Posted on January 8, 2021
Yesterday, after being honored to take the oath of office to protect the Constitution of our state and country, I voted against the rules allowing the legislature to make laws by remote control without any personal interaction with the voters.
This is being done because of public health issues but that is a dodge of responsibility of the highest order. Every day our fellow citizens are going to work, caring for their children and parents, holding onto their businesses and serving the public. Yet our elected leaders think they are immune from doing their duty and meeting the letter of our Constitution by allowing people to peacefully assemble and seek redress of their grievances. It is reasonable to ask why legislators cannot make accommodations to meet with constituents safely during public hearings and votes.
Instead, we are told that the new form of representative democracy is a laptop. That is not acceptable given the huge challenges our state faces around state spending, education, job creation and economic growth. Other issues discussed include towns ability to make their own planning and zoning choices regarding affordable housing, legalizing marijuana, sports betting, an expansion of absentee voting, removal of our religious exemption, increased taxes and a looming budget deficit. All of these are very important issues. None of these can be relegated to zoom meetings where a voter’s ability to reach their elected official is based on email and texting. I urge our leaders to evaluate this decision and open the People’s House safely or suspend operation until the Spring when events may improve.
There are sufficient state funds to meet our obligations and if needed, we could reconvene for any emergency. To suspend the people’s right to be heard in person has never been done in our state’s history. This is not a time to surrender that right despite the challenges before us.