By Rep Gina Galfetti
Democracy is only as good as its weakest link. And in the Vermont State House, we have a lot of weak links.
A page [eighth-grade messenger] breezed into the House Environment and Energy Committee meeting room and delivered a message that soon elicited cheers and claps from most of the members in the room. S.5 had made its way out of Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee on a 5-0 vote.
S.5, the UNAffordable Heat Act is now on its way to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee. At this time it is unclear how many Senators support the bill. But we can be sure that the bill has enough votes to clear the Senate and move to the floor of the Senate and upon passage there it will be sent to the Environment and Energy Committee in the House then House Appropriations and onward to the House floor.
S.5 will doubtlessly be passed in both the Senate and the House and it will then fall to the Governor to veto the legislation. Provided he vetos the legislation a coalition of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Progressives will dig in at our Alamo and make one last stand to prevent this short sighted and poorly engineered legislation from becoming the law of the land. I mention all three parties because 1) I know of several Dems and Independents that do not support this legislation and 2) There are simply too few Republicans in the House or the Senate to do this on our own. We have to build a coalition on this issue if we seek to uphold a veto.
Now I know there are plenty of you out there that are calling me a dreamer but we have no option but to roll up our sleeves and go after the facts to build a coalition. The biggest problem that proponents of the would-be Act have is that they have glossed over the problem that S.5 will disproportionately affect low-income Vermonters. Vermonters that can not afford to install heat pumps, weatherize and install water heater heat pumps, period. No matter how big the credits are they will never be large enough to allow low-income folks that live paycheck to paycheck be able to install heat pumps.
When I was a kid my mother, a single working nurse with my brother and I to support, lost her furnace in the dead of winter. We did receive some help from Efficiency Vermont but if it had not been for my grandparent’s ability to take out a loan to offset the rest of the cost, we would have frozen that winter. My mother often had to choose between putting gas in the tank to get to work or buy milk. Many Vermonters can not afford to make an investment in a technology that would pay them back long term as the needs of their family are immediate. These long term savings that they speak of do not translate into food for a hungry family who must eat today, not tomorrow.
And it is the low income Vermonters that will hurt the most. Imagine being in the position of many older Vermonters, for instance. For many folks their home is the last large asset that they have. They are not in a position to make expensive renovations on fixed incomes. They will never see the savings promised because they will be dead before the savings come. Their homes are meant to be their security, that will see them through their decline and end of their days. Not a pretty picture to think they will be spending their last dollars on inflated fuel hastening their trip to the Nursing Home!
The proponents of the UN Affordable Heat Act have admitted on numerous occasions that they do not know how this system will be implemented. Just the other morning I had breakfast with Senator Dick McCormack and he told me not to worry. It is not the legislature’s job to figure out the details of how this system will work, but rather the job of the Public Utility Commission.
He said that the legislature makes policy and doesn’t need to understand complex math!
Math like Myers Mermel of the Ethan Allen Institute presented to McCormack’s committee last week. McCormack admitted that he couldn’t follow the math but was willing to ignore the conclusion that Mermel had come to – that fuel prices could jump $4 per gallon!
The Democratic party in control of the Vermont Legislature, right now, is the weak link in Democracy, right now. They are force feeding an environmental agenda to folks that need real food not words. They are ignoring the math and blazing forward congratulating themselves on meeting climate goals.
We all want to preserve our precious planet, we all want to conserve and help mitigate climate change. But in a State that is so small and carbon neutral, must we drive our people into poverty to do it? I think not. We can continue to make the brave steps forward but we must be able to see the path, the consequences both intended and unintended.
Neither we nor the planet can afford to wait for two years when it proves out that this legislation will not work. We must look to enact legislation that is effective and has demonstrable results with both short and long term goals. We might not be able to do it the way we had hoped but we must do it in a way that does not drive more people to have to decide between food or heat.
I implore every person that reads my piece this week to not be a weak link and call or email their Senators and Representatives and tell them to vote no on S.5.
Gina Galfetti is a Representative for the Washington/Orange District and can be contacted at:
802.461.3520 or email@example.com.
Categories: Rep. Gina Galfetti's Floor Report
I have long felt contempt for people who hide behind titles like academic, expert and intellectual to hide their ignorance.
NOW, I guess I will have to add Senator or Legislator to my list based on the remarks of Sen. McCormick quoted in Rep. Galfetti’s piece.
Any legislator that will vote to create a law which will destroy the existing economy of our state can not defend this action saying “not to worry. It is not the legislature’s job to figure out the details of how this system will work,.” And then, after the excellent Myers Mermel presentation, say “the legislature makes policy and doesn’t need to understand complex math!”.
This legislator should, at a minimum, abstain from voting until he understands the impact to expect on our state from S.5.
God save us from fools with good intentions.
For most residents of Vermont, their legislator is not interested in hearing from a constituent that has differing views. Addison, Chittenden, Washington, Windham, Bennington counties have a plurality of climate evangelist legislators. If McCormick had no interest is your views as a fellow legislator, what possible sway would a mere dissenting constituent have? mr. bray from Addison County is another such legislator- actually Addison County has a batch of petulant legislators, bowing only to the lobbyist and climate evangelist.
Perhaps a listing of legislators that actually are representative, and listen to constituents?
So true, and my experience as well.
Knowing now the extent of conflicts of interests in our government, as the non-profits and crony capitalists say jump and our legislators ask how high, I have no faith that our elections are any cleaner than Sacramento sidewalks.
Too bad Vermont does not have more common sense politicians like Gina, perhaps one of many reasons many reasonable people are leaving the Green Mountain State for climes such as Florida
Take a long, hard look at McCormack. A guy from NYC who relocated to Vermont specifically to drastically ALTER its CULTURE. WTH? A guy who doesn’t even believe that schools ought to be able to choose the names their own mascots. Got arrogance?
McCormack: Vermont wasn’t broken. There was no need for you or anybody else who possessed gargantuan egos to think the state required you to “fix” anything. Now it IS all broken however, thanks to your “intervention”. It’s no longer the safest US State, many of its schools no longer meet national education standards, violent crime – once almost non-existent in VT – is commonplace, and mental health diagnoses and emergencies are practically rampant.
“Great” job, McCormack. Just a quick question. When you attended and then graduated from Hofstra University as a history major, was there a campus-wide grading curve in place or did you just cheat an awful lot?
I used to buy into the public perception that Adelphi University’s academic standards weren’t as high as those at Hofstra. I no longer do.
Gina, Thank you – I sent my emails to Ram/Hinsdale and Lyons – Lets see what they say, I’ll be there at the State House on Wednesday.
Thank you Representative Galfetti.
It’s good to see that there are still a few VT legislators with some common sense!
The democrat super-majority is in a panic to get this unfavourable before town meeting day because they know that they are going to catch the ire of their constituency on that day.
Please don’t hold back. Let them k is how you feel and if they do not do as you direct, vote them all out of office in the next election. That is the only alternative to the problem at hand.
Senator Terry K Williams
Why disrupt the enemy when they are destroying themselves? Since 2020, it is glaringly apparent those in power do not care what the citizens think or want. If they did care, would we be in an economic freefall now? If the Consititution truly mattered to those who swore to uphold it, the atrocities of criminal conduct and ethical malfeasance would not be occuring here or across the entire country. It is far too late to attempt to sway criminals from being criminals. They are far too entrenched and compromised to do the right thing. Let them suffer the consequences of their unconscionable actions. Let them reap what they sow. Those with a conscience are well aware the end game is immenient and preparing for it accordingly.
Communists are the weak link in democracy.
Almost time for the tar and feathers party in mount stupid. Smug, a word that describes this group of legislators who are not from Vermont, do not honor and obey their oaths to defend our VT constitution and are apparently well connected to the money that will flow to the loyal climate cult. Before anyone gets triggered, the tar and feathering was a punishment given to scoundrels in days gone by. Today, we have to stand down and allow these scoundrels to wreck our lives, customs, choices, happiness, freedom and the pursuit of our own happiness. This law as passed will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. However, we will have to let these scoundrels destroy the economy and hurt thousands of Vermonters first who will finally see that they have been lied to and cheated out of the life they once loved in Vermont. People like Dick McCormick, McDonald, Bray, White and all there back slapping co-sponsors should never be allowed to hold office in Vermont. They have sold out to money violated their oaths of office to support and promote a failed ideology. They will lose in the end.
I am fortunately retired, I can leave for the winter and spend my money in some other state. While there, I look at real estate. There are places that are 70% cheaper in proprty tax and have a lot cheaper houses. SD, WY, MO, AR, OK, NM, GA, are but some interesting possibilities. Having left NJ for VT 48 years ago, I find VT has become the NJ I left, and it may be time for me to say goodbye liberal VT, hello Republican ran state.
Gina; We are a Republic, NOT a democracy. Please get your facts straight.