By Guy Page
Longmore is – or rather, was – a black member of the advisory committee formed to help citizens “understand the experience of historically marginalized groups.”
He has also been an outspoken critic of the committee’s mission. As a businessman and political conservative who told the committee when asked that his personal pronouns were “MAGA,” he spoke out strongly at a meeting about some assumptions expressed, including the notion that Vermont in general and St. Albans in particular is racist.
Longmore was referred to as “obstructionist” and “disruptive” and “unmanageable” by city councilors and community members speaking in favor of his removal. City Councilor and Rep. Mike McCarthy made the motion to remove him. The vote was 4-2, with councilors Bob Farrar the most vocal “no.” [Editor’s note: an earlier edition mistakenly said councilor Timothy Hawkins voted no. He voted yes.]
Farrar wondered how he could be considered disruptive after attending just one meeting. “He should have been given several meetings to display whether he’s going to cooperate or not. Apparently he’s not a cooperative individual, but I don’t think he’s been given enough time to do that.”
Farrar also said the subject was being brought up on short notice. And he wonders why a BEI of eight people can’t accomplish its agenda, even with one contrarian on the committee.
“The committee is composed of eight people,” Farrar said. “Mr. Longmore is a lone vote on many of these issues. It would seem that seven to one would take care of that in many instances.”
After the meeting, Longmore offered this comment to Vermont Daily Chronicle:
This is without a doubt the most egregiously racist, age-ist thing to ever happen to me in Vermont,” Longmore said. “The fact that an all-white City Council chose to remove me, an elderly African American, from a Committee named Belonging, Equity and Inclusion is shocking enough.
“But to do so because I won’t go along with the ‘Saint-Albans-is-racist’ narrative is a shocker. In the Bible it says, ‘thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor’, and I stand by that. This City (St Albans) is not a racist City. The people who live in St Albans are like most other Vermonters in that there is a live and let mindset. I love this City and its people and it is the reason why I wanted to be on this Committee, to represent Vermonters who believe that all lives matter and that their City and State are not racist.”
Categories: Local government