To the editor: State senators disrespect hard-working Vermonters

To my fellow Vermonters,

For the last 17 years, I have worked as a fuel and propane delivery driver serving the residents of Vermont.  I am just one of the many drivers and employees in the home heat industry working to make sure you and your loved ones stay warm during the long, dark and cold Vermont winters.

Without exception, every one of the drivers, technicians, customer service representatives, dispatchers and managers are laser focused on the goal of giving the best possible service at the best price.

Those of us in the front lines of this industry are all hard working Vermonters. We are not immune to the struggles of the people we serve.  Fuel prices this year have gone through the roof and so have the prices of everything else.  Even when prices were much lower it was not easy for many of us to make ends meet while paying to stay warm.

This year, even with the doubling of government fuel assistance, the challenge has been more difficult.  While on my daily route, I listen carefully to the pain of low and middle income Vermonters who have had no choice but to go cold and hope for spring to come early.  You cannot help but feel the anguish of your  neighbors.  I understand it.   Everyone in the industry understands it.   The dominant political party in Montpelier does not understand it. They are callous to the struggle of their constituents.

The evidence of this rude disconnect is a 30-minute recorded discussion on the morning of April 15 between four of Vermont’s Democratic state senators in the committee on natural resources and energy. The conversation is revealing and just plain disgusting for those of us being pinched in these hard economic times.  They can be found by clicking here.

State Sen. Mark MacDonald (D) and Committee chair Chris Bray (D-Addison) were discussing the implementation of the “clean heat standard legislation.”  The worst comments came from MacDonald, who is quoted as saying ““Before I kill someone to get their clean heat credits, I want to know what the charge is going to be. Embezzlement, scam, securities fraud?”  (20:30-52:00)  followed up later in the conversation with a response to Bray, who states, “Well for the person who says, ‘I don’t like that. I don’t want to be paying extra,’ ”  MacDonald says, “Well then, get a blanket for Christ’s sake!”

I was once a Democrat, for the reason that I believed this party was compassionate and concerned about the people they are elected to serve. A little over 15 years ago I figured out my beliefs were flawed.  Vermonters would be wise to elect state senators who do not mock the people who pay their salaries.  As for state Sen. MacDonald, you should apologize to every Vermonter, then resign.

Stu Lindberg
Cavendish

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  1. Tim Roper says:

    It seems then that your issue lies with the oil industry itself Mr Lindberg, given that financial reports coming in for Q1 of this year are showing threefold increases in oil company profits over the same period last year. I hope Vermonters are asking themselves how that could be the case when the public narrative of these companies is that interruptions in supply levels have increased their costs and they’re merely passing that on to their customers.

    The basic economics of supply and demand cease to exist as soon as an industry corners the market to the point where they can charge what they wish for their products. That is amplified when their product is one that so many MUST purchase in order to live. This is clearly where we find ourselves with the petroleum industry today and it’s just as clear that the industry couldn’t care less about hard working folks like you having to face your angry customers as they’re being fleeced to the point of poverty, just to warm their homes.

    So, if the industry isn’t going to do anything but continue their drive to maximize profits, we clearly need to force some changes upon it. The stakes are far too high for the wellbeing of our nation to not do so. The time for that change is now.

  2. Stu lindberg says:

    To Tim Roper,
    I welcome you to spend some time researching the incredible advances in oil and propane boiler and furnace efficiency made over the past 50 years, as well as improvements in refining oil to make it cleaner burning. These advances have reduced oil consumption dramatically saving Vermont consumers millions of dollars. These improvements were demanded by the consumer and the industry has met the challenge and continues to do so without government force.
    The accusation of my writing being incindiary is a deflection of the bad conduct of Senator MacDonald. Mr. Roper if you had to hand deliver a heating oil bill to an irate customer who just paid 6.59 a gallon for a 200 gallon deliver you would understand what incindiary really looks like.

  3. Tim Roper says:

    If one takes the time to read this legislation they will become acutely aware of the truth that it is carefully designed to a) push the heating fuels industry into changing it’s business model in order to provide more efficient heating systems in our state. b) includes protections for low and moderate income Vermonters and for high volume consumers of heating fuels at the core of the proposed legislation and c) the senate passed their amended version of the House bill by a huge margin, indicating wide support, not a hard fought partisan situation

    Here’s a link to the Senate’s version of the proposed legislation for anyone who’d like to know the truth rather than reacting to this LTE author’s incendiary writing and his link to a short portion of a meeting of a small group of unknown participants and a lack of full context.

    https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/H-0715/H-0715%20Senate%20proposal%20of%20amendment%20Official.pdf

  4. Arlene Mutschler says:

    AGREE!!

  5. H. Brooke Paige says:

    The Vermont Legislature’s equivalent of Marie Antonitte’s “Let them eat cake !” Their arrogance and lack of compassion is palpable.

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