Henry Street in Burlington is usually a quiet part of the Queen City. And with election signs on the lawns, there are literally signs it swings Democratic. But in the sea of left-leaning supporters, one home sticks out. Not because of the sidewalk construction out front, but because the homeowner is a Republican.
Thursday, the group Vermont Leads-- which supports a single-payer health care system-- held a protest starting at a nearby park and ending at this home.
"We're concerned TV ads have been running that have been misleading Vermonters into thinking universal health care isn't going to help people," said Peter Sterling of Vermont Leads.
Those ads were paid for in part by homeowner Lenore Broughton, who's contributed over $250,000 this election season to the Vermont First super PAC. Vermont Leads says there is no corporate headquarters for the super PAC, so they had nowhere else to go.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Is it crossing the line since it is a private home?
Peter Sterling: We're not advocating to go into her home. We can't do a rally in front of a P.O. box in St. Albans.
"She's set someone's hair on fire, that's what she's done," said Jack Lindley of the Vermont Republican Party. "We need political discourse that informs the voters and I'm not sure how this informs the voters. I have a question mark if they're not stepping on their own message."
Political views aside, some neighbors aren't happy about the display.
"I don't know anything about the protest, but I know my neighbor and I don't know why there's a huge group of people protesting in front of her house. It bothers me," neighbor Ashley Bond said.
"We're not trying to intimidate anyone, we're expressing our rights as Vermonters that single-payer isn't the way to go," Sterling said.
Broughton, who didn't return our phone call, issued this statement through the super PAC: "I support Vermonters First because I believed outside groups were coming into our state and drowning out the voices of the people who actually live here. Now I know it for a fact. They're outside my house."
All the funding for Vermont Leads comes from the Service Employees International Union based in Washington, D.C.
Protesters questioned the timing of the construction, but Burlington Public Works says the decision to replace the sidewalk in front of Broughton's home was not decided Thursday and has been in the works.
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