An Independent Voice

With mid-term elections looming, I thought I would take a moment to acknowledge Vermont's own Senator Jim Jeffords, who is retiring at the end of this term.

I am a democrat, but in every election since I was legal to vote, I have cast my ballot for Jeffords: Vermont's Republican senator since 1988, and our congressman for 14 years before that. I believe in voting for the person that will best represent my beliefs, and Jeffords always did that. He voted his conscience and rarely along party lines. He voted for what he truly thought was in the best interest of Vermonters. He was one of only 23 senators to vote against authorizing the use of military force in Iraq in 2002.

But I was never more proud that day in May 2001, when Senator Jeffords left the Republican Party and announced his new status as an independent. Jeffords' change in party affiliation moved control of the Senate from the Republicans to the Democrats...a move many of his former republican colleagues and supposed supporters never forgave him for. But that was a day in Vermont, and political history, that I will always cherish.

So as the end of his term nears, I want to thank Senator Jeffords for being an exemplary politician, for representing Vermont with great integrity, and for his visionary 32 years of public service. Your voice will be greatly missed!

Note: You can listen to Senator Jeffords farewell floor address here.

Note: I also want to thank Vermont's Democratic Senator Leahy, and Independent Congressman Sanders for their extraordinary work as well.

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