Republican House members move farther to the right 

Dear Editor,

Last week, Paul Dame, a first-year Republican Representative from Essex Junction penned an op-ed praising Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s recent visit. Dame touts Senator Paul as the “first candidate to prove how we can build a bigger, better, and bolder party right here in Vermont.” The Republican Party may well be in need of revitalization, but not the type that comes with candidates like Rand Paul.

Senator Paul is known for his extremist ideals, including defunding Planned Parenthood, eliminating pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and replacing the federal income tax structure with a flat tax, effectively raising taxes on middle class Americans.

Putting that kind of burden on the middle class, denying equal rights to women and the LGBT community, and opposing a path to citizenship don’t sound like the policies that will build a bigger and better Vermont to me. These views would clearly reverse the progress we’ve made and would set our state and nation back by decades. It was just 2009 that we were finally able to pass marriage equality in our state. We can’t afford to lose the precious ground we’ve gained.

It’s alarming to hear one of our House of Representatives praise Rand Paul’s “common sense” policies. This is the same representative who, this year, voted against a resolution recognizing a woman’s right to chose, voted against a resolution supporting fair wages for working Vermonters, and was (along with 14 other GOP lawmakers), curiously absent on a vote for the resolution opposing Indiana’s religious freedom law, which would have allowed the state to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

The views of Senator Rand Paul clearly reverse the progress made and would set Vermont and our country back by decades. How can a Presidential candidate who is “offended” by the idea of gay marriage be good for Vermont? It’s gravely concerning to see these views echoed and supported by a Vermont Republican legislator who claims to toe a moderate line.

As a business owner I know our economy benefits from a progressive income tax in Vermont. People who make less money should pay a lower rate. As a mother of three young women, I know their access to reproductive health services, cancer screening and birth control should be a fundamental right. On that I will not compromise. As a wife I know that love is love. I hope you’ll join me to ensure that these extremist national Republican politics stay out of Vermont.


Sarah Copeland Hanzas, state representative, Bradford, Vt.

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