The legislature is still busy playing getting-to-know-you games in committee (we've witnessed no trust falls yet), but that doesn't mean it was a slow week in Vermont news and politics. As always, we're here to present its winners and losers.
So, without further ado, here they are for the week ending Friday, January 18.
House Republicans — In a savvy political move, Reps. Kurt Wright (R-Burlington), Tom Koch (R-Barre) and Don Turner (R-Milton) got out ahead of their liberal counterparts Thursday to offer a set of campaign finance reforms meant to increase super PAC disclosure. Runner-up losers: Vermont Democrats, for sounding pedantic and partisan in their response, instead of embracing the proposals and one-upping the Rs.
Vermont cat ladies — Turns out we're the top pet-owning state (70.8 percent of households have a furry friend) and the top cat-owning state (49.5 percent). Almost enough to make us choke on a hairball.
Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch — A month after Seven Days started asking to interview them about their positions on gun control, the two D.C. Dems finally called us Wednesday. Runner-up losers: Bernie Sanders, who still won't call us back, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, who declined interview requests Wednesday after President Obama announced his new gun proposals, issuing only a written statement.
Montpelier's revolving door — With Shumlin telecom czar's defection to VTel, yet another insider takes a job at a company she helped out. Legislators may be peeved, but we'll bet a year's salary at Green Mountain Power that they won't change the rules.
Burlington Progressives — Democratic City Councilor Bram Kranichfeld's decision to nix his reelection plans gives the Progs a prime pick-up opportunity in the Old North End. Last year, they held just two seats on the 14-member council. After March, they could hold four. When you add in Progressive-leaning independent Sharon Bushor, that's a sizable Proggy caucus with which Mayor Miro Weinberger might have to deal.
Shumlin's Wal-Mart dance — With his announcement Tuesday of a new Wal-Mart planned for Derby, Shummy got a good press hit up in the Kingdom, where Wal-Mart's pretty popular. But his press office was mighty mum about it outside the Kingdom — perhaps fearing blow-back from anti-Wal-Mart liberals. Like this one.
Losers after the break...
Vermont hunters — The good news? For the first time in four decades, the Bennington Banner reported, no hunters were killed or injured in the woods last year. The bad news? President Obama's gonna take your guns — AND YOUR FREEDOM!
The Burlington Free Press — After doggedly pursuing it, the Freeps finally got its hands on a list of fake tickets issued by disgraced former State Police Sgt. Jim Deeghan. Alas, one of their own — Freeps assistant metro editor Adam Silverman — was on it.
Burlington Police Department — As the Freeps' Joel Banner Baird first reported, the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club exiled the BPD from its training facilities this week after the Burlington City Council took a step last week toward banning assault weapons in the Queen City. Shoot!