As this year’s elections grow closer and a write-in campaign has officially been launched on behalf of my father, I felt compelled to provide some information for those who aren’t fortunate enough to know my father closely. This information is for everyone, but more so for the people I’ve seen sharing words of doubt or negativity in regards to my father in part due to the party he is affiliated with.
I see a lot of folks playing into party politics, much to the harm of themselves, their families, friends, and also their beloved towns and state. I see and hear so many people say things like “at the end of the day he’s still a slimy Democrat” or “Democrats don’t care about your rights!” Quite honestly this way of thinking frustrates and disappoints me. And ironically many of the people saying these things are the exact people who my father works hard for every day when in Montpelier. The small-town folks, the folks who value their 2nd Amendment rights, the folks who hunt, fish and trap, the folks on the family dairy farms, the folks respectfully harvesting our forests, the folks whose families have called this great state home for generations. The man who knows their lives better than most and fights for them daily is suddenly the enemy, all due to a political party.
Taking part in party politics is generally a nonproductive activity. It is the way you end up with people with a certain letter next to their name making important decisions for you. However, it is not usually the way you end up with elected officials who will best represent you and your interests. As a quick example, now Governor Phil Scott got 52% of the popular vote in 2016. Over 166,000 Vermonters, many of whom were Republicans happily voting for their Republican candidate, gave him that win. He had the letter beside his name that a lot of Vermonters wanted to see, especially after 6 years of a Democrat in the Governor’s office. So now I’ll ask, fairly sarcastically, how’d that “R” work out for you folks? Does S.55 ring any bells? Too soon?
Bad jokes aside, this coming election I ask a small favor of you. Instead of allowing party affiliation to dictate your decisions on the ballot, why not use some good old Vermont traits? Use some open-mindedness, and some reason, and some critical thinking. “Democrat” aside, here are some things about my father that I don’t see many politicians, “D” or “R”, bringing to the table. He is a lifelong small-town resident, growing up in Glover, then starting and raising his family in Glover, and still currently living there. He grew up on a family dairy farm meaning he can throw a bale, milk a cow, and pick a field. He is a lifelong sportsman meaning he can load a muzzleloader, clean a trout, and gut a buck. He runs a skidder and chainsaw and harvests and processes all of his own firewood, as well as cuts wood for sawing and selling to local log yards. He is a small business owner and operator (the manual labor kind, no dress shirts in the summer for him) meaning he knows a real days work, how to run a rake, how to build a strong foundation, and how to get stuff done! While in Montpelier for the legislative session he also operates a snow plowing business, meaning some days he is out until midnight or later after a long day in the Statehouse making sure his customers are taken care of. He gives everyone the same amount of attention and respect, whether you approach him in a $1000 suit or in work boots, dirty Carhartts, and a T-shirt. He has almost 2 decades of time in Montpelier working hard for Vermonters like you and I, and for our lands, and our waters, and our animals, and our rights and freedoms. He was and is the greatest role model that a boy and young man could have had in his life. He raised my brother and I with the values that he exemplifies daily: honesty, integrity, generosity, resourcefulness, commitment, passion, dedication, the list goes on…
You don’t want to write him in because of a letter? That’s your choice to make. You can vote for someone with no political experience. You can vote for someone as a what you see as a “protest” vote. You can vote for someone because they will be “the first” in the nation. Or you can vote for the candidate who is the most qualified, most deserving of the position and most importantly the best representative of what it means to be a Vermonter. Cast a real protest vote and write in John S. Rodgers for Governor in the Democratic primary.
John F. Rodgers