In a wild week dominated by such Twitter-rant hashtags as #KavanaughHearings and #MeToo, social media junkies in Vermont were able to follow other important happenings closer to home.
Bennington Rep. Kiah Morris continued her retreat from public office on Tuesday by announcing her immediate resignation, which she shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Today, after great consideration, I officially announced my resignation as state representative for Bennington 2-2. Please see my full statement here: https://t.co/kYdK1db5bl
— Kiah Morris (@KiahMorrisVT) September 25, 2018
On Aug. 24, the Vermont House’s only African-American lawmaker said on Facebook she would not continue her race for re-election due to political discourse where “social media has been divisive, inflammatory and at times, even dangerous.” Despite saying at the time, “I will finish out my term and pass on the mantle at the end of this year,” Morris resigned this week, citing family health issues and “continued harassment.”
The Vermont Democrats tweeted a statement announcing official party endorsements for this November’s general election.
The endorsements are as follows:
United States Senator: Bernie Sanders
United States Representative: Peter Welch
Governor: Christine Hallquist
Lieutenant Governor: David Zuckerman
Treasurer: Beth Pearce
Secretary of State: Jim Condos
Auditor: Doug Hoffer
Attorney General: TJ Donovan
Sanders is quoted as saying, “When we stand together, our state can lead the fight to guarantee health care for all, paid sick and family leave, living wages, and a clean environment. When Vermonters make their voice heard and vote, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.”
Vermont Democratic Party Chair Terje Anderson said, “I’m so excited to be working every day to elect this tremendous slate of Democratic candidates. Together, we are shaping the future of our state for generations to come.”
Let’s Grow Kids posted statements by various state leaders indicating their positions for or against expanding early childhood education. Several responded — all in favor of expanding pre-K programs.
Today is #NationalVoterRegistrationDay ! Many VT statewide candidates have submitted statements about their commitment to high-quality early care & learning. Make sure you're registered & check out our Dashboard: https://t.co/jGYkf5jEW9 #letsvotekids #vtpoli pic.twitter.com/1KzHiybdPh
— Let's Grow Kids (@LetsGrowKids) September 25, 2018
In his response, Gov. Phil Scott praised state-run pre-K education: “Many families will have to choose between careers and child care,” he wrote. “No parent should have to make that choice and that is why I will continue to focus on investments in this area.”
State Treasurer Beth Pearce, in her response, cited a study by the Vermont Business Roundtable that Vermont gets $3.08 in return for every dollar invested in early education programs for ages 1-to-5.
No politicians opposed the program, even though a 2010 Head Start Impact Study of 5,000 students released by the U.S. Agency for Health & Human Services found that the advantages gained from the taxpayer-funded program “yielded only a few statistically significant differences in outcomes at the end of first grade.”
Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Don Turner shared his first TV ad, which plays up his willingness to work across party lines but also advance Republican values where necessary. Turner is running against incumbent Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive and Democrat.
Our first TV ad is live now, and will be broadcasting across Vermont and to a screen near you! https://t.co/Cao8GkwdQ0
— DonTurnerforVT (@DonTurnerforVT) September 24, 2018
“I’ve always looked to the other party looking for common ground,” he says in the ad. “But I also stand my ground when it comes to spending. I’d like to keep working for you to lower your cost of living.”
The video shows a picture of Turner sitting with House Majority Leader Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, his Democrat counterpart. The two can frequently be seen hammering out party disagreements during breaks in the House chamber.
Democrats continue to look to capitalize on an alleged social media gaffe by GOP party leader Chet Greenwood. Greenwood neither admitted nor denied tweeting the comment, “I think Christine was having a sexual fantasy,” an apparent reference to Christine Blasey Ford, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s main accuser.
This is an embarrassing and sad day for politics and decency in the NEK. Are you sure you're good with Chet Greenwood leading one of your strongest county parties @VTGOP? Perhaps this could help explain why candidates are fleeing from your brand… #vtpoli https://t.co/MCHEjXhOma
— Shane Rogers (@Shane_Rogers922) September 26, 2018
Greenwood claims he can’t remember posting the tweet, but he is not necessarily denying it.
The chairman is not the only public figure to land in hot water over a tweet. Burlington Free Press executive editor Denis Finley was fired earlier this year for a tweet that poked fun at the notion of having a third gender option available for the driver’s license application.
Numerous posts highlighted that Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day. Young Democrats of America posted a provocative and inflammatory ad insinuating that only angry, old, white people vote conservative, and that it’s up to young people to come out and represent the left.
Happy National Voter Registration Day! Are you committed to voting this November? because these folks definitely are…
— Young Democrats of America (@youngdems) September 25, 2018
One older white male in the video states; “Tax cuts for the rich, hell yea. I’m rich as f—.”
Another older lady says; “Climate change? That’s a you problem, I’ll be dead soon.”
Near the end, another guy says; “We’ll be there, but you won’t.” He is referencing to the perceived lack of voter turnout among young people.
The notion that young people lean left politically is a common assumption, but the upcoming “Generation Z” cohort is predicted by some analysts to be much more conservative.
Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Scott did his best to de-escalate political tensions via the following post about why Vermonters need to cool off the hurtful political rhetoric and start being more civil to each other.
— Governor Phil Scott (@GovPhilScott) September 25, 2018
The political discourse in Vermont has gotten so tense that one community leader, Asher Crispe, has taken the initiative to get non-like-minded people in the same room to practice political discourse in a civil manner.