First elected to Senate in 1996, Mark MacDonald faces stiff electoral challenge from John Klar
Sen. Mark MacDonald (left). At left in 2022 Senate committee meeting, he concedes the Clean Heat Standard is a carbon tax.
By Guy Page
Sen. Mark MacDonald is at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington this morning, recovering from a stroke.
The Orange County Democrat, farmer, Vietnam veteran, and retired educator was chatting with visitors in his hospital room when Vermont Daily Chronicle called to wish him a speedy recovery and inquire about when he will return home.
His son answered the phone. He said his dad is recovering well, but the date of his return home is uncertain. “He’s got a few milestones” to accomplish before leaving the hospital, his son said.
According to Ballotpedia, MacDonald served in the Vermont House of Representatives for one biennium, 1983-84. He was first elected to the Senate in 1996, but was not re-elected in 1998. His current term ends on January 4, 2023. Unlike almost a third of his peers in the Senate, he is seeking re-election in the November 8 election. He faces stiff opposition from Republican John Klar, who has strong name recognition and has been campaigning hard. Also, Democratic supporters are concerned he may be more vulnerable to defeat in the past due to his Senate district losing the solidly blue Thetford and gaining more purplish Bradford.
MacDonald is known as a vigorous opponent of Vermont Yankee and equally vigorous supporter of the climate agenda, once comparing the effort needed to reduce carbon emissions to the nation’s commitment to fighting World War II. During Senate discussions this year on the Clean Heat Standard, he conceded that the CHS is a de facto carbon tax. When a senator wondered what to tell constituents concerned about the high price of heating fuel, MacDonald responded, “Get a blanket.”
According to the Ethan Allen Institute, MacDonald last session also voted twice to limit gun ownership rights.
MacDonald’s trademark wit was on display during the phone call to his room. After his son identified the caller, the senator – with whom this reporter has sparred in usually friendly fashion over nuclear power and other issues – told his son to say, “he promises he’s not rolling his eyes.”
It is not clear whether a key committee decision on Vermont banning internal combustion automobile sales by 2035 will be affected by MacDonald’s stroke. The committee must vote by the end of this year whether Vermont will, as apparently required by state law, follow California emissions regulations, which earlier this year included the 2035 ban.
Next Thursday, October 20, LCAR is scheduled to review proposed rules for electrical transmission lines and emergency transitional housing.
Categories: State Government