More government spending, gun control, physician assisted suicide, the unionization of child care workers and single payer health care were among the issues that a coalition of left wing special interest groups descended on the state house to push on the first day of the legislative session. This story was covered in a Burlington Free Press article:
Before the gavels fell in either the House or Senate, a coalition gathered in the Cedar Creek Room just down the hall from the two chambers to call on lawmakers to invest in clean water.
In the cafeteria, where many lawmakers stopped to get a cup of coffee and greet colleagues, a group appealed to the politicians to ban assault weapons.
At noon, participants in a rally organized by a dozen groups, many sporting bright T-shirts, clogged the main hall and stood should-to-shoulder in a nearby meeting room, chanting, “Put People First.”
A diverse cross-section of Vermonters wanted to make sure from Day One that their elected representatives knew the issues on which their constituents wanted action.
Despite the spin, this was not a spontaneous gathering of people representing the interest of the elected representatives “constituents”, but an organized coalition of left wing activists pushing their own government knows best agenda:
At noon, a crowd of disability clients and advocates, migrant farm workers, members of several labor unions and environmentalists filled the first floor of the Statehouse with noise and energy.
“So many organizations have come together to let our elected representatives know what our agenda is,” declared Mary Gerisch of Bennington, president of the Vermont Workers Center. “Today we join in a movement that believes Vermont can and must do better.”
The coalition of a dozen groups delivered thousands of postcards to lawmakers detailing what actions they should take to promote human rights. The coalition wants lawmakers to keep the state moving to a single-pay health care system, support childcare workers’ right to form a union, allow migrant farm workers to get drivers licenses, adequately fund disability services, ban tar sands oil from moving through Vermont, fund weatherization, and create a budget process that puts people first.
Putting people first would be a really good idea if that was really what their agenda was about, but the whole focus seems to be on putting government bureaucrats first by expanding government’s role. This approach takes the decision making power out of the hands of the people and puts it in the hands of government. How on earth is that “putting people first?” Given Vermont’s culture of responsible gun ownership, it is highly unlikely that the effort of the group to push gun control represents the will of the elected officials’ “constituents”:
Lawmakers passing through the Statehouse cafeteria Wednesday morning also came upon a small group seeking support for an assault weapons ban in Vermont and nationally.
Laurie Levin of Norwich said she was gathering signatures for petitions in hopes of getting Vermonters to vote on Town Meeting Day in March to call for the ban and to require criminal background checks for every gun sold.
“We will take all the votes to the Legislature and say, ‘Pay attention’,” Levin said. “Our goal is to say‘this is a sea change.’”
Levin said her group, Communities Against Assault Weapons, started shortly after the Connecticut shootings last month and has been spreading.
It is time for our lawmakers to stop letting well funded and well organized special interest groups determine our political agenda and start really putting Vermonters first by getting government off our backs.