Nitka’s notes from the State House, Jan. 10, 2019

Dear Editor,

The new Legislative session began Jan. 9, and the Senate welcomed five new members of the 30 while the House of Representatives had about 40 new persons join their 150-person roster. Two of the newly elected are the youngest members in each body, Senator Corey Parent of St. Albans representing Franklin County at age 28 and Representative Patrick Seymour of Sutton representing the Caledonia-4 District. Sen. Parent previously served in the House while Rep. Seymour is new to the building. Every elected member present took the Oath of Office on the first day while the governor and the other newly elected statewide officers, lieutenant governor, treasurer, secretary of state, auditor, and attorney general took their oaths on the second day.

The governor’s oath was administered by Chief Justice Paul Reiber of the Vermont Supreme Court. Prior to the governor being sworn in, the results of the Canvasing Committee’s report were read as to numbers of votes received by all the statewide candidates. Total votes cast for governor were 274,087 with the breakdown as follows: Trevor Barlow of Cavendish, 3,266; Cris Ericson of Chester, 2,129; Christine Hallquist of Hyde Park, 110,335; Charles Laramie of Fair Haven, 2,287; Stephen Marx of Strafford, 1,855; Emily Peyton of Putney, 1,839; Phil Scott of Berlin 151,261; and write-in votes, 1,115.

Those elected to all the positions mentioned will serve for two years as will the House and Senate members. There is a Constitutional amendment being proposed this year to the Vermont Constitution to make the governor’s term four years instead of two. This has been proposed in other years but hasn’t passed. It is a long process and would have to pass two Legislative Bienniums in addition to being voted on positively in a statewide election.

The governor’s Inaugural Address, given in the packed House Chamber, was very well received and not marred by a protestor who threw papers off the balcony and yelled something about Bill Lee. The governor responded by saying he too liked Bill Lee who actually ran against the governor in his first run and is a former Red Sox pitcher – who knew this would come up?

The governor mentioned among many issues labor force expansion, modernizing Act 250, lowering our carbon emissions, getting all schools drinking water tested within a year in response to lead levels recently detected in some schools, early child care and learning, broadband, and doing a better job leveraging our assets. There was much more, and the speech is available online.

Other notable speakers were the Lt. governor, ministers, and a rabbi giving persuasive homilies. There was a quote from Jim Jeffords, “…We have the freedom and obligation to solve problems and help people.”

A quote from Rev. Robert Potter that he said many years ago and repeated again was, “We may not have it all together but together we have it all.”

Additionally, we have a new goddess on our roof so we should be inspired. Come visit you State House and see Ceres.

Contact me at home at 802-228-8432 or anitka@leg.state.vt.us. I am able to read all of your emails and appreciate you sending them, however the volume received makes it impossible to respond to all of them.

Sincerely,

Sen. Alice Nitka

Windsor District

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