Too often these days, divisiveness and disrespect in our national politics and political dialogue are expected and tolerated. Diplomacy and optimism are being forgone for partisan cynicism and bitterness. Solving problems has taken a back seat to finger-pointing and resentments. Partisanship has turned into full-on tribalism.
Vermont also sees its share of this type of partisanship gamesmanship. But, we seem to be faring better then much of the country.
In the 2016 election, Vermont voters sent divided government to Montpelier with a moderate Republican governor, an inclusive Democratic Speaker of the House, the largest number of centrist independents serving in a state legislature in the U.S., and respectable numbers of moderates in both the Republican and Democratic legislative caucuses.
The need to listen and compromise is required with divided government in a way it is not required with supermajority and single-party governments.
Rep. Ed Read is one of those centrist independents serving in the Vermont House, willing to listen to all aspects and work with legislators of any party to introduce, amend and pass thoughtful and effective legislation.
Following his appointment last year, Ed hit the ground running and made an immediate and important impact on legislation, most especially on short-term rentals and beer franchises legislation. His first-year appointment to the short-term rentals conference committee is particularly worthy of note.
A conference committee is a small group of legislators from the House who are tasked with working through differences, on behalf of the entire House, with our colleagues in the Senate. It’s unusual for a first-year legislator to be named to such a committee and speaks to Ed’s engaging style, work ethic and ability to work effectively with others.
Ed made a positive impression throughout the House in his first year. He represented the voters of Washington-7 as an approachable, engaging, hard-working and independent voice for good government. Given his level of effectiveness at finding common-sense, middle of the road solutions in his first year, the voters of Washington-7 would be well served in electing him to a second term.
West Dover, Vt.
Laura Sibilia is an independent in the Vermont House of Representatives.