Legislative leaders try to quell impeachment constituent anger

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(Host) Democratic leaders in the Vermont Legislature are trying to quell anger among constituents who want lawmakers to vote on resolutions seeking President Bush’s impeachment.

House Speaker Gaye Symington and Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin met with more than a hundred activists on the issue at the Statehouse.

The activists say it’s lawmakers responsibility to schedule a vote on the resolutions.

Sister Miriam Ward of Burlington pointed to the children in the audience. She told the legislative leaders that President Bush has undermined the Constitution in ways that will hurt future generations.

(Ward) “What are these kids going to find out when they get to college and they do research and they ask the question, Where were the Vermonters?’ Where are the leaders?’ I’m thinking of these children and the future of them and their education and what we hand on to them.”

(Host) But Symington told the crowd that she believes it’s more important for the Democratic Congress to concentrate on ending the war in Iraq. She says impeachment would distract from that.

(Symington) “I believe that this House has to focus on where we can focus on, where we can make the most difference in the lives of Vermonters. And we need to chose carefully when it is we step into issues that are of national concern and that will break down predictably along party lines.”

(Host) Shumlin suggested that the activists join him in writing a letter to the congressional delegation urging that Congress move on impeachment.

He said he supports impeaching the president but there’s not enough time in this legislative session to act on the resolution.

That explanation was greeted with skepticism – and outrage.

(Shumlin) “I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s the truth. We have shutdown the Judiciary Committee. They have one more morning. The way it works here is, it can’t be done. I’m happy to join you in doing a letter and my suggestion is let’s focus on the folks that really can impeach the president of the United States. The only way we could do this is to extend the session a couple of weeks.”


(Host) The activists said they represented 56 towns. At least 40 towns voted on Town Meeting Day for nonbinding resolutions supporting the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Supporters said the administration has violated the Constitution through the war in Iraq, illegal torture, and wiretapping people without warrants.

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