by Guy Page
The homes of several member of the Vermont House of Representatives were targeted and defaced with spray paint last night, according to a letter sent by House Speaker Jill Krowinski to all members of the Vermont House of Representatives. And at least one home appears to have been targeted by protesters of the Legislature’s failure to fund the pandemic-era ‘homeless hotel’ program.
The letter was emailed to lawmakers shortly after noon today. It does not specify the content of the messages, if any, sprayed onto the homes. A spokesman at Krowinski’s office had no further information.
However, the vandalism occurred the same date that about 700 households were required to leave the housing program. Late this afternoon, Mike Donoghue of Vermont News First reported: “The home of Reps. Martin LaLonde, D-South Burlington and Carol Ode, D-Burlington were vandalized according to statehouse and law enforcement sources. The spray painting at LaLonde’s home had a message in large letters that said it must be nice to have a home.”
Both LaLonde and Ode voted for the 2023-24 state budget, which did not include funding to continue the program. 17 Progressive and Democratic lawmakers refused to vote for the budget, setting up the possibility that the Democratic supermajority may not have the votes to override Gov. Scott’s veto in the June 20-22 special session.
Krowinski’s letter is republished below:
“I regret to inform you of some distressing incidents that occurred overnight involving several of our fellow House members. It has come to my attention that their homes were targeted and defaced with spray paint. This is an alarming breach of security and an unacceptable act of vandalism. If this has also happened to you, please reach out to me immediately, as well as local law enforcement and the Capitol Police.
“I want to express my sympathies to the members and their families who were targeted and extend my support. Our shared commitment to public service should never be overshadowed by fear or intimidation. In light of this incident, I would like to outline the steps we are taking and the resources available to members:
“Enhanced Security Measures: We want to encourage members to maintain awareness of safety and security measures they can take at their homes and communities. Please reach out to our Capitol Police for information on measures.
“Law Enforcement Collaboration: We have reached out to local law enforcement agencies, the Capitol Police, the Governor’s Office, and our affected members to ensure there is active coordination to investigate these incidents.
“Reporting: I urge all House members to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activities or concerns to your local police and the Capitol Police. Your active involvement and cooperation are crucial in maintaining a safe environment for everyone.”