Lawmaker employed by SunCommon says Democrat dissenter Bock broke trust
by Guy Page
Republican candidate for Congress Ericka Redic is calling out two front-running Democratic candidates for Congress for supporting the Clean Heat Standard bill.
Meanwhile, a Democratic House leader has publicly accused a Democrat who voted against the Clean Heat Standard with breaking trust (see below).
Senate President Pro Tem, Becca Balint (D-Windham) and Senator Kesha Ram-Hinsdale (D-Chittenden), Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, both voted for what Redic calls “the Clean Heat Carbon Tax” on February 28 — a measure vetoed by Governor Phil Scott. The veto was sustained by a single vote.
“Voting for a carbon tax in order to purposefully drive up Vermonters’ home heating bills in a state as cold as ours is reprehensible,” Redic said in a campaign statement. “To do this at a time of already record high prices and rampant inflation is beyond irresponsible.”
The “Clean Heat Standard” bill (H.715) would have required sellers of fossil-based home heating fuels, propane, oil, natural gas, and kerosene, to buy “clean heat credits” in order to sell their products. The cost of these credits, which would amount to many millions of dollars per year (though proponents of the bill such as Balint and Ram-Hinsdale have not disclosed cost estimates) would be passed along to consumers, raising the cost of home heating fuels, Redic said. A third Democratic candidate for the seat, Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray, presided over the Senate vote.
During the floor debate before the vote on the bill, Senator Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) explained, “This bill is going to make buying fossil fuels more expensive. It’s a carbon tax.”
“One can only assume if the Democratic candidates are eager to vote for a carbon tax on fossil fuels at the state level, they will be eager to do so at the federal level,” Redic said. “Is this really what Vermonters are sending their representatives to Washington to do? Make it more expensive for us to heat our homes? Drive our cars? Live our lives? I don’t think so.”
“If elected to represent Vermonters in Congress, I promise to not only oppose any carbon tax, but to focus my efforts on making our nation energy independent once again, to lowering the cost of gasoline, diesel, and home heating fuels, and getting inflation under control.”
Chester Dem. Rep. Thomas Bock ‘broke trust’ with the Democratic leadership when he surprised them by voting against the Clean Heat Standard in the veto vote, leaving them just one shy of the 100 needed to overturn Scott’s veto of the signature climate change bill of the 2022 session, House Majority Whip Mike McCarthy (D-St. Albans) reportedly told Seven Days reporter Kevin McCallum, who wrote in the May 16 issue:
“To be blindsided by one of their own members on such a high-priority issue stung House leaders, who saw it as a betrayal. Rep. Mike McCarthy (D-St. Albans), House majority whip, noted that Bock had voted in favor of the bill on two separate occasions and gave leaders no indication he had changed in mind. ‘We trust members will talk to us if they have questions, and he broke that trust,’ McCarthy said.”
Legislators are often advised by their leaders to ‘vote your conscience, your constituents, and your caucus, in that order.’ According to many legislators, constituent calls and emails opposing the Clean Heat Standard vastly outnumbered those supporting it. One legislator, Rep. Mike Morgan of West Milton/Grand Isle, said the ratio in his district was 40:1 opposed.
McCarthy is employed by renewable power developer SunCommon. Without directly referencing McCarthy, Sen. Russ Ingalls told Vermont Daily Chronicle yesterday that lawmakers employed in the renewable power industry, including SunCommon, may have a ‘trust issue’ of their own. Many draw paychecks from businesses or non-profit organizations that rely on state government legislation and/or funding, he said.
SunCommon, for example, was founded by James Moore and Duane Peterson shortly after Moore, as president of VPIRG, pushed through the legislation requiring utilities buy solar-created electricity at above-market rates. The Clean Heat Standard would force building owners to transition heating sources from fossil fuels to electricity.