Patrick Leahy

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Minter, Leahy launch general election ads

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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m.

MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter is on the airwaves with her first general election television ad, while Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy has launched his first two television ads of the Senate campaign. Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, launched an ad Tuesday that looks to highlight her management skills. It focuses on her work helping the state recover from Tropical Storm Irene and and serving on President Barack Obama’s Climate Preparedness and Resilience Task Force. A narrator lays out what Minter’s goals as governor will be. “As Governor, Sue Minter will make sure our children can stay and succeed here in Vermont with affordable education and livable wage jobs, a governor who will put Vermont families first,” the narrator says. Continue Reading →

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Senators reach bipartisan deal on national GMO labeling law

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MONTPELIER — A bipartisan deal has been reached by two key members of the U.S. Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on a national GMO labeling law that would nullify Vermont’s labeling law set to take effect on July 1. The compromise bill was announced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the Agriculture Committee’s ranking member, and its chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas. The legislation would create the first mandatory, nationwide label for food products containing genetically modified organisms that are commonly referred to as GMOs. “This bipartisan agreement is an important path forward that represents a true compromise. Since time is of the essence, we urge our colleagues to move swiftly to support this bill,” the two lawmakers said in a joint statement. Continue Reading →

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Now Vermont, Too, Shows Why National EB-5 Reforms Are Needed

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ears ago when I began working to reform the national EB-5 program, the problems we saw seemed far removed from the many promising EB-5 development projects in Vermont. It is heartbreaking, and it is maddening, to see such problems here at home. It is now painfully clear to all Vermonters that the EB-5 Regional Center program is flawed. The program once promised to transform the Northeast Kingdom and other underserved communities through millions of dollars of investment at no cost to taxpayers. Yet it has become mired in fraud and abuse across the country, and unfortunately such allegations have now reached our state. Continue Reading →

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U.S. Senate fails to block Vermont food labeling law

MONTPELIER — Vermont lawmakers, both here and in the nation’s capital, are celebrating a failed attempt at the federal level to nullify the state’s food labeling bill. On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate failed to come up with enough votes for a bill that would prohibit state’s such as Vermont from enacting laws requiring food manufacturers to disclose ingredients that include genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who led the charge against the proposed federal legislation, celebrated the vote. “This was a hard-fought victory for Vermont, on our state’s right to honor Vermonters’ right to know what’s in the food they buy,” Leahy said. “Our defense of Vermont’s law has been fought with skill and determination in the courts, under the leadership of Governor Shumlin and others, and in the Congress.”

Leahy was joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Continue Reading →

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Vermont’s congressional delegation backs SCOTUS nominee

Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, speaks at the White House Wednesday after he was announced as President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court. (Photo courtesy of Sen. Patrick Leahy)

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s congressional delegation is strongly backing President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and urging the GOP to abandon its promise to prevent the confirmation process from taking place. Obama announced the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, at the White House Wednesday. Garland, 63, is seen as a moderate, consensus pick, but faces extreme opposition from Republicans in the Senate who believe the next president should be the one to nominate a justice. The president did his best Wednesday to undermine the Republican position. “I have fulfilled my constitutional duty. Continue Reading →

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Vermont officials react to SOTU

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resident Barack Obama delivered the final State of the Union address of his presidency Tuesday night. The president delivered a strong defense of his presidency and sought to shape his legacy. He urged Americans to reject rancor and discord in America’s politics and instead work collectively to boost the country’s economy and security. Vermont’s two senators and Gov. Peter Shumlin issued the following statements in response to the speech: (more…) Continue Reading →

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Commentary: Four Years After Irene, Renewal In Waterbury

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his past August, we marked the four year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. Memories of communities besieged by flood waters, houses knocked from their foundations and families forever changed are still fresh for each of us, and for so many other Vermonters. But just as Vermont rebuilt from the historic 1927 floods, Vermonters have pulled together to build back stronger, smarter and better after Irene. This has required new and creative thinking, and significant collaboration between communities, the State of Vermont and the federal government. Nowhere in Vermont is that story better told than in Waterbury. Continue Reading →

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Vermont senators seek Social Security boost

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MONTPELIER — Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders have joined with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 17 other Democrats in seeking a cost-of-living increase for seniors on Social Security. The Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act, introduced by Warren, a first-term Democrat, seeks to boost payments to about 70 million seniors, veterans and people with disabilities with a bonus payment of just under $600. It was determined in October by the Social Security Administration that there will be no increase on Jan. 1 for beneficiaries. Continue Reading →

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Commentary: Our Enemy Is ISIS, Not Refugees Fleeing ISIS

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ast Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make it almost impossible for people from Syria and Iraq, fleeing the brutality of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad, to find refuge in the United States. It is worth reflecting on what this means for our country. Just a few weeks ago the world came together, stunned and heartbroken over the image of a three-year-old Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach. His tragic death focused our attention on the desperate plight of so many Syrians who have fled the horror of ISIS and Assad’s army. We called it the humanitarian issue of our day. Continue Reading →

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Leahy reaches rare voting milestone

Sen. Patrick Leahy sits inside the Pro Tem's office in the Capitol in this April 2013 photo. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

WASHINGTON — Vermont’s senior senator reached a milestone Tuesday achieved by only five others in U.S. history. Shortly before noon, Sen. Patrick Leahy cast his 15,000th vote in the U.S. Senate, joining a small collection of long-serving lawmakers, and received tributes from his fellow senators. “His entire career in public service has been history-making,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate minority leader, who noted both Leahy’s service in the Senate and as Vermont’s youngest state’s attorney. “Sen. Leahy has proven that the people of Vermont were wise in electing him.”

First elected to the U.S. Senate 41 years ago in 1974, Leahy is currently its longest-serving member. He is also the only Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Vermont. Continue Reading →

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