump 2024 .

    FYI he won 2020 as well .
    POS gov Scott Voted for Pedo Pete
    and Dreams to run all the Trump Supporters out of Vermont , Echoed by Republican Joe Benning .
    Good Luck with That
    Bring it Boys

  12. Anyone Running down the Vermont GOP is just an NPC ( Non Playable Character ) , Perhaps you could Participate and help be Part of the Solution , we Have many Good People , The Old Empty Suits will soon realize they were Poisoned by the Coerced Jabbs ,

    You will find me still wearing a 2020 Trump Hat .
    at GOP meetings

  13. I tell you right now republican will lose big in ‘24. The dems are highly organized well oiled & funded machine. The republican are unfunded Un organized and adrift. They are doing nothing to organize the town committee. The Washington county committee is not even on life support. And spineless Phil is out fantasizing about Maxine waters naked.

  14. See there are many in VERMONT who do know what is going on, this person would clearly be a good county or town rep for the Vt GOP.there are many that can see the 20,000 ft view, their actions fit perfectly with the plan that is written out for all to see. VERMONT is getting played.

  15. I wonder how many other comments are being moderated on this article and others? Still waiting on one to come through.

      • Good to know, still waiting…hopefully word press isn’t using AI, the new way to censor and control speach. Guy your work is excellent and much needed, thank you for all you do

    • I’m not having a good day unless my comments ARE moderated! Sorry Guy🫠

  16. We have an open primary, if the VTGOP were serious about change, they’d have every Vermont republican vote for Kennedy. That demonstration alone would put fear into the Montpelier swamp, it would galvanize people, it would do no damage to our main candidate, it would be hedging our bets, hopefully helping two candidates who are not mired in the swamp.

    There are so many thing we could be doing that cost no money and could make a huge difference……..people are in the know, they want to do something, they want change. The commenters in Vermont, I’d say on a whole are two levels above other states….we are steeped in their B.S. like no other state….

    We are small, we are defensible. We don’t need to sell out.

    They have nothing they can do against truth and love, it’s their kryptonite, that’s why they censor and have cancel culture, because they are weak bullies.