Vt. Democrats win record number of Statehouse seats, veto-proof majority
MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Democrats made big gains in the Legislature Tuesday night, securing a veto-proof majority over Republican Governor Phil Scott.
“I am so excited to share the news that we have a veto-proof majority,” House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, said during a victory celebration Tuesday night.
Voters delivered to Statehouse Democrats on Election Day. Democrats and their allies held a razor-thin super-majority last biennium in a Statehouse comprised of 92 Democrats, 46 Republicans, seven Progressives, and five Independents. In January, there will be 104 Democrats, 38 Republicans, five Progressives, and three Independents -- well over the two-thirds majority to override a veto from the governor.
Krowinski says this will give them leverage to pass policies like child care funding and paid family leave that never made it over the finish line the last two years. “We are going to do everything we can do to make sure every Vermonter has a fair shot and nobody is left behind, no one,” she said.
It’s the most Democrats ever in the House, despite there being 246 seats until reapportionment in 1964.
State GOP vice chair Samantha Lefebvre says even though the governor can still veto legislation, Democrats will be unleashed in which bills are taken up. “Where is that asking point, where is someone putting the brakes on? I do not believe that one party having control is good for anybody,” she said.
While local GOP candidates saw setbacks, voters once again gave Phil Scott a resounding mandate. The Republican governor captured 71% of the vote compared to Democrat Brenda Siegel’s 24%.
And he won in every town, including Siegel’s hometown of Newfane. He is also becoming more popular among all voters compared to his three previous elections.
As Statehouse Republicans chart a path next year -- and eventually 2024 -- Middlebury political science professor Bert Johnson says they may want to take a page out of Phil Scott’s playbook. “Trying to say you’re a moderate, saying you’re going to provide balance to what is largely a Democratic body of officials,” he said.
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