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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shumlin Said WHAT???

Pshumlin Peter Shumlin of Putney returns to the Golden Dome in January after a four-year absence. Shummy will be the president pro tem of the Vermont Senate once again. Yes, he got his old job back. Yours truly spoke with him on the phone on Friday and, boy, oh boy, did we ever get a surprise.

When asked what’s the top issue facing Vermont, just about every pol we’ve spoken to this fall has answered “high property taxes.”

Not Peter Shumlin. Ready for a surprise?

Q: What’s it like coming back as president pro tem? No one’s ever done this before?

Shumlin: Well, you’re right about that and there are probably good reasons for it. You feel like you have a lot of catching up to do. I’m a little out of the loop, but I’m going to give it my best and I’m really excited about coming back. We have the biggest challenges policy-wise that Vermont’s faced in my memory and we’ve got to get on the job and get it done."

Q: What’s the #1 issue?

Shumlin: Let’s put it his way - I think #1 is global warming and keeping this planet from destroying itself and keeping us from destroying this planet in front of our own eyes. So everything is related to that. Obviously property taxes and health care are big, but I think we make a big mistake if we don’t acknowledge that energy policy, environmental policy where Vermont was once a leader, we’re now laggards. Look at the temperature today. It’s a warm 65 degrees in Central Vermont. We’ve got problems."

Q. So the focus at the Statehouse this winter has to be on global warming?

: “Here’s the bottom line. We all have a responsibility to ensure that we’re doing our part in not only conservation, but going to renewable energy  sources and reducing emissions.  And I think there’s a problem when you’ve got someone like ‘The Terminator’ Arnold Swarzenegger leading the country. The most bold initiatives in the country are coming from a governor we know doesn’t tend to be too bold on environmental policy. I applaud his efforts, but when I went into politics 15-20 years ago in Vermont we were a leader on environmental policy. That’s no longer the case.

"And I think that everything that we do is related to the biggest question which is: what do we do to preserve this planet for our children and our grandchildren? This is serious stuff. The polar ice cap is melting. The climate is changing. Our entire survival is on the line:  farms, the ski industry, jobs. Everything relates to this really important question and someone’s got to raise their voice about it.

"I remain baffled as to how anyone - Democrat, Republican, Progressive - can look at the evidence that’s before our eyes, look at the scientific data and  not have this be the top priority of everything that we do, not only in government, but in our own personal and private lives.

We’ve got to come out of the cave on this one.”

"Out of the cave," eh?

Nice to hear someone say it.

What do you think?

Is Senator Shumlin on the right track?


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Graham Hunter

You know, I think that Shumlin's comment is a pretty outstanding thought. After all, the problems of health care and property taxes are simply matters of degree - health care has a cost, and whether the 'solution' is single payer, or health savings accounts, or more fitness for the population, it basically boils down to a question of 'can we get the price down far enough, or the number of people not covered down small enough so that people are less riled up about the costs or lack of covverage, and are now more concerned/irritated about something else. Similarly, funding education is a problem that has been a problem for as long as I can remember, but it just boils down to 'how do we remain true to our societal commitment to provide an adequate education, and should we really be trying to allocate the cost across the entire state in a fair and equitable manner' (our Supreme Court, and courts in an increasing number of other states have said YES to the last part of the question.) (All you have to do is define 'adequate', 'fair', and 'equitable', and then figure out how to do it.)

The cost/delivery of health care, and property taxes for education are going to be with us, and whether we take action or not, we will keep receiving and paying the bills for the system that is currently in place. Dealing with global warming is an issue that we can walk away from, either by saying that the problem doesn't exist, or that the problem is not created/exacerbated by people, or by saying that the problem is too great for a single state like Vermont to undertake.

I think that it is pretty amazing that someone in a leadership position would identify this as a priority item AFTER THE ELECTION, and after being elevated to a position where he could actually direct action or thought toward dealing with the problem.

Good for Mr. Shumlin.

sandy ward

I met Shumlin at a health care rally in Montpelier back in 2002. Introduced myself as a candidate for Grassroots. He said, "I like Grassroots" which reminded me of an old joke involving apples, but anyway, he's right on.


This is fantastic news! Bravo, Peter Shumlin. Thank you!


I still believe that restoration of our full civil rights which were taken away by the radical right and friends of "W" should be our first priority. I do not trust the current administration in Washington, not the least bit. They consider the notion of global warming a declaration of war on our economy, and they now have the power to put people in jail for speaking out on this topic. Good for Peter Schumlin; there are many things we can do here within the great state of Vermont, like set a good example for the rest of the world.

Scott McCarty

Good for Shumlin. He'll do a great job in there and yes, he will address the property tax issue, education funding and economic growth. Go Shumlin.

Amelia Silver

Peter Shumlin is dead-right that the number one issue is the environment, here in Vermont and everywhere else in the world. The fact that Vermont once lead the country and now lags is just his starting point--I believe he will work like a devil to bring the urgent environmental crisis we have created to the forefront of every Vermonter's mind. And I'm not surprised at all: Peter is true blue, and feels passionately about Vermont and the planet, and always has.

Roger Hill

Peter Shumlin et all....

It's amazing and refreshing to see somebaody actually start talking about this problem on the scale it is.

Do yourselves a favor - ignore totally any skeptic's don't give them the time of day. Save your breath and energy - they are truely the 21st centuries "flat earther's" whom you simply can't explain science to, or are already sold an outlier fossil fuel funded version of non-reality and their may intenet is to keep the waters muddy - very muddy as muddy as possible.

Preaching to the choir -- 2ndly - go to google... type in ---- climate change news...
at the bottom of the google address page is a new alert service that you can plug your email address into, and get information from around the world on climate change - soon you will be inundated with the truth...the nauseating truth...climate records falling, species extinction etc.

Peter Shumlin is liestening, and is so far the only politician (freaking ever) while in a position to actually do something about it and to actually prioritise it as it relates to us and the planet.

I can't be amazed more and unfortunately I missed the MJ show.

Roger Hill
Weather Forecaster Radio Vermont group and
Weathering Heights Consulting

Roberto Gautier

As a fairly recent exile to Vermont, I agree with Peter Shumlin's position. Coming from Brooklyn where my family experienced the toxic clouds from the attack of 9/11 as well as the 24/7 pollution from traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn -Queens Expressway, it's clear that the environment is the most in-your-face issue. Vermont air is medicine for us, but I have never contributed to greenhouse emissions as much as I do now. My daily car use is doing real damage and I'd like to stop the madness. That's the challenge - no public transportation and a dangerously cavalier attitude towards carpooling are two of our main problems; beyond that, we all have to deal with a national cultural arrogance when it comes to "it's my right to drive my car regardless of what it does to the environment." The birthplace of the S.U.V. and the Hummer needs immediate restraint. Finally, energy policy in the US is dictated by EXXON and the oil gang. I'm commited to work for a change.

Hunter Melville

Don't you hate it when people move to Vermont, complain about all the driving and wish the state would subsidize mass transit so they can feel good about not having a carbon footprint?

Hope this guy doesn't have a fireplace... burning a cord of wood is pure conversion of living trees to CO2 in the atmosphere. Think about it... anyone serious about preserving the environment should never burn wood. Oh the humanity!


...burning a cord of wood is pure conversion of living trees to CO2 in the atmosphere. Think about it... anyone serious about preserving the environment should never burn wood.

The carbon emitted by a burned tree was removed from the atmoshphere by that tree as it grew. New trees planted for harvest a few years later will remove as much carbon as they will add.

This is not true for coal, oil, natural gas, or municipal waste - the carbon they add to the atmosphere is new carbon. Think about it: burning them is pure addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.

From a carbon perspective, burning wood is OK, but people should make sure that 2 trees are planted for every one that's cut for heat. This will ensure a long-term supply of wood for heat and reduce the impact of the wood that is burned, by sucking up even more carbon from the atmosphere.

Hunter Melville

That would make sense if trees grew to harvestable size in a year or two. But I am pretty sure it takes 40-50 years to replace a tree cut for firewood. Most of the firewood providers I know plant no replacement trees, do you?

Are you trying to tell us that if all the maple and birch trees in Vermont were cut down tomorrow and burned, that it wouldn't impact the environment if people went out and planted enough saplings?! With that logic, who cares if they burn down the Amazon rainforest.

No, if people really believed in preserving our ecology and in doing their part to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, they would never, ever, have a blaze in a fireplace.

And don't even get me started on how much CO2 is put into the air to make one hamburger or one fish-farm raised piece of sushi.... true believers should become vegetarians. No doubt about it. And even so, eating tofu takes a living soybean plant out of the circle of life and adds it's carbon to the air we breathe... through gaseous conversion. "Beans, beans, are good for the heart", and all that... it's CO2 and methane, people really have to face the truth.

thkyuyyyyyyy hlllllllll

how many old farm house can he fix up and sell for a good profit....using his new tax on vy?????


Typical Vermont Mushhead thats right save the planet for all the people who can't afford to live here. Uhm Global warming which is a farce if any of you bother to see or read that the temp is actually colder now hurricanes down. Oh thats right forget about those things when it doesn't support your causes. get with it. Most of you are transplanted flatlanders who don't work and forget about us who try and do the right thing and not suck off the tit of the government. JOBS JOBS and property taxes or all that will be left are the trees!!


I shudder to think how many living soybeans I`ve consumed and what effect my personal gaseous conversions have had on the polar ice cap.Too late to be a veggie man now tho` just wish more Brooklyn exiles had come out of some toxic cloud earlier and shown me how to live a good upstanding life! Bernie lit the socialist flame here then left town.Intresting that there are no comments here but one by Brian about jobs or buisness which drive the Vermont economy.My kids have moved,I`m closing my established buisness (20yrs)and leaving too.Kiss 5 more jobs goodbye.Peter


Peter Shumlin is doing so much good for VT it's not even funny. Anyone who disagrees with that is blind.

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