State senator takes heat over “machine gun” comment

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The commissioner of the state Department of Public Service wants a lawmaker sanctioned for telling a state attorney during a meeting that if this were China, someone in her department might be taken out and shot.

The comments by state Senator Mark MacDonald to Sarah Hofmann, director of public advocacy at the department, occurred on Thursday after Hoffman finished testifying before Hoffman’s committee on Vermont Yankee’s decommissioning plan.

The exchange prompted Hofmann’s boss, Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien, to write to Senate leaders asking that MacDonald apologize. The letter also asked Senate leaders consider removing him from the Senate Finance Committee.

O’Brien wrote to Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin and Majority Leader John Campbell, telling them MacDonald should apologize.

MacDonald is an Orange County Democrat. He couldn’t be reached for comment last night, according to the Associated Press.

Shumlin says MacDonald didn’t mean any disrespect, and Campbell says he understands that MacDonald has already apologized.

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