Editor’s note: This commentary is by Neil Johnson, of Waitsfield, who was a 2018 candidate for state House in the Washington 7 district.
Our Vermont Constitution is very fair and inclusive. During this election there was some talk about Molly Gray and does she meet the qualification to hold office. Molly Gray is clearly capable, well spoken, ambitious and smart, with the full backing of the establishment in power — all great things for a lieutenant governor. She ran an excellent campaign that garnered more votes any other candidate.
The question is, however, does she meet the most basic standard to hold office — those outlined by the document upon which this Republic is governed? Does she meet the rule of law?
Here are the qualifications for holding office: “Residence of Governor and Lieutenant-Governor – No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor or Lieutenant-Governor until the person shall have resided in this state four years next preceding the day of election.”
What I heard on the campaign trail was, she is clearly a citizen of Vermont and didn’t’ give up her citizenship, and so is qualified. From the arguments, I must assume that Molly Gray did not live in Vermont the four preceding years to the day of election. If Molly has lived in Vermont four years preceding the election, a citizen of Vermont, then she is qualified. Molly Gray said her stance would hold up in court. But would it?
Our State Constitution is very fair. Let us look at what is needed to run for Senate or House of Representatives.
15. Residence of representatives and senators No person shall be elected a Representative or a Senator until the person has resided in the State two years, the last year of which shall be in the legislative district for which the person is elected.
Wow. All you have to do is be a citizen and reside in the state for two years and only one in district for which you choose to run. How could we be more welcoming and open to people, new people of the state getting involved with our government? It is extremely open and fair. Yet here we are with a candidate who does not meet the very most basic qualifications. The press and those in government have run cover on this topic.
People across the state are not allowed to comment on the most widespread non-profit “press,” VTDigger. Nobody seems to want to pick up or discuss the topic. Vermont, in its traditional way of working within small towns doesn’t want to rock the boat, and this is how people get away with corruption.
Somebody must call the question. Molly Gray does not meet the very generous standard to hold office as lieutenant governor, as outlined in our Constitution. Who will stand up for what is right, just and fair? Molly Gray has not met the standard; she can not be our lieutenant governor as outlined by our constitution.