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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen


9.01.2006

 

an inconvenient goof?

The Radio Deli and Grocery seemed like such a perfect place for Pat Leahy, Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch to stage their joint press conference this week calling for passage of an increase in the federal minimum wage to $725.

The joint is on the edge of the Old North End, it's managed by Jim Condon, a Democratic state representative from Colchester and, last but certainly not least, the meatballs the store offers are to die for.

Just one little snag, as Vermont Republican Party Chairman Jim Barnett was all too willing to point out afterward.

It turns out that Condon, a first-term lawmakers, several times last year voted against S. 80, a bill calling for increasing the state's minimum wage to the aforementioned $7.25. Condon, informed of the GOP's disvovery, acknowledged he did indeed vote against the bill but not because he was against the increase. Instead, Condon said he voted no because he was opposed to an amendment to the bill that made future cost of living adjustments automatic.

"I'm for the minimum wage increase," said Condon. "But sometimes we may want to increase it by more than the cost of living adjustment, and other times we may want to increase it by less. I find it amusing that the Republicans are attacking me on this, of all things."

Barnett shrugged off Condon's qualification. "I find it the height of irony and hypocrisy this is where they chose to do their press conference," he said chuckling.


-- Sam Hemingway

Comments:
Hello blog readers:

Before going on the attack, Mr. Barnett should have discovered that I completely support the proposed federal minimum wage increase to 7.25 an hour, the proposal at the heart of the news conference at the Radio Deli.

I was not a participant in the news conference, merely an onlooker. Nonetheless, I completely support Peter Welch, Bernie Sanders and Pat Leahy in their efforts to bring the rest of the nation up to our minimum wage level here in Vermont.

I find it the "height of irony" that Mr. Barnett would want to antagonize a moderate member of the Vermont House who has supported the Governor's position on a number of issues! It seems Mr. Barnett's stated goal of maintaining enough house votes to block all veto override attempts has just become a little more difficult to achieve.

In other words, Mr. Barnett's "Gotcha Gun" has misfired once again, at the expense of the Governor.

I don't know how much money Mr. Barnett takes in at his "job," but 7.25 an hour would, in his case, seem extraordinarily generous.

Rep. Jim Condon
Colchester, VT
www.condonforcolchester.com
 
"In other words, Mr. Barnett's "Gotcha Gun" has misfired once again, at the expense of the Governor."

Wow, you would actually let Barnett's comments influence your vote on issues important to Vermonters? That is an astonishing and troubling admission.
 
Rep. Condon, I would like to say, "huh"? It appears that you are letting Mr. Barnett's comments decide if you vote to overide the governor's veto. Shouldn't you be voting on the issue in front of you? I hope I am misunderstanding or misreading your comments.
 
Dear "Anonymous,"

I will continue to judge each issue on its own merits, and how the issue will affect my constituents on Colchester and everyone in the state of Vermont.

The ability to reach sound compromise on an issue is a necessity when dealing with multiple parties with multiple interests. Compromise is facilitated by intelligent discussion, thorough investigation of the issue at hand...and mutual respect for other legislators and their points of view. I have great respect for the Governor, but the current chairman of his party seems to have forgotten that respect is a two-way street.

As a Democrat, I should be happy that this chairman has overseen a steep drop-off in the number of Republicans elected to the House and Senate during his tenure. Nonetheless, I believe it would serve the people of Vermont better to have a robust and thoughtful opposition party. Under the current chairman, however, that possibility seems unlikely.

The GOP has had some outstanding chairmen in the past...and I still hold out a flicker of hope that their next party boss will possess enough thoughtfulness and respect for other opinions that all Vermonters will benefit.
 
"It seems Mr. Barnett's stated goal of maintaining enough house votes to block all veto override attempts has just become a little more difficult to achieve."
"I will continue to judge each issue on its own merits, and how the issue will affect my constituents on Colchester and everyone in the state of Vermont."

I'm not sure how you resolve the first statement with the second. Are you withdrawing your statements about your obvious dislike for Barnett and his comments influencing your votes on unrelated issues?
 
Barnet's such a coward, he posts under "anonymous".

Take pride in your words. Attach your name to them.

Otherwise you're just another Repubican coward.
 
I'm not Barnett or even a Republican, sorry. Just someone who doesn't like the idea of my legislators voting based on personal grudges.
 
How do we know you aren't Barnett?

We know that Barnett takes liberties with the truth.
 
Because I'm telling you that I'm not. Bummer that internet anonymity makes you so angry, but most of the rest of the world came to grips with it a few years ago. Now either offer a coherent thought on the subject at hand, or keep calling attention to Mr. Condon's failure to explain his startling statement by screeching about the identity of one of the anon posters on this thread (I'm not the only one, BTW).
 
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