To all upcoming November voters in the MRV, I would like to suggest something that I’m sure exists at some unconscious level in the majority of minds throughout the voting district, but may not be at the forefront of your minds when you head to the polls.
In 2016, I ran for state representative as an Independent. At the time, the seats up for election were held by Representative Maxine Grad and then-Representative Adam Greshin.
I lost the election, fair and square, and I concede and accept those results without question or objection.
However, soon after the election, Greshin resigned as a legislator to accept a role with Governor Scott’s team. I applaud Adam for his willingness to accept potential short-term appointments in efforts to save money for Vermont, over the likely continued future holding of his former seat in the Legislature.
Once Adam stepped down, the seat was left vacant and needed to be filled.
Per the Vermont Constitution, the responsibility to appoint a temporary seat holder for the balance of the term resides with the governor. What I’ve said should simply serve as a reminder for the process required for a smooth transition in the instance of a legislative member absconding their seat in either the House or the Senate.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this letter, I ran for one of the two seats for the House as the only other Independent candidate in the 2016 legislative election here in our district.
In my mind, this meant that the only, the logical, and the correct choice to replace Adam would be the selection of candidates whom fit the requirements (i.e., needing to be an Independent) and from the pool of whom ran in the election cycle prior to the seat being vacated. This would mean that I, and I alone, was the obvious and only choice for appointment to temporarily fill the empty seat in the House.
Let me be clear, if this vacancy had taken place following the 2014 election cycle, the only two plausible and acceptable candidates should have been Ed Read or Heidi Spear, as they, and they alone, were the only two individuals to run as Independents in that election cycle other than Adam Greshin. And to appropriately decide the appointment between the two, the obvious choice would have been whomever happened to win more votes.
Instead of following this morally acceptable, very simple, and logical framework for appointment to the vacancy, Governor Scott and his team instead chose to implement their own biases and interfere with the appointment process by holding interviews with applicants (regardless of whether they had previously showed political interest in running for office prior or not) who wished to be considered to fill the vacancy.
NOT THE CASE
Now, if nobody had ever run for office prior to this vacancy other than the individual whom was doing the vacating, I could empathize and understand the logic behind holding such interviews. However, given that such is not the case, logic would dictate that acceptable candidates for selection would be chosen upon merit of running for office, how recently they ran, and where they stood tally-wise in that election against the other eligible candidates.
Again, following this procedure of simplicity, logic, fairness and neutrality, this leaves myself as the only option and choice to fill the vacant seat.
Which means that the appointment of the current seat holder, Ed Read, is politically motivated and politically imposed. Clearly Governor Scott and his administration felt Read would be most advantageous to his party’s causes.
I would like to be clear for those thinking that I am trying to run a smear campaign against Ed Read in efforts to win an election against him. I am not running in the 2018 election. As those of whom voted for me in 2016 know, I do not believe in accepting donations as such denotes the creation and manifestation of favors for votes, and accepting them serves only to lay the foundation for corruption within the elected.
Because of this philosophy, my campaign in 2016 was self-funded, as would be any future campaigns also be. I feel that mounting a sufficient campaign against the folks currently seeking a bid to the House would be outside of my capacity to self-finance a winning outcome. It would be akin to throwing away my own money purely for the sake of ego to obtain a probable losing minority of votes.
However, I would like to encourage voters (when they go to the voting booths in November) to be conscious and considerate to the fact that just because the current seat holder is an Independent, it does not mean he necessarily truly aligns with those ideals, nor does it mean that he necessarily represents what an Independent candidate should be standing for (though Independent can fall under virtually any definition as it denotes neither Democrat, Republican or Progressive). I urge you to think for yourself and recognize that instead of choosing the logical candidate based on a process of neutrality and reason, the temporary seat holder was chosen by an administration whom felt that the current seat holder would, for whatever reasons, be the correct choice.
In my eyes, this means that the current seat holder has Republican values and/or Republican ties, and thus not Independent values.
However, had this same seat holder been up for consideration in 2014 when he ran, I would be less inclined to suggest the same application of values, as his appointment to the House would have been a much fairer and honest representation of political freedom and, thus, the decision of the people, and justice in the eyes of the process.
Sallerson lives in Warren.