By Rep. Pattie McCoy (R-Poultney)
On Nov. 3, Vermonters spoke loud and clear. In a stunning rebuke of the status quo, the Vermont Legislature will have new leadership when it convenes in January due to the current Lieutenant Governor, President Pro Temp, Speaker of the House, and Progressive House Caucus Leader not returning to Montpelier. Longtime Democratic and Progressive lawmakers from all corners of Vermont lost their primary and general election campaigns.
Perhaps most important is the Democratic-Progressive coalition lost their Supermajority.
Meanwhile, Vermont Republicans gained ground. We expanded our footprint in the Vermont Legislature for the first time in six years. We picked up House seats we have never before had a Republican represent and Governor Scott won re-election by 40 points, totaling more votes than any Vermont governor in history.
Vermonters were loud and clear in their electoral mandate of more balance. With this newfound balance will be a greater focus on our structural challenges: affordability, a stagnant economy, the growing divide between Chittenden County and rural Vermont, our demographic trends, and the challenges we face as we weather the Covid-19 crisis.
We have an opportunity this biennium to make important strides on all of these issues and be a force for positive change. Whether it is lowering the cost of health care, unleashing the full potential of our workforce, or investing in higher education, we stand ready and willing to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We look forward to partnering with our colleagues across the aisle whenever we can, and respectfully engaging with them in a robust debate when we disagree in order to reach consensus.
The bottom line is if we pull together towards a brighter future, focus on the fundamentals, and recognize voters’ yearning for more balance in Montpelier, we all will succeed. But if we fail to act on these issues and instead put pet projects or partisan politics first, we will be ignoring the mandate of Vermonters and letting them down.
Vermont has an opportunity to emerge stronger than ever from the present crisis — but only if we pull together. With a greater balanced Legislature, we are in a position to do exactly that.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
McCoy is the Minority Leader of the Vermont House of Representatives. She is a member of the House Committee on Transportation, House Rules, Joint Rules and Legislative Council Committees