By any measure imaginable, the celebration of the Cross Street Bridge opening this past Saturday was phenomenal. The procession of events was flawless and packed with energy; the coordination with the ‘Spooktacular’ Halloween events perfect; the food vendors’ tent was welcomed by all for nourishment and warmth; the speeches were short; the procession of honors well deserved; the music was entertaining and the ending fireworks, absolutely spectacular.
For Governor-elect Peter Shumlin on this post election Wednesday in Vermont, the sun is shining and the mood is upbeat. The Democrat won a narrow race for the state’s top spot and he will be greeted by a Legislature firmly in the control of his party on a scale Vermont has not seen since the domineering days of the Republican Party several decades ago.
As Americans head to the polls angry at Washington politics and upset by high unemployment, home foreclosures, bank and auto industry bailouts, a rising deficit and a loss of global competitiveness, Vermonters have good reason to re-elect Sen. Patrick Leahy, D, for another six-year term, and Rep. Peter Welch, D, to his third two-year term. That reason? Both have served the state well with honesty, openness, hard work that has paid off, and political positions that put the common good ahead of special interests.
On the question of whether to support an amendment to the state constitution to allow some 17-year-old residents to vote in state primaries, the critical question is this: Will it encourage more young Vermonters to vote or not?
The intent of the amendment is to get Vermont’s youth more involved in voting at a slightly earlier age — perhaps when some are in their senior year in high school. The amendment specifically allows for 17-year-old Vermont residents, who will turn 18 before the general election, to vote in the primary.
On the campaign trail, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, the Republican candidate, has recently run into problems trying to explain how he would cut $110 million in state spending by putting a cap of 2 percent on spending across the board — while not putting the state corrections budget, early education, Dr. Dinosaur, the state highway patrol and other ‘too-important-to-fail’ programs in jeopardy.
The reactions by the two leading candidates for governor on the latest news from Vermont Yankee speaks volumes about each candidate’s approach to leadership — and each has its pros and cons.
Democrat Peter Shumlin, a long-time proponent of Vermont Yankee until shortly after it was purchased by Entergy, came out swinging and is more convinced than ever that a tough approach needs to be taken by the state to avoid sticking Vermont taxpayers with unforeseen costs down the road as a consequence of the tritium leaks.
Local school board members and school officials are in the midst of finding out just how tough it is to cut 2 percent out of the budget. For the UD-3 board, which oversees the Middlebury Union Middle School and High School, that 2 percent amounts to $341,565 out of a $15,445,919 budget. But, as UD-3 Supt. Lee Sease said, the cuts really amount to closer to 4 percent because of the added cost of inflation.
That $341,565 reduction in expenses, therefore, becomes $661,000 — and that’s not small change.
Public anger against the federal bailout that rescued the nation’s financial system from collapse, prevented the bankruptcies of the nation’s auto companies and salvaged the insurance industry — preventing a second Great Depression, according to most economists — has turned the 2010 mid-term elections upside down. The lack of understanding from Tea Party supporters and like-minded conservatives is appalling, but so is the two-faced political response from both parties.