By Rob Roper
Members of the Vermont legislature returned to the statehouse just long enough to pass a resolution ensuring that they won’t have to come back again for at least two weeks, instead choosing to work remotely. Must be nice. These are the same people who say they want the schools open, hospitals staffed, tourism industry serving visitors to our state in hotels, restaurants, spas and ski slopes.
They do this ostensibly to maintain health and safety of members and staff, but, as several witnesses stated both on the floor and via social media, to quote one, “Walking around the statehouse this morning, I saw legislators hugging and shaking hands and sitting around full cafeteria tables with their masks off.” Uh huh.
Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) summed up the situation well when urging her colleagues to reject the proposal to go remote. “I understand the risks of meeting in person during these challenging times. I do not, though, believe those risks outweigh the importance of developing critical public policy that will govern the lives of Vermonters in person. Every day I see restaurant, hospitality and retail and grocery employees working. Teachers and staff are going to work, kids are going to school, but we’re telling them that we can’t go to work. I think this sends the wrong message to the people of Vermont.”
Unfortunately, only 18 of her fellow Representatives agreed with Scheuermann and the resolution passed 106-19. Pathetic.
– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.
And just who is surprised?
Of course this will never happen, but they should pass legislation making it illegal for them to Zoom or otherwise legislate remotely. Legislature conducting business without their constituents physically present, and able to participate in person does not pass the smell test. A budget should be passed, and then the legislature should adjourn.
95% of these “commitments” will do more harm than good to everyday people just trying to live and get on with their lives. Pass a budget to keep the lights on, then go home.
Thank you Representative Heidi Scheuermann for a common-sense approach which is much needed. You have represented your constituents – and many of the rest of us – well and thoughtfully. I remember your efforts of 25 years ago after it become clear that the Brigham Decision enacted by the ACLU’s Democratic Legislature would mean the demise of small schools in low-income towns.
There are those Americans that choose to lead through bravery and courage.
Then there is the majority of our state legislature, who though mostly jabbed and masked choose to bravely sit at home in fear.
Boy howdy, you can’t make this stuff up. Way to lead by example!
Just think what would happen if everyone could vote themselves a vacation !