Rutland County Democrats seek affordability, equality, and a veto-proof supermajority


BRANDON—Democratic leaders, candidates, and their supporters packed into Red Clover Ale Company in Brandon on Sunday afternoon, despite the intense heat both inside and out. Folks networked, drank beer and drenched their shirts in sweat, all to help Democrats reach their goal of a veto-proof supermajority.

 “Republicans are trying to stop what Democrats are trying to do,” said Cheryl Hooker, who is retiring from the State Senate. “When Governor Scott vetoed paid family leave, it made no sense. We want to make sure people can take care of their families.”

 Stephanie Jerome, who is seeking re-election as State Representative for Brandon, echoes this sentiment: “Scott has even vetoed bipartisan bills. We were able to get [multiparty] votes to override his veto of the teacher pension bill, but we need to make sure we can move forward on issues like climate change and reproductive rights.”

 Anne Lezak, Chair of the Vermont Democratic Party, agrees. “We need a veto-proof majority to pass key legislation: clean energy, child care. Governor Scott is not willing to come to the table,” she said.

 Lezak added that “Rutland is a priority for the Democrats. It’s in the middle of a shift. We can make this happen.”

 Joe Andriano, a young first-time candidate for an open seat in a rural district that includes Orwell, Shoreham, Benson, and Whiting, made clear that his priority is affordability. “Affordable housing isn’t a political issue. When I talk about this to Republicans, I can see that it resonates.”

 Mike Rice, a 31-year-old first-time candidate in Bennington-Rutland, shared the belief that affordability was a key issue. “It’s important for my generation to have a voice,” he said. “For people my age, the main issues are absolutely climate and affordability.”

 “We’re trying to help working families,” said Emily Long, House Majority Leader. “We’re working on child care and affordable housing. We’re looking at moving school taxes away from property and toward income since property values have increased so much.”

Democratic House Campaign Director Cam McClimans adds that Democrats need to stay in control of Vermont’s legislature because of the situation in Washington, D.C. “If Republicans take back Congress, it’s essential that Vermont still be able to protect reproductive rights and same-sex marriage. We have to be a counterweight to the Supreme Court.”

Jeff Haylon, a former Democratic campaign worker who recently moved to Brandon, explained his attendance at the event, saying, “The other side of the aisle cannot be allowed to manifest its agenda here or anywhere else.”

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