For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2021
Montpelier, Vt. — Vermont Republican Party Chair Deb Billado released the following statement in response to a recent misleading press release issued by Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington):
In a recent statement intended to misinform Vermonters and score partisan political points, Speaker Krowinski demonstrated just how out of the loop she is with Vermont’s handling of COVID-19. Krowinski’s statement was filled with misleading information, baseless claims, and inherent contradictions that undermine the state’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all so Krowinski can engage in useless finger pointing.
First, Krowinski entirely misrepresents Governor Scott’s consistent stance on COVID-19, accusing him of ‘changing strategy’ and ‘not following guidance from the CDC’ as it relates to COVID-19. Not only is this insinuation insulting to Dr. Levine and the dedicated state employees at the Vermont Department of Health who are working tirelessly, it is simply not true. Governor Scott’s position on COVID-19 has been crystal clear in expanding access to vaccinations, providing essential information to Vermonters, and following the science. This includes the announcement by the Governor of additional walk-in clinics on Tuesday.
Moreover, Krowinski attempts to compare Vermont to states implementing limited mask mandates (Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon), even though these states vary wildly from Vermont’s own experience. As the data shows, calling it a comparison of apples to oranges would be an understatement. Further, for Krowinski to accuse the Governor of waiting for ‘ICU cases’ to reach a critical point before taking the restrictive actions Krowinski is proposing is beneath even her partisan demagoguery. Ironically, Krowinski also accuses Governor Scott of waiting for infections to rise–she must have forgotten her admission just a few paragraphs later that ‘our case rate is declining’.
Krowinski’s press release has plenty of room for accusations, with very few actual recommendations. She bemoans the administration for not issuing a ‘statewide strategy’ on COVID-19–apparently forgetting the guidance issued by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) on that very issue. However, she should be consulting with the Vermont-NEA, which has not only failed to express calls for such a strategy, but whose President both praised the work of and defended the position of Governor Scott’s administration on COVID-19 earlier this month. Perhaps Krowinski is simply doing the dirty-work for the Vermont-NEA, which would be unsurprising considering the thousands the Vermont-NEA has donated to Democrat politicians’ campaigns in Vermont–including to Krowinski directly. [Additionally, as of August 25 2021, virtually all of the COVID-19-related linked documents on the Vermont-NEA’s website appeared to be referencing outdated documents from 2020, clearly highlighting where they place the issue on their priority list.]
Krowinski also criticizes AOE for not providing ‘detailed information’ to school administrators. If Krowinski bothered to check AOE’s website, she’d see multiple memos from Secretary French on a wide array of COVID-19 related materials from just from August alone.
Finally, Krowinski yet again jumps to a false comparison, referencing the ‘cities’ and ‘towns’ across the country requiring all public education employees to be vaccinated. While it is understandable that Krowinski would apparently be confused since she only represents the City of Burlington, Vermont is a state–not a municipality. Further, Secretary French has estimated that 90% of school staff are vaccinated–well above the statewide average and of virtually all other states.
In short, Speaker Krowinski’s latest P.R. stunt is nothing more than a desperate political maneuver to insert partisanship into a conversation about public health and elevate her own profile at the expense of misleading the public on COVID-19 through inaccurate comparisons and omitted information. Krowinski would be better served sticking to what she is good at, like kicking the state’s unfunded pension crisis down the road and skirting state rules so she can fundraise with lobbyists.