Protestors prove Vermonters First is RIGHT

By Rob Roper

The first issue on the Vermonters First website  is titled, “The Money Imbalance: Vermonters are getting shut out of their own state government.” It goes on to point out,

“For a long time now, Vermont has been seen by the out-of-state political Left as a place to spend and experiment. From issues ranging from radical and unconstitutional campaign finance laws to a healthcare system that average Vermonter cannot afford, it has reached a point where many Vermonters feel we no longer have a voice in how we are governed.”

A protest outside the home of a Vermonters First supporter by the single payer advocacy group Vermont Leads, which is funded mostly if not entirely by the SEIU, a union with no members in the state and no ties to Vermont, did more to prove this point than anyone else possibly could. Headlining the protest was a single payer advocate, Kathie McClure and her purple bus, from Georgia. The episode was a brazen attempt by out-of-state activists to silence a Vermonter attempting to spread the truth about single payer. (Even Vermont Digger an Seven Days, hardly right-wing sympathy publications, rated Vermonters First’s healthcare ad as “TRUE”)

This thuggish intimidation tactic has sparked outrage across Vermont’s political spectrum. Ed Adrian, a former Democratic Burlington city councilman, posted on the Burlington Free Press comment’s page, “…protesting in front of someone’s house is absolutely bullying. Write letters, post blogs, attend civic meetings, send the person letters or emails… but someone’s house should be off limits…. Actions like these will have a severe chilling effect on peoples’ willingness to engage in the political process….” Adrian’s sentiments are widely shared.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have come into Vermont to push for a government takeover of the healthcare system (Vermonters First lists some of them HERE), replacing what we have with a single-payer experiment that even its most ardent supporter, Governor Peter Shumlin, has admitted hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried. As such, the people behind the money advocating for this will not have to pick up the $5 billion price tag, nor will they have to live with the consequences of such a plan. Others – namely us – get to be the lab rats in this social science project while they sit back and watch. This is patently unjust, and as Vermonters First points out, there at least needs to be balance in this debate. Vermonters need and deserve a voice.

Lenore Broughton deserve praise for standing up to these people and their tactics. And Vermont Leads, their out-of-state union bankrollers, and out-of-state activists deserve thanks for showing the Green Mountain State just how vile this whole situation and the people behind it are.

* Note. An earlier version of this story referred to Ed Adrian as a Progressive. He is a Democrat. Apologies to Mr. Adrian for the error. 


10 thoughts on “Protestors prove Vermonters First is RIGHT

  1. I’ve never known VPIRG or the others you’ve mentioned to spend closing in on $1 million on repeated targeted mailings telling you who to vote for on all “down-ticket” senate AND rep. races, along with 5-6 TV ads ( so far) with matching misleading talking points. This is what the state parties usually do, and if they overstep in what they say, you can call them on it….now it’s done with complete deniability by any party or candidate. This is something new in Vermont, and it’s still coming at us. One person trying to buy elections.

  2. Paula, Vermonters First is not a 501c4. It is transparent. It makes monthly filings as to who has donated and how much. VPRIG has a 501c4 wing, which allows for anonymous donations. Do you have a problem with that? Mailings in house races are also not uncommon from Left wing organizations like the VT NEA and the Conservation Law Foundation, just to name the first that come to mind. There’s nothing new about absentee ballot campaigns, either. Personally, I think all this focus by left leaning legislators on passing laws that expand and encourage absentee voting is bad, and leads to exactly this sort of thing — pressuring voters outside of the sanctity of the voting booth — but if that’s where the left wants to take us, this is how the game is going to be played. Again, what’s different here is there is a balance in the debate and in resources for the first time in a long time.

  3. Paula, big money in Vermont politics is not new. Did you object when the SEIU (now being sued for RICO violations and intimidation in a nursing home case in NJ) gave Vermont Leads $100,000 to push for single payer? Did you object when George Soros (has he ever been to Vermont) gave Vermont Healthcare now $107,000 to push for single payer? Do you object to the $130,000 out of state organizations gave to VPIRG to push single payer on Vermonters, or the $190,000 in out of state money that went to the Vermont Workers Center? How about the $500,000 the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation gave the Green Mountain Care Board for “slick ads” promoting single payer? The only thing different here is there is now some balance to this debate, and the money is coming from inside Vermont.

    • Rob Roper – I agree with what you are pointing out, money in lobbying over issues, like a single payer health care plan, or a for-profit insurance system, has ever been with us. We rely on transparency about sources of funding, and, fortunately,the requirement at the Statehouse that lobby groups have to be registered, so that we can better make our own judgements about their information.
      What I’m talking about as new and ominous in Vermont is the 501 4c super PAC use in campaigns . Vermonters First is directly involving itself in election campaigning, sending mailings and absentee ballot applications to households throughout the state, naming the candidates you should vote for, and obviously being able to give any misinformation it feels like with no accountability. Even the Party or the candidate can disown anything said in these mailings because officially they “are not co-ordinated” with campaigns. And the source of funding does not have to be disclosed.
      Here’s my beef : races for state representatives , even for state senators, from small towns usually do not have huge budgets. There is a high level of volunteer involvement, neighborhood fund-raisers, hosting meet-greets etc. A very local Vermont-style grass roots democracy….the candidates get out there, go door-to-door and try to become known. All of a sudden THIS YEAR we get THREE state-wide fancy mailings over two weeks with absentee ballot applications AND robo-calls telling you all the people to vote for down to the state rep. These mailings offer a huge advantage in getting your name known. How do we ordinary citizens with our bake sales compete with the flood of money it takes to do this , especially when there is no party accountability for the scare messages & misinformation going along with it ? and the clincher is they don’t have to say where the money is coming from. It seems to me Vermonters First, with all these mailings throughout the state, and 4 TV ads, has by now blown through the $100,000 Lenore Broughton has provided. Where else are they getting money from ? We don’t know. It’s legal, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. And it doesn’t feel like the way we usually do things in Vermont. It’s definitely something new.

  4. Thank you Lenore, for your tireless devotion to truth and your willingness to step out and be a voice for Vermonters. It is a privilege to know you.

  5. I’m afraid I have a very different view of Lenore Broughton’s super Pac efforts. They started coming to my attention when I got her first mailing, filled with misleading and inaccurate information ,meant to scare people out of their pajamas, along with absentee ballot application & addressed envelope. I’ve been doing what a normal citizen does to support the local candidate for Rep. from my town, knocking on doors, helping with fund-raisers, writing a letter in the local paper. But I don’t have money to compete with this slick propaganda going out to everyone in town. What’s worse, by now I’ve had a total of THREE slick mailings, a robo-call, and have turned on the TV at news time to see at least 4 different TV ads echoing the mis-information in these mailings. This is so lop-sided and undemocratic, that just one person can put so much money into supporting one of the candidates at my town level….Ms. Broughton probably doesn’t even know this candidate ! This is real bullying . It’s something new in Vermont, to have super PACS involved in our elections. I don’t think individuals with money should have such a big megaphone that they can drown out the average citizens in their own small towns. It’s the right of those Vermonters to peaceably assemble and petition for their grievances ! It’s as American as apple pie, it’s legal and if there had been a headquarters or office building to gather in front of, they would have gone there….but there is no such place.

  6. Lenore Broughton has worked tirelessly for years to inform Vermonters about what is REALLY happening here in this State as we have been turned into an incubater for scialist governance. She is a courageous fighter for the ideals of our Founding Fathers. These disgusting tactics of bullyiny and intimidation employed by the left to attempt to silence those with whom they disagree will not work – WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH !!! God bless you Lenore and thank you for your love of this Country!!!
    Virginia Duffy

  7. Let me second that praise Lenore. You have provided forums for the truth for a long time. While many folks do not know you, most appreciate your efforts. Thank you!

  8. Hi Rob

    My Progressive colleagues would be surprised to find out that I switched parties after just finishing up a stint as the Burlington Democratic Vice-Chair. Also I withdrew from the Chittenden Senate Race on 7/27. But you did get the quotes right.


  9. Excellent article! Lenore Broughton is a wonderful example of a true patriot…..someone who loves her state, her country and the principles on which it was founded. How despicable that because she cares enough to try to help Vermonters hear both sides of an issue, and try to create some sense of balance, she ends up being harassed and bullied! Vermont Leads antics are disgusting, despicable and to those people who were involved yesterday, as stated in the article above………..thanks for showing everyone your true colors. And to Lenore…….keep up the good work! There are many, many people behind you.

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