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vt.Buzz ~ a political blog

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



The language of politics

Last week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne called for the Douglas administration to issue an executive order shutting down Vermont Yankee in 2012. He also indicated the Legislature should vote to do that.

This week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deb Markowitz called for an immediate vote up or down on Vermont Yankee's post-2012 future. She urged hem to take an "up-or-down vote," though the tone of her message seemed to indicate she meant she wanted it voted down.

Dunne didn't actually mention the Legislature in his release. He focused his attention on the governor's office, though he said, "We must clarify through vote or executive order that Vermont Yankee will be decommissioned in 2012." The Legislature is the entity that votes.

I took his sidestepping as an indication that he was avoiding direct criticism of his fellow Democratic gubernatorial opponents, three of whom are in the Legislature. They've agreed not to beat up on each other, after all.

Markowitz, in a newspaper opinion piece, said, "Our legislative leaders should vote now on the relicensing of Vermont Yankee." That would allow the state and the employees of VY to plan for the future, she said.

In an e-mail to supporters, she reworded the message to say that, "Montpelier needs an up-or-down vote now on the aging nuclear plant's future," without mentioning that Montpelier is the Legislature, one chamber of which is headed by one of her opponents who could call for a vote today but hasn't. She then encouraged her supporters to sign an online petition "so that our legislative leaders in Montpelier can see our names and hear our voices."

Which brings me to another thing I find odd about the Vermont Yankee issue and politicians. More than one has indicated that what's really worrisome about this issue is that it's been in the newspapers.

Here, for example, is what Rep. Peter Welch said in a statement two weeks ago:
“I am deeply disturbed by news reports indicating that Vermont Yankee failed to provide accurate information to the state and the public."

I think what he's disturbed about is that Vermont Yankee failed to provide accurate information, but he almost seems to be suggesting that it wouldn't be disturbing if the news reports hadn't gone blabbing it to everybody, but now that everybody knows about it he's got to act disturbed. I am glad to see, though, that news reports still matter.

- Terri Hallenbeck


"I am glad to see, though, that news reports still matter." Keep dreaming!
Perhaps Dunce, I mean Dunne, could use his "crisis" of high-speed internet (or lack there of) to urge Vermonters to have higher electric bills. Typical of trustfunders. How 'bout Democrats working on really lowering my property taxes (hint - this is the one issue that Vermonters are really concerned about.)
Aren't the pathetic Democratic candidates so lucky they have VY as such a useful political punching bag.

Shame on them.
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