Rep. Gina Galfetti's Floor Report

Hills to die on – or not

Rep. Gina Galfetti

I pulled up under the long shadow of the Golden Dome with some extra loud AC/DC music blaring “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna Rock n Roll.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I considered the parallel to what seemed like the insurmountable odds it would take to shoot down some of the dark legislation that looms on the horizon. 

Working in the State House for the past few weeks has been a real education. I learned that many deals are brokered in hallways, and people trade alliances in exchange for signatures for co-sponsorship of bills. 

While many of the bills one is asked to sign are seemingly innocent on the surface, one must be careful to think of the bigger implications that a signature has. For instance, will my signature give the other side an opportunity to say that something has tri-partisan support? Or will my constituents have a problem with its implementation? These are the pitfalls that a legislator must navigate while walking on the political tight rope. 

You have to pick your hills to die on, and H.89 was no exception. I do not expect that all of my constituents will agree with my vote of yes on this bill. But if I live to fight another day in a battle of greater consequence, I know that my vote was the proper one. When you are a member of the “super minority,” you have to play your cards very carefully to gain any ground, and H. 89 was a prime example of knowing when to fold ‘em. 

H 89. Is a bill that will extend protection to health care providers that perform, consult on, or otherwise advise or assist in abortion and gender affirming surgeries, from lawsuits brought by other States where such practices are illegal. I stand strong in the opinion that if the people of Vermont and the district I represent have spoken, as they did in the case of Article 22, my hands are pretty much tied. Article 22 had won its place in the Vermont Constitution, and at this point it was not up to me to vote no to protecting medical providers. Furthermore, I believe that the bill will have little actual effect, since the situations it protects against are very unlikely to arise in real life. And finally, some of the provisions of the bill may be unconstitutional for being in violation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution; we’ll let the courts determine that if the situation arises. 

One must remember also that in the matter of legislative sausage making, nothing is ever cut and dried. H.89 had passed through its second reading the previous day after an amendment offered by Representative Anne Donahue was deemed to be non-germane. This simply means that the words she wanted added to the bill were not in line with the intent of the bill, and the amendment could not be considered. Representative Donahue had proposed that doctors who had conscientious objections to performing or participating in such medical treatments would also be protected by law from any sort of legal or retaliatory action. 

Representative Donahue is one of the most capable legislators in the House and I am a great admirer of her decorum and knowledge, as well as her spine. She had sought to bring balance when one side’s interests were protected and others were left with their flanks exposed. 

She had undertaken this task with a dual purpose. One: she wanted to bring balance to the law; and 2: she wanted to call attention to a bill she had submitted sessions ago that had been left to wither and die on the wall of the committee room. This again is the process if the Chair decides that a bill should not be taken up by the Committee—it hangs in limbo on the wall, potentially for eternity. By proposing the amendment to H. 89, perhaps she could draw attention to and interest in the bill she wrote that had stalled. 

And that is exactly what I saw happen. For immediately after she proposed the amendment and it was shot down, I witnessed a fellow freshman legislator approach Representative Donahue and say that he would support a bill to the effect of her amendment if she put one in. Representative Donahue plainly informed him that she already had and the shock washed across his face as she told him it had been left behind and was mouldering on the wall of the Health Care Committee room. 

I am still a bit wet behind the ears when it comes to understanding how the system works in Montpelier, so it was with a bit of apprehension that I settled into seat 6 and awaited a roll call vote on H.89. This was not my first roll call, but it would be the first time I knew I was probably going to tick off some of my supporters. There are those who might duck out and hide in the restroom to avoid going on the record, but I am not a coward and in this job you can’t please everybody every time, so I sat up at attention as Representative Taylor Small called for a roll call, knowing that my vote would be recorded, and I would own it. 

Soon enough the clerk called out “ Galfetti of Barre Town?” “Yes,” I answered, forever placing my name in the House Journal in favor of H.89. I stand behind this bill and am happy to explain my vote, but I make no apologies, since conviction and spines are in short supply in Montpelier. 

This will not be the last time that I am confronted with making a difficult choice, but as Bon Scott had screamed in the morning while I drove my truck to “work” to sit beneath the hallowed dome, “It’s a long way to the top…” 

This was not my hill to die on, and I look forward to gathering my strength for my charge against the UN Affordable Heat Act, and on that day I fully expect that I will go down with guns blazing, like the last scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! 

Gina Galfetti is a Representative for the Washington/Orange District and can be contacted at: 802.461.3520 or

17 replies »

  1. Thank you for being honest Gina, but you made the wrong choice. You abandoned those who put you there. Your positive vote only serves to promote the state as a place to come to die or be dismembered (or both). You must be so proud of that. The pain in my heart is profound.

    • It often is next to impossible to have any control over what others do, but for me I am in control of what I do and how I vote in elections. What I have done and how I vote probably would not please the D/P crowd, but my votes are according to my conscience….. which is clear.

  2. Amazing our government works at all listening to Gina’s tales of political deal making.
    She seems to be too grounded to last long in such an environment.

  3. Re: “You have to pick your hills to die on, and H.89 was no exception.”

    Easy to say when someone else (i.e., the unborn) are the ones actually ‘dying’. Not to mention those receiving puberty blocking chemicals and having their bodies mutilated because someone thinks gender-dysphoria is a matter of educational ‘expertise’.

  4. Dear Gina,
    You will learn that there is no compromise there. You need to stand your ground because they will just take take take and they will not give. You will learn – they are playing you. VOTE your conscience, vote for your constituents! NEVER vote for a so called compromise.

  5. …so you traded innocent children (abortion and transgender surgeries on minor) for the Affordable Heat Act? Sadly, my own Rep. House Rep, Allen “Penny” Demar also voted for it. Looks like everybody wants to get off on the right foot with the wrong team.

  6. It’s truly pathetic to see that legislation you disagree with keeps getting passed. The Vermont Republicans persist in backing and promoting candidates with no real shot at winning a General Election. How disappointing. All you can do is retreat to your little corner and dream up conspiracy theories to explain the defeat of your inexperienced and unelectable candidates. Congrats, at least you can cling to some sort of fabricated moral superiority. At least you pretend to stand for something.

  7. Giving legal protection to those who end or mutilate Human lives, what could be of greater consequence? I seem to remember another instance in history when many turned away and were silent. There were bigger things to worry about.
    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist

    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist

    Then they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist

    Then they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew

    Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me

  8. The problem with shield laws – no accountability, no responsibility, no culpability, no liability. Those supporting human mutilation laws are the same people who are forcing medical russian roulette with pharmacuticals to “save lives.” Those dancing with the Devil will get burned…ignorance is not a defense and leaving it up to the courts is a cop-out as we all know how the courts are as corrupted as the lawmakers.

  9. Hang in there Gina. The one thing I have heard repeatedly from legislators (and, the number one reason for not running for another term) is that it is incredibly difficult to hang on to your principles the longer you remain under the golden dome. Peer pressure is just as powerful (but more subtle) for adults as it is for children. You know who you represent. Never hesitate to go back into that community to ask people what they think of a proposed bill or resolution. I just wish the entire House and Senate were filled with the types of Vermonters I grew up around, fiercely independent, community-minded, rugged individuals who still could come together to discuss any issue no matter their beliefs or convictions. I count you as one of those rare Vermonters.

  10. Thank you for honesty and conviction in voting. Sick of hearing about “children” when a foetus is unviable. AC/DC had it right. Long way to the top.

  11. Let me start by saying, I love and respect women but not all women legislators. My opinion is that they make too many decisions based on emotion and feelings. Perhaps the motherly instincts kick in when related to these types of votes, I don’t know. However one feels, it’s just not right or moral to allow a child to surgically mutilate their body for a mental disorder or for unlimited abortions by anyone. The left wants to hold firearms manufacturers liable for misuse of a legal product by a deranged murderer but want free reign for people to alter and harm others with no responsibility at all for the ideology. The first rule of future republicans in Vermont should be to say no to anything they Dim/progs propose until they (Rep.) are allowed into the process. My excitement for this Rep by this vote is diminished because it’s what we always see.The republican woman fail by voting feelings over facts. This is a horrible proposed law and the result will be obvious in time. Wake up Gina, those people are not your friends or allies. Please put your feelings away when you vote.

    • I did. I made a strategic choice that 89 was not my hill to die on. Article 22 was adopted by the people. Abortion is an issue that is and has been closed for now in Vermont. Voting against a law shielding providers from out of state lawsuits would not have changed the facts; just alienated me further…meaning I accomplish nothing and quite frankly voting my heart would have been wasted. I don’t care if people like me but I don’t believe in wasting my time on issues that one can martyr themselves on and gain nothing. Take a look at the Barre City Rep race we have a beautiful martyr and gained nothing to help us stop the slow and dedicated march.

      • When in Rome, do as the Romans do – history shows how that turned out. With all due respect, Article 22 was a flim-flam job and citizens had no clue what the implications of that vote truly meant. The abortion issue is never going to be closed – as the lies behind it all are yet to be fully disclosed or realized by those still asleep. Use of the terms “hill to die on” or “martyr themselves” is overly dramatic and a symptom of emotionally charging issues to play on people’s minds, if not your own mind. Society, as we know it, is collapsing under it’s own stupidity and ignorance. Good luck with the game of Texas hold ’em under the Golden Dome (taxpayer money is the House money afterall.) Babylon is failing and falling. Those with a higher level of consciousness (awake) see it clearly and are preparing accordingly.

      • “…a beautiful martyr and gained nothing to help us stop the slow and dedicated march” may seem a logical statement to yourself, but we’re dealing with illogic and outright abuse under the guise of healthcare. What hill ARE you willing to die on?

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