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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Opinion
Walters: Rodgers Will Not Run for Vermont Governor

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 9:36 PM

Sen. John Rodgers - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Sen. John Rodgers
Sen. John Rodgers (D-Essex/Orleans) said Tuesday night that he has decided not to run for governor. Rodgers, a vocal supporter of gun rights, had floated the idea of a candidacy as Gov. Phil Scott prepared to sign a series of gun restrictions into law last month.

"I have mixed feelings," said Rodgers, a resident of Glover. "The governor has disappointed a lot of people. They're looking for an option."

But it won't be him. "I basically decided there was no way I had time to pull it together," he explained. Rodgers owns a construction firm and the spring and summer are his busy seasons. He will run for reelection to the Senate, however.

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Scott Vetoes Minimum Wage, Paid Family Leave Bills

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 6:04 PM

Gov. Phil Scott - FILE: ALICIA FREESE
  • File: Alicia Freese
  • Gov. Phil Scott
Updated at 8:18 p.m.

Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have raised Vermont’s minimum wage to $15 and established a paid family leave program.

The high-profile vetoes came as the governor grappled with a midnight deadline to determine the fate of more than three dozen bills. In total, according to a spokesperson, Scott signed 38 bills into law on Monday and Tuesday; he allowed two to become law without his signature, and he vetoed four.

Scott previously vetoed legislation regulating toxic chemicals, and he is expected to do the same to the state budget and tax bills.

The legislature likely won’t be able to override the governor’s vetoes because Democrats in the House lack the two-thirds majority required to do so.

Scott’s decision to veto the minimum wage and paid leave bills came as no surprise. He expressed his opposition to both measures throughout the legislative session. But the move is nevertheless a blow to two signature progressive causes. The vetoes drew immediate rebukes from Democratic lawmakers and advocates.

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United Way Cuts Some Funding, Frustrating Nonprofits

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 2:32 PM

The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf is among those organizations losing funding. - COURTESY OF THE CHITTENDEN EMERGENCY FOOD SHELF
  • Courtesy of the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
  • The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf is among those organizations losing funding.
The United Way of Northwest Vermont did not award grants this year to several Chittenden County nonprofits, some of which have received funding from the organization for decades.

The changes sparked an outcry from some nonprofit leaders who said they were counting on the money. Last Friday, Rita Markley, executive director of the Committee on Temporary Shelter, posted on Facebook that she had not received $57,600 for two programs for the homeless.

"The Daystation is the ONLY daytime shelter in Chittenden County for single adults with nowhere else to turn," Markley wrote. "Just the worst possible news."

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Opinion
Walters: Casey to Leave Vermont Democratic Party

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 2:09 PM

VDP executive director Conor Casey, center, speaking with party political director Brandon Batham, left - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • VDP executive director Conor Casey, center, speaking with party political director Brandon Batham, left
Just as campaign season is about to begin in earnest, the Vermont Democratic Party will have a vacancy to fill.

Executive director Conor Casey is leaving his post in June after nearly three years on the job. He’ll become membership organizer for the Vermont-National Education Association, the statewide teachers' union. It’s a return to the labor field for Casey, who was political director of the Vermont State Employees’ Association before signing on with the VDP.

“Given the pending Supreme Court decision, I wanted to get back into labor,” said Casey, referencing Janus v. AFSCME, which contests the right of unions to collect fees from non-members. Labor leaders are bracing themselves for a defeat in the high court, which they see as a potential obstacle to organizing.

"Conor and I started talking about this a few weeks ago," said party chair Terje Anderson. They agreed that if Casey were to make a move this year, he should do it early in the campaign cycle.

"Conor’s been a great executive director,” Anderson added. "I’ve really enjoyed working with him. It’s one of the hardest jobs you can imagine."

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