We exceeded our highest expectations. I think we expected 30-40 people max. And this was just from a last ditch brainstorm last Wednesday night, when Shumlin and Symington thought they had shut the door for good. In just five days, look what we, the people, pulled together!
We had over 130 people representing 56 towns. Many people sacrificed a vacation day, or a day's pay. We were of nurses, truck loaders, educators, veterans, artists, engineers, painters, students, builders, lawyers, gardeners, writers, homemakers, dental hygenists--the list goes on! Many thanks to everyone who came, brought their kids or a friend, made a few phone calls, organized a carpool, helped register people, and who added their voice to democracy in action!
So this is what is happening after the protest....
In the Vermont Senate:
Sen. Jeanette White and Sen. Dick McCormack are working today on the wording of a better resolution than the old one which is stuck in the House Judiciary Committee. That in itself is a success, because Monday night I spoke at length with Jeanette and she had decided to not introduce anything. They hope to introduce it and we are working with them to figure out the best way to have it proceed from there. For now we need every Senator hearing from dozens of constituents voicing their support for it at least coming up for a vote.
In the Vermont House:
A representative is collaborating to make the same resolution for the House--with simple clear wording. He will wait and see if the Judiciary Committee of the House will submit the old resolution (JRH 015) in the coming days. The Chair of the JC (Bill Lippert) has 2 votes out of 11, so it is not likely to move. Next week a representative will, in a last ditch effort, make a motion to "call it out of committee" to the House floor for discussion/vote.
This motion requires a majority vote to allow it to come to the floor for discussion. This method has only been successful a handful of times in the last 15 years. It is not often done b/c it is seen as undermining the committee and the process. But--I don't think they've had many showings like ours yesterday in the last 15 years. I spoke to a couple of Reps yesterday who said they are hesitant to approve such a motion--but if they heard from enough of their constituents, they would be more likely to consider it.
What can you do?
Write letters to the editor. Contact your state reps and state senators. Share this post and the Brattleboro Reformer's editorial with your family, friends, work colleagues.
(Even though the Symington's and Shumlin's reaction to our efforts on Tuesday were less than positive, we did get good press coverage. That was also a goal. I mean, 130 people; much more than we expected.)
Attend the "Listen to the People: Reclaim the Constitution" rally at Burlington City Hall, this Saturday April 21st, Noon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping in some small way.