Letters to the editor

Shumlin or Milne?

Scott Milne recently announced he will not concede the election for Governor before the legislature votes on Jan. 7. All 180 members will get to vote by “ballot”, which has always been interpreted as secret ballot.

Shumlin or Milne? Here’s my take. In 2002, it was widely anticipated that neither Doug Racine nor Jim Douglas would get to 50 percent, so how a legislator would vote in the event of having to choose a Governor in the legislature was a big issue before the election. It was my first House campaign, and the first bullet on my campaign brochure said:

“The election: Governor/Lt. Gov. with most votes wins if no majority and House of Reps decides. No deals, no trade-offs.” My position hasn’t changed since then.

I’ve already gotten calls pointing out that the Governor lost to Scott Milne in Essex Junction by 59 votes and asking if I would vote to support my district. The answer is no because it’s not a district election; it’s a statewide election where every vote counts equally, where the winner of the popular vote should be endorsed by the General Assembly. If Scott Milne had won the general election by one single vote, I would vote for him in the House election. I mean this literally. The premise that the winner of an election gets to serve is a core principle of democracy. This is why former Governor Jim Douglas and many others favor upholding the Vermont legislative tradition, which does just that.

I anticipate arguments that the Vermont Constitution says anything goes, so we’re free to vote our conscience or for the “best person”, however we define that. And we will hear that 54 percent of Vermont voters voted against Governor Shumlin. Actually, more than that voted against Milne. So for me, there is no ambiguity at all about this vote, and there is also over a 150 years of Vermont tradition supporting legislative votes for the person who won the election. This vote may be by secret ballot, but I think local communities have a right to know how their representatives will vote and why. I hope this helps clarify my position.

Rep. Tim Jerman
Essex Junction

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Rally for health care

My name is Jessica Moore. I live in Burlington and have lived in Vermont all my life. I became a nurse because I wanted to help people, but the real world of health care is far from what I thought it was.

I see patients every day who are diagnosed with debilitating and potentially life threatening diseases. Fortunately, there are excellent curative treatments for many of these medical conditions. However, the insurance companies frequently refuse to pay for the treatment. If they do provide health care coverage, often there are very high deductibles or copays that the patient has to pay before they can get care. These treatments are too expensive for patients to pay on their own, so they are forced to seek other treatment, or go without. This leads to further medical complications and unnecessary suffering. I am fed up with seeing this happen every day as this is not how it should be. If there is treatment available there should be no reason why a person should not receive that treatment.

This is why I am a part of the Health Care is a Human Right Campaign. Health care is a right for all human beings, not just those who can afford it. I ask everyone who agrees that all people should get the care they need to join us for a rally on Jan. 8 at the State House in Montpelier so we can express the need for a change in the health care system together.

Sincerely,

Jessica Moore
Burlington