Having spent almost four decades in Vermont politics it's hard not to be intrigued and amused when it comes to election season. I walked into the Vermont State House when Dick Snelling was governor. I've seen politicians come and go. I can honestly say that those who serve in Vermont are good and decent people who in their hearts believe that they're doing the right thing. We may not always agree with each other, but we rarely question the integrity of those with whom we disagree.
Fourteen years after I was elected, a young man from Burlington, David Zuckerman, was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives, where he would serve for 14 years. Four of those years he would serve as chair of the House Agriculture Committee. As an organic farmer it proved to be a good fit. In 2012 he was elected to the Vermont State Senate where he would serve two terms. In 2016 he was elected as our lieutenant governor, and is currently serving his second term in that position.
David Zuckerman is, without a doubt, the most enthusiastic and charismatic leader to come onto the Vermont political scene in my time. There is much that can be said for his powers of persuasion and his ability to work with anyone on issues of importance to our great state like minimum wage increases, cannabis reform, marriage equality, affordable housing, universal healthcare, and addressing Lyme disease. David is no pushover. He's firm in his convictions and his convictions are those shared by the majority of Vermont voters.
You can look up his record of serving Vermonters, but there are some things about David that you won't find online. For instance, it's well known that David wears his hair long. In my early days, back when I had hair, when I tried to wear it long I got tossed out of school. We've made great progress on hair. There was a day when I was walking in the lobby of the State House when I saw a young man who looked remarkably like David Zuckerman with one caveat; he was 100 percent bald!
After doing a double take I walked over to him and said, "David, is that you?" He laughed and said, "I'm trying to look like you." It turned out that there was an effort to acquire hair for kids who had lost their hair due to a condition known as Alopecia. No one would have thought that David would shave his head for kids...except those who know him. He decided to make it a contest. He challenged people to pay a certain dollar amount for every inch that he had cut off. He raised over $5,000 for these kids. When I inquired about his bald head, he said, "Don't worry, mine will grow back."
Fast forward to 2020. I was in a conversation with David. He was on his cell phone on his way to the State House where as lieutenant governor he presided over the Senate. In the course of our conversation he stated that he was late for work. David is always on the job early, so I was surprised to hear this revelation. "Why?" I asked. David replied, "I had to deliver a litter of piglets last night. Mama pig had rolled onto one of her piglets and it was quite a job to save the little guy."
What struck me was the matter-of-fact nature of this dialog. Delivering a litter of piglets was as important (or maybe even more important) as running the Senate. Both are priorities, for sure, but saving a piglet from certain death took precedent, as well it should.
As he was talking I couldn't help but wonder if there is another lieutenant governor in the United States of America who might be late for work, because he/she had to deliver a litter of pigs. It was at that moment that I said to myself that I so want this man to be my governor. This man understands what is truly important. Yes, ushering legislation through the process is important, but saving a life of his livestock is, too.
David Zuckerman cares deeply about the issues of importance to all Vermonters, because David Zuckerman is passionate about Vermont. He gets it. When he's not donning a suit and tie and serving us as our lieutenant governor he can be found on a tractor working in his fields on his farm that he was able to purchase from his own hard work.
There's an old saying in politics that goes something like this: "The best politician is the one who is closest to the ground." There is no one closer to the ground than David Zuckerman. He will make an excellent governor and do Vermont proud. Between now and Nov. 3 I invite you all to join me in voting for David Zuckerman for governor of Vermont.
Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Banner.