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February 06, 2014

This Week's Issue: A Neighborly Noise Feud in Burlington, 'Border' Security and Maple Saplings

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Find these news and politics stories in this week's Seven Days...

February 03, 2014

Amidst Talk of Presidential Run, Sanders Ramped up Political Fundraising in 2013

BernieSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ramped up his political fundraising last year as he hinted at a possible 2016 run for president, according to new documents filed late last week.

In the second half of 2013, Sanders raised nearly $327,000 for Progressive Voters of America, a "leadership political action committee" he recently revived. The second-term senator, who does not face reelection until 2018, raised an additional $15,000 for his traditional campaign account in the final three months of the year.

Year-end fundraising and spending reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Committee show that all three members of Vermont's congressional delegation — Sanders, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) — have come to rely upon so-called leadership PACs to conduct political business. In addition to their traditional campaign accounts, members of Congress can establish such entities to raise money and spend it for political purposes, though not explicitly on their own reelection campaigns.

Before last year, Leahy led the way in steering support to a leadership PAC; his is called Green Mountain PAC. But in March, Welch filed paperwork to establish his own, called Maple PAC. And in July, Sanders announced to his email list that he would focus on building up Progressive Voters of America, a leadership PAC he founded in 2004, but which never previously raised more than $51,000 per quarter. Sanders said at the time he hoped to use the group to "create a strong grass-roots movement in all 50 states, and work hard to elect progressive candidates at the local, state and national level."

Continue reading "Amidst Talk of Presidential Run, Sanders Ramped up Political Fundraising in 2013" »

January 28, 2014

Video: Sanders Gets All Up in Bachmann's Grill

State of the union? Booooooring. 

If you're lookin' for a good (political) time tonight, we recommend you skip that snooze-fest of a speech and watch this clip of our own Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appearing alongside — gasp! — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) Monday night on CNN's  "Situation Room."

Here it is (with apologies for being slow on the uptake):

  

After you're done watching, repeat after me: "DO YOU SUPPORT A CHAINED CPI?"

Calm down.

DO YOU SUPPORT A CHAINED CPI?!"

Calm down.

December 12, 2013

[Audio] Christie's and Scott's Remarks at Vermont Republican Party Gala

Whelp, it was only a matter of time.

Though New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie banned the press from covering his appearance Wednesday night at the Vermont Republican Party's "Welcome Winter" gala, audio of his speech, inevitably, has emerged.

Come on, dude, it's 2013.

The Vermont Press Bureau managed to sneak a tape recorder in, as reporter Peter Hirschfeld writes about here. And Seven Days has also gotten its dirty little mitts on a tape of Christie's remarks — as well as those of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. 

Surely you're tired of us writing about this by now, so we'll just leave you to the tapes. Here's Scott warming the crowd up:

And here's Christie delivering his keynote address:

Continue reading "[Audio] Christie's and Scott's Remarks at Vermont Republican Party Gala" »

Breaking: New Jersey Guy Comes to Vermont and Says Stuff, Sources Say

By now you know that I have absolutely nothing to tell you about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech to some 650 Vermont Republicans Wednesday night at the Champlain Valley Exposition.

As has been exhaustively reported by your loyal press corps, the event sold out weeks ago — well before Vermont GOP elders let it be known that reporters would be denied entry. And none of us was smart enough to grab a $50 ticket before the grabbing got done.

What a bummer. 

So all we can offer you, dear reader, are a couple of badly lit photos of the fairgrounds taken by one very cold, and slightly under-dressed reporter. Like this: 

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Continue reading "Breaking: New Jersey Guy Comes to Vermont and Says Stuff, Sources Say" »

December 11, 2013

This Week's Issue: F-35 Aftermath, Myers-Briggs for Farmers and Marijuana Testing

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We're in the home stretch of 2013, people. As we at Seven Days plot our year-end coverage, enjoy this week's news and politics stories:

Pick this week's Seven Days up in print, online or on the iOS app.

Cover photo by Sarah Priestap

December 09, 2013

Shumlin Reelected Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association

DGA Holiday Party inviteGov. Peter Shumlin was elected to a second term as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association on Monday, the organization announced.

As such, the Vermonter will lead Democratic efforts to win the 36 governorships up for grabs in November 2014. Of those, 22 are currently held by Republicans.

Shumlin was first elected to lead the partisan political group last December, when he hadn't quite finished his first term. In his first year as DGA chairman, the organization helped Terry McAuliffe recapture Virginia for the Democrats. The DGA sat out the year's other gubernatorial election, in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie easily won reelection.

"By focusing on the issues that matter in the everyday lives of middle-class families, the DGA won a major victory in Virginia this year," Shumlin said in a written statement released after his reelection. "In 2014, we will build on that momentum and communicate how Republican governors across the country have pursued a failed economic philosophy that rewards the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class and critical investments in education. I appreciate the support of my colleagues, and look forward to the important work of growing the ranks of Democratic governors."

Continue reading "Shumlin Reelected Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association" »

December 05, 2013

For $10,000, a Chance to Dine with Gov. Chris Christie in Vermont

Gov. Chris Christie
Photo By Bob Jagendorf from Manalapan, NJ, USA [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wanna break bread with a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination? All it takes is a $10,000 check made out to the Vermont Republican Party.

When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie comes to town next Wednesday, he'll speak to nearly 700 of the party faithful at the Vermont GOP's "Welcome Winter Gala." Fifty-dollar tickets to the event at the Robert E. Miller Expo Centre in Essex Junction sold out two weeks ago.

But the real schmoozing will take place ahead of the gala, during two exclusive events featuring heftier price tags and more access to the would-be president. Tickets to a two-hour private reception cost $1000 per couple, while access to a "Policy Roundtable" with the governor costs $10,000 per couple, according to an invitation obtained by Seven Days.

Continue reading "For $10,000, a Chance to Dine with Gov. Chris Christie in Vermont" »

November 21, 2013

With Leahy Presiding, Senate Goes Nuclear

Leahy.FilibusterDuring his 38 years in the U.S. Senate, Patrick Leahy has spent plenty of time in the minority. So it's no surprise that, like many senior Democrats, he's looked warily over the years at proposals to empower the majority at the expense of the minority.

On Thursday, that changed.

Along with 51 other Democrats and independents — including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Leahy voted to curtail the use of the filibuster by a minority faction to block most presidential appointments. The historic rules change means that a simple majority will suffice to confirm nominees to federal district and circuit courts and to the president's cabinet. 

"I believe in using the rules. I don't believe in abusing them," Leahy told Seven Days Thursday afternoon. "I have enough experience under both Democratic and Republican leadership to know that you have the rules, but you don't abuse them."

Continue reading "With Leahy Presiding, Senate Goes Nuclear" »

November 14, 2013

On Trip to North Africa, Welch Monitors Diplomatic Security in Libya, Peace-Keeping in Egypt

Welch.SinaiIn the fourteen months since Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has become an epicenter of outrage over the incident.

Its Republican members have criticized the Obama administration for failing to keep U.S. diplomatic personnel safe and, they allege, for covering up details of the attack.

Last weekend, four committee members — including Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) — traveled to Libya to review the State Department's progress in implementing security improvements to American embassies. It was a rare chance, Welch says, to put aside the partisan rancor and focus on substantive changes.

"The Oversight Committee, I think, unfortunately politicized what happened in Benghazi," he says. "But this trip, I thought, was an opportunity for two Republicans, two Democrats to start looking at this in a broader perspective and hopefully bring that back to the committee."

Joining Welch on the four-day trip to Libya, Egypt and Malta were U.S. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). Chaffetz, a conservative Republican who chairs an oversight subcommittee focusing on national security and foreign operations, has been particularly critical of the administration's handling of the embassy attack.

Continue reading "On Trip to North Africa, Welch Monitors Diplomatic Security in Libya, Peace-Keeping in Egypt" »

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