August 1, 2016 by Jennifer Stella
#1 Insiders tell us that Zuckerman and Smith are neck-and-neck in the race leading up to the primary.
#2 Zuckerman says this question today on VPR was an attempt to split the progressive votes (bring voters away from Zuckerman to Ram so Shap can win).
#3 Of the dems running in the primary, Zuckerman is the most likely to support our position as the tides turn. He tells me he does not believe vaccines cause big health problems, but that some people may be genetically predisposed to reactions. He says it is an issue for him of individual choice and a question of who controls your body… and adds that he has personal experience in his father’s death and also has some corporate concerns.
#4 (edited Aug 2:) We were very disappointed to hear Keisha Keisha on VPR say clearly she is in favor of mandatory vaccination and repeal of the RE…. Med exemptions only. From this statement it is clear Ram does not support your human right to choose. Shap Smith, who led the push through the house, is also against your human right to choose.
#5 VCVC is a non-partisan, citizen advocacy group advocating for the human right to vaccination choice, and prior, free and informed consent for vaccination.
“Smith to Ram: On the philosophical exemption for vaccinations”
|Randy Brock||Did not respond.|
Ram voted to keep philosophical exemption in 2012 and 2015. However, when placed under pressure by a blogger, Ms. Ram went on record to say she would be willing to remove all exemptions if vaccination rates do not improve and/or the religious exemption spikes.
|Shap Smith||Smith is Against choice. This former speaker appears to be quite beholden to the medical industry but has always been willing to sit and talk. He was the one person who had the power to force through the repeal of the philosophical exemption last spring, and he used it even after the house health committee asked for another year to consider. Smith is against non-medical vaccine exemptions because he fully believes. Smith is shareholder and director of Dinse, a law firm. One of their attorneys (Tarnowsky) sits on the UVM Med Ctr Board (2015) and Spencer Knapp, former Pres. and Managing Partner of the firm is SVP and Gen Counsel of Fletcher Allen’s Med Center (now UVM Med Ctr).
|Boots Wardinski||Responded to our survey and will support choice.|
Zuckerman was one of only a few Vermont Senators to stand up in support of parents making these important medical decisions in 2015, in a short “debate” in the VT Senate (there was little time after a sneak amendment to repeal the philosophical exemption got attached to another bill). Repeal was positioned as a way to “protect the vulnerable” and the risks of vaccination were totally ignored. At the time, Zuckerman rose on the floor of the Senate in support of the philosophical exemption, and promoted the idea of genetic testing for predisposition to bad reactions to vaccines. He faced intense pressure from other Senators after he took this position (see: VT Senator Tearfully Explains Vote After Criticism).