Editor of the Reformer,
In a September 28 letter, Rich Geidel belittles Governor Scott's role in protecting us from the pandemic ("Zuckerman as governor will move us forward"). "The reason that Vermont has had such a low level of cases of the virus," wrote Geidel, "is that we have had enough consideration for our neighbors to socially distance and wear masks," as though Governor Scott's exceptional leadership had little to do with it.
Certainly Vermonters get a lot of credit — Scott’s success depended on our intelligence. But Scott does deserve a lot of credit for incredible people skills necessary to get buy-in, not just from one industry, which would have been challenging enough; but for his remarkable achievement in bringing together multiple players, and doing it so smoothly that some of us now think it was nothing.
Perhaps his detractors imagine that Scott did little more than draft proclamations and issue guidelines, but without a police state he had little enforcement power. Scott was effective because he had the wisdom, not to merely issue orders, but to develop a plan in concert with those who would be affected. Members of my own profession, real estate brokerage, were on board to the extent that we totally shut down for nearly a month, and when the restart began, Realtors — unified in our no-nonsense compliance — refused to show homes to those out-of-staters who thought we would look the other way while they violated quarantine rules. That is one example of cooperation, across the board, thanks to Governor Scott's diplomacy.
The ability to make a complex challenge look easy is the mark of an outstanding administrator. My problem as a voter is that — in agreement with Geidel — I am dismayed by the vetoes of minimum wage, family leave, and other initiatives which put people first. My dilemma is that I do not know of any Democrat or Progressive who could do more than just get by, as Shumlin did, as an administrator, especially in a major crisis. I can respect anyone's endorsement of Zuckerman based on an honest evaluation of his positive qualities, but whichever way anyone decides to vote, I find it difficult to find polite words to respond to the lack of appreciation for what our Governor has done.