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October 04, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newIt was a big week in Vermont news and politics. Who won and lost?

Federal workers, Burlington city councilors, Congress critters, health connectors, latte-sippers, unions, Randy Brock and... this ice cream-loving guinea pig.

Here's the Scoreboard for Friday, Oct. 4:

Winners:

Vermont's congressional delegation — Typically when Congress engages in epic showdowns over fiscal matters, Democrats and their liberal allies fracture, fight amongst themselves and fold. But as this week's partial government shutdown enters its fourth day, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) remain in lockstep with their president and party leadership.

Randy Brock — Nearly a year after getting creamed in the 2012 gubernatorial election, the Franklin County Republican rejoined the fray last weekend with an epic op-ed trashing Vermont Health Connect. Though Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration disputes Brock's facts, there's plenty of political upside to slamming the roll-out of an expensive, complex, contractor-designed IT system. If he's right, he'll remind us all in a year. If he's wrong, we'll probably forget it ever happened.

AFSCME — After winning this week's (not terribly dramatic) election to represent some 7000 home-care workers, look for AFSCME to play a far more influential role in Vermont's labor community and political system.

Shumlin's gun dance — It takes a talented politician to get Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Vice President Evan Hughes and avid gun control advocate Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson (D-Essex Junction) to take part in the same gun-related press conference. But does the gov's call for storage facilities to hold firearms seized from accused domestic violence perpetrators undermine his argument that "only the feds can take on gun issues?" 

Mike Donoghue — The Vermont law enforcement community's least favorite reporter was named the "Sevellon Brown AP New England Journalist of the Year" by the New England Society of Newspaper Editors this week for his dogged coverage of last year's Vermont State Police overtime scandal. Our hats and badges are off to you, Mike.

 

Losers:

Federal workers, the Vermont National Guard, state coffers, first-time home-buyers, hunters, low-income Vermonters — And everyone else screwed over by congressional malfunction.

Vermont Health Connect — You know Vermont's new health exchange is a little undercooked when even Shummy admits its early troubles include a few "something-burgers." Let's hope we don't all come down with mad cow disease.

Duck-and-cover council — Four days prior to a highly anticipated debate over basing F-35 planes at Burlington International Airport, Burlington City Council president Joan Shannon called it off, citing advice from the city attorney. The reason? Burlington evidently doesn't hold "public officials liability insurance" for the airport. Say what?! 

Lead-lined lattes — Vermont Public Radio dropped its news and classical music formats this week for a little bit of heavy metal. As the station's own Steve Zind first reported, Jane Lead-Holm's been trying to poison you for years! Well, not exactly. But next time I fall for Mitch Wertlieb's grandma story, I'm asking for the trip to Ecuador or the iPad — not another radio-active mug!

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