by John McClaughry
The smoke has cleared from Vermont election. Popular Republican Governor Phil Scott won a 70% victory over a token Democratic opponent. No other Republican came close to winning a statewide office, although Senator Joe Benning, ran a credible race against former Lt. Gov David Zuckerman, who again put himself into the Number Two slot to make another run against Governor Scott in 2024.
Perhaps the most important outcome was in the legislative races. Republicans maintained their seven seats in the Senate, thoroughly overpowered by the 23 Democrats. The Republican membership of the House sank from 43 to 38, with no bright new faces among them. That means the Democrats and Progressives can run anything they want through the legislature, and for all practical purposes Gov. Scott no longer has an effective veto power.
The Democrats announced that 2023 will be the year of a full-scale assault on carbon dioxide emissions. Dozens of the recommendations of the Vermont Climate Council, ardently backed by the Climate Action Network, will whistle through House and Senate. An early one will be the Clean Heat Standard, to drive up the price of natural gas, heating oil, propane and Kerosene. It failed by one vote last May. The Democrats can’t wait to push that through and Scott, deprived of his veto power, will, I predict, find some excuse to go along. I hope I’m wrong about that.