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



Post election reflections part 1

As time and severely sleep-deprived brain power allow today, I'll try to put up some post-election observations and reflections.

Driving in this morning I saw Gaye Symington standing alone on the sidewalk in front of the Sheraton near the I-89 interchange holding a hand-lettered sign that read "thank you." She was waving at cars and smiling, alone in her thoughts, free to be herself again. No aides standing by her side.

When I spoke to Tom Hermann, the 29-year-old Progressive who challenged Peter Welch on his war record, he mentioned how nervous he'd been at every debate and speech and interview. And how ironic that he hadn't been that nervous on most days during his tour in Iraq. "Where's the common sense in that?" he asked rhetorically.

Tuesday morning I caught up with three Chittenden Senate candidates outside Essex High School. I spoke with each separately, but they all made the same observation -- the Chittenden district is too unwieldy and should be split up.

Democrat Denise Barnard said, "win or lose, I really think this district needs to be broken up. I think there would be better constituent service." Minutes later Democrat/Progressive Tim Ashe said the same thing. And then Republican Robyn Myers-Moore echoed her rivals. "The size of our Senate district -- 110,000 people -- that is a pretty big step away from the approach to small, local politics that is how Vermonters like it. I worry that this big district doesn't represent the interests of all its towns."

More later.

-- Nancy Remsen

Amen on reconsidering the Chittenden County Senate district. Talk about an equal representation problem: if you are a citizen of Chittenden County, you elect six Senators and have six Senators working for you. If you are a citizen of Orange County, you have one. We need to have 30 one-seat Senate districts, based on population, or 15 two-seat districts. The majority of our current districts are two seats anyways.

The US Supreme Court says that state legislative districts must be based on population, so it's probably long past time for our notion of "county" Senators to be placed in the trashbin of history . . .
aaah, but the Vt constitution says the senate districts must follow county lines as much as possible.

By having 30 1-seat or 15 2-seat districts, you are just setting it up like the House side.

The whole idea is that the Senate seats are supposed to be more global and consider issues on a more statewide basis.

It's interesting that the 3 senate candidates interviewed have never served in the senate so they have no idea on what is expected.
I'm one of the few Democrats who thinks that the 6 member senate district is detremental.

Split it up 3 ways.

You don't have to serve in the Senate to see that this isn't fair to voters.
I was impressed with Mr Hermann in the VPT debate. I voted for him.
Hey Denise. How about giving me an Up Do, like Sarah Palin. You have the time, right?
Denise is great - she got shafted by the Democratic/Progressive Party!
No one got shafted. People voted otherwise. The parties had nothing to do with it.
I saw Gaye on the side of the road. Good for her. I was impressed with the fact that she took the time to go out there and say "thank you."

I voted for you, Gaye. Thank you for running and giving voters a choice.
Hopefully she was hitchhiking in a southerly direction.
The way she did that shows you how little she understands about politics.
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