Saturday, December 3, 2016

House Democrats Put Mitzi Johnson on Path to Speaker's Office

Posted By on Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 8:02 PM

Reps. Mitzi Johnson, in purple, and Sarah Copeland Hanzas hug after Johnson won the vote to be the Democrats nominee for House speaker. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Reps. Mitzi Johnson, in purple, and Sarah Copeland Hanzas hug after Johnson won the vote to be the Democrats nominee for House speaker.
When Rep. Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) was a first-year legislator serving on the House Agriculture Committee in 2003, she learned how not to run a legislative committee, Rep. Bill Botzow (D-Pownal) told colleagues Saturday.

From there, Johnson grew as a legislator worthy of the House’s most powerful position, Botzow said as he seconded the nomination for Johnson to be the Democrats’ candidate for speaker.

Praising Johnson's kindness, Botzow quoted former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "A nation does not have to be cruel in order to be tough."

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Howard Dean Drops Bid for DNC Chairmanship

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 5:34 PM

Former governor Howard Dean at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Former governor Howard Dean at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean has bowed out of the race for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, The Hill reported on Friday afternoon.

His departure leaves three candidates in the race to fill the post, which opens up in March 2017 when interim chair Donna Brazile’s term expires.

The 67-year-old Dean, who served as the DNC chair from 2005 to 2009, first announced his intention to run last month.

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Chittenden Democrats Nominate Three to Succeed Donovan

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 10:53 AM

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan
The Chittenden County Democratic Party chose three potential successors to State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan on Thursday night. The list will be sent to governor-elect Phil Scott, who will appoint a person to serve the remaining two years of Donovan’s term.

The list includes two of Donovan’s deputy prosecutors, Bram Kranichfeld and Sarah George, as well as Colchester attorney Ted Kenney, according to outgoing party chair Cameron Russell. The final tally has not been released, but Russell said that Kranichfeld was the top vote-getter, followed by Kenney and then George.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Weeks After Election, Two Vermont House Races Still Not Decided

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Vermont Statehouse - FILE
  • File
  • Vermont Statehouse
Lawmakers gathered Wednesday in Montpelier to prepare for the new legislative session that starts in January. Republicans David Ainsworth and Bob Frenier joined the briefing — even though their election results have yet to be settled.

“It appears I might’ve won,” Ainsworth said during a break from the briefing. “I’m just here to get up to speed.”

“Appears” and “might’ve” were the operative words, however.

Both Ainsworth and Frenier seem to have the edge, but their races are still in legal uncertainty three weeks after the election.

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Republican Linda Myers to Run for Speaker of Vermont House

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 5:09 PM

The House chamber - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The House chamber
Rep. Linda Myers (R-Essex), a 15-year member of the House, will be a candidate for the powerful speaker of the House position. She does it knowing she’s unlikely to win.

“It will be extremely difficult for me to win the speakership,” Myers said Thursday. “It’s an opportunity for people in the Hous
Linda Myers
  • Linda Myers
e of Representatives to know there is a choice.”

Myers said House Republicans gathered Wednesday morning at the Statehouse, and that Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) suggested Myers’ name.

The group unanimously agreed to support her when the full House votes in January on the speaker’s post. House Minority Leader Don Turner (R-Milton) has been saying that he planned to field a speaker candidate regardless of the party’s chances of prevailing.

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Harbor Place, Motel for the Homeless, Can Stay in Shelburne

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 12:07 PM

  • matthew thorsen
  • Harbor Place
Harbor Place, which provides temporary lodging for homeless people, can continue operating in Shelburne, the town's development review board ruled Wednesday.

Champlain Housing Trust, a nonprofit affordable housing organization that operates the facility, had been embroiled in a year-long dispute with Joe Colangelo, the town manager and zoning administrator. The spat began in October 2015 when Colangelo sent the organization a "notice of violation," claiming that Harbor Place was not a motel and therefore violated town zoning regulations. Residents living near the small complex on Shelburne Road had complained to the town.

On Wednesday, the town's development review board voted 4 to 2 in CHT's favor, concluding that Harbor Place is indeed a motel — though one that caters to homeless people.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bill Doyle Concedes Defeat in Vermont Senate Race

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Sen. Bill Doyle in his Johnson State College office - TERRI HALLENBECK/FILE
  • Sen. Bill Doyle in his Johnson State College office
Sen. Bill Doyle (R-Washington) on Wednesday withdrew his request for a recount of the November 8 election ballots, conceding that his 48-year Senate career is over.

The 90-year-old Montpelier resident said advisers persuaded him that a recount would not change the outcome of the election. He trailed Democrat Francis Brooks by 191 votes.

Brooks finished third in the race for three Senate seats, behind incumbents Ann Cummings (D-Washington) and Anthony Pollina (P/D-Washington).

“I have decided to stand aside and let the initial results be certified as the final ones,” Doyle said in a statement.

Doyle said that he wanted to give Brooks, who taught his children science at Montpelier High School, time to gear up for the legislative session that starts in January.

Doyle was matter-of-fact about the end of his political career. “It’s a remarkable opportunity to serve even one term in the legislature,” he said. “To serve that many is a real honor.”

Doyle continues to work as a political science professor at Johnson State College. He said he will still be back in the Statehouse in January, leading his students in his annual two-week course.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Coming Soon: Northern Vermont University — Johnson and Lyndon

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Lyndon State College - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Lyndon State College
Welcome to Northern Vermont University — Johnson and Lyndon.

The Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees will vote on that new name Wednesday for the soon-to-be unified state colleges in the two towns.

(Update, 4:30 p.m. November 30: The board voted unanimously to approve the new name.)

Vermont State Colleges chancellor Jeb Spaulding, Johnson State College president Elaine Collins and Lyndon State College interim president Nolan Atkins unanimously recommended the choice to the trustees.

Spaulding, in a memo to the board that was released Tuesday, said the rechristening is meant to be concise, easily marketable and not confused with the University of Vermont.

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Shumlin: Repealing Obamacare Would Be a ‘Disaster’ for Vermont

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Gov. Peter Shumlin speaking Tuesday - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Gov. Peter Shumlin speaking Tuesday
If Republican president-elect Donald Trump makes good on his pledge to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, it will be a “disaster” for Vermont, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin said Tuesday.

In 2010, 8.6 percent of Vermonters lacked health insurance. Last year, the number had dropped to 2.7 percent, the governor said. Vermont has the second lowest rate of uninsured people in the country overall, according to his office.

Vermonters who receive subsidies for their health coverage get a median of $300 per person per month, said Sean Sheehan, director of outreach and education at the Department of Vermont Health Access.

If Trump eliminates the health insurance programs enacted under President Barack Obama, as he has said he will, Vermonters would lose at least $100 million a year in subsidies, Shumlin said.

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Burlington Councilors Consider a Pay Raise for Themselves

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 2:48 PM

Burlington City Hall - FILE: ALICIA FREESE
  • File: Alicia Freese
  • Burlington City Hall
The Burlington City Council agreed unanimously on Monday to consider a wage hike for council members.

Currently, councilors earn $3,000 a year — a figure that has stayed the same for more than 12 years, according to independent Councilor Dave Hartnett, who sponsored the resolution. Given the time he spends on the job, “I don’t believe it would be even minimum wage,” he said.

“We do it for the love of the city … but I think we need to be realistic,” he told the council on Monday. “In the last 12 to 16 months, I feel like I’ve spent more time with city council than I have with my family. That’s valuable time.”

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