GMO protesters disrupt governor’s news conference

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(Host) Bob Kinzel also reports that there was an unexpected disruption at the beginning of the Governor Douglas’s weekly press conference at the Statehouse. Supporters of legislation that would ban the use of genetically engineered seeds stepped forward to present Douglas with several large red valentines. And they refused to leave until they had made a point about their concerns.

(Kinzel) Douglas started his weekly press conference with the announcement that he was appointing a special commission to look at a variety of issues surrounding the use of all terrain vehicles in Vermont.

When he completed that portion of his news conference, three adults and two children stepped out from a crowd of roughly 40 onlookers to present Douglas with several large red valentines. Holding a young child, Doyle Canning of Burlington urged Douglas to support her bill. As she stood next to the governor’s podium, several Statehouse security personnel approached her and Canning slowly and reluctantly left the room.

(Canning) “We feel that family farmers have not been adequately represented and have been excluded from the table.”
(Douglas) “I’m sure the Legislature will have a chance to hear your views as everyone else is now.”
(Protester) “I hope representatives will choose to support a time out on GMOs. We’ve got to let the policy catch up with the technology. The technology has not been proven safe, talking about liability for corporations.”
(Douglas) “I think we have some different points of view but it’s nice to see you and I’m glad you’re going to have a chance to talk to the Legislature.”
(Canning) “Thanks for accepting our valentine Governor Douglas. Please love Vermont, love Vermont farmers. I hope you won’t take flowers and chocolates from Monsanto.”
(Douglas) “And another thing I won’t do is interrupt your press conference.”

(Kinzel) Douglas says he doubts that he’ll change any of his security procedures as a result of the disruption. And the governor says he believes these kinds of incidents actually hurt the policy positions of the people who organize them.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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