The legislature's back in town. And that means plenty of fodder for this week's list of winners and losers in Vermont news and politics.
Here they are for the week ending Friday, January 11, as decided upon by the Committee on the Committee on the Committee on the Committee on Committees.
Don't like 'em? Impeach us!
Rutland Republicans — Democrats and Progressives may hold 23 of 30 seats in the Vermont Senate, but Republicans snagged two choice committee chairmanships Thursday. And both picks are from Rutland! Is this the doing of Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott? Or Republican-loving Democratic Sens. Dick Mazza and John Campbell?
The Associated Press' Dave Gram — For getting this choice little scooplet from former governor Howard Dean Thursday at the Statehouse about whether Ho-Ho might run for president in 2016: "I think probably not, but we'll see." With seemingly every reporter in the state in attendance, was Gram the only one to ask?!
The Kids! — They're alright. They also got all the ink in Gov. Peter Shumlin's inaugural address. Get ready for a legislative session that's all education all the time — at least, if Shummy gets his way.
Peter Freyne — Seven Days' longtime political columnist might be covering the great press conference in the sky, but he drew plenty of earthly praise Wednesday afternoon at a Statehouse reception this paper held in his honor. As several speakers noted, Freyne (pictured at right, biking into battle) would've been thrilled with the attention — including speeches by former AP Montpelier bureau chief Chris Graff, Sen. Patrick Leahy and Shumlin. We'd tell you what they said — including a choice gubernatorial pot joke — but, alas, it was off the record.
Chittenden County Liberals — On the upside for the county's Senate delegation, Sen. Philip Baruth became majority leader and Sen. Tim Ashe became Finance chairman. On the downside, Sen. Ginny Lyons lost her chairmanship of Senate Natural Resources and Sen. Sally Fox failed to grab a leadership position.
F-35 Supporters — The jet-backing Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce cast the Air Force's decision to delay its final EIS report until spring as a positive step. But it's hard to see how a delay does anything other than give opponents time to gather momentum for their plane-hating cause.
Vermont Tree Trimmers — As the Rutland Herald's Bruce Edwards reported Friday, Green Mountain Power awarded a statewide tree-trimming contract to a Pennsylvania company. That company says it'll subcontract with Vermont companies, but local tree-trimmers say they're worried they'll lose business.