Thursday, May 31, 2007

The New Jeffersonian Democracy

cross-posted at Green Mountain Daily:

I'm in favor of the energy bill that was passed this session, and I'm sorry (but not surprised) that the Governor plans to Veto it.

More than just a climate change bill, I truly believe that the thinking behind this measure represents a step in the right direction for Vermont from a political and business prospective as well as an environmental one.

From the Burlington Free Press:

Supporters of the bill argue it offers a number of opportunities to save
Vermonters money on heating bills and, in the process, generate jobs.

Chuck Reiss is a Hinesburg homebuilder who's hoping for a change in state law that
would allow a group of homes he's building to share a wind turbine and sell the
excess power to utilities. That change in law is contained in the bill Douglas
has promised to veto.

"It's time to start helping small businesses instead of
large businesses," said Reiss, owner of Reiss Buildings and Renovations, who
added that he has several neighborhoods interested in running group wind
turbines if the law allows it.

In addition to striking a blow on behalf of the environment, this bill can also start setting the stage for a modern version of Jeffersonian Democracy here in Vermont.

In his original vision for this country, Jefferson saw a nation of small landholders...none powerful enough to tyrannize over their neighbors, and yet all enjoying the fruits of their labor and invested in "the system".

For Jefferson, the economic engine he envisioned was primarily agricultural. But the principle holds true in today's post industrial Vermont Landscape as well. The principal of many of us, owning our own business, making decisions here at the local level and wielding a collective amount of econonmic and political power is just as important to the health of our democracy as are efforts to decrease our reliance on oil to the environment.

This bill would begin to help generate economic stimulus needed to speed this process.

One of the things that I've always (begrudgingly) respected the Governor for was the way in which he made the point that Vermont kids SHOULD be able to grow up and do well economically RIGHT HERE AT HOME...

However, by opposing the logic of this bill, the Governor is turning his back on the future of Jeffersonian Democracyand the cause of meaningful employment here in Vermont in favor of a Hamiltonian emphasis on Big Business. The few good jobs we might gain for our youth would pale in comparison to the number we would loose by turning our back on small, forward looking, locally owned and managed Vermont Businesses.

I am glad to read in the Free Press that Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and other Groups are, according to director Will Patten, "not going to take no on this issue" .

Again, from the Free Press:

Patten said his group will continue to try to persuade the governor not to
veto the bill. Failing that, he said, the business owners hope to persuade
enough legislators to override the veto when the Legislature returns for a veto
session July 11.

According to State Senator Ginny Lyons and State Rep Robert Dostis (who I heard at the recent VBSR convention) letters to leaders really ARE effective...and I hope to write a few. Maybe you will too.

No comments: