ACCUSATIONS VS FACTS

Desperate candidates sometimes make far-flung attacks to see if they can change the dynamics of the race. This is the tactic my Republican opponent has taken and he is free to engage in this common right-wing strategy. He is not free, however, to distort my legislative record or my public comments. We have compiled a side-by-side comparison so you can judge for yourself.

Brock: “You’ve said the discrimination that minorities experience is like the scrutiny faced by men with long hair.”

FACTS: Zuckerman on VPR Meet the candidates – 5 minute mark, July 8, 2016: “All of us have to examine ourselves and how do we react when we see a person of color walking down the street or a person with long hair or a person with any stereotypical characteristic and say- wait a minute, am I stereotyping that person based on some characteristic that they have? So I think it’s not just law enforcement but all of us have to look at our inherent biases and really evaluate ourselves before we begin telling other people what they need to do.”

Brock: “He’s introduced legislation for personal financial gain.”

FACTS: Brock’s charge likely refers to Zuckerman’s Direct Investment in Farms bill. After making investments in his own farm, Sen. Zuckerman learned first-hand how tough it is for many small farmers to access capital. His proposal would let people invest in small farms and take a tax credit from the state. Smaller capital projects have a very hard time getting traditional bank funding, and this would offer another option.

Brock: “He’s allowed his campaign aid to circulate false and despicable accusations of racism against me.”

FACTS: Here is a series of tweets a supporter published after an African American legislator from Bennington was attacked online with vicious hate-filled comments. My part-time campaign aide retweeting this was her own choice. She did so under her own name and, last time we checked, still retains her rights to free speech.

silbermantweets

Brock: “He’s tried to suppress free speech because he did not like the speaker’s views.”

FACTS: In January, Zuckerman signed onto a petition trying to dissuade the Flynn Theater from hosting Donald Trump. David joined with citizens using their collective voice to express dissatisfaction with the actions of a local business. Upon further reflection he withdrew his name from the petition.

Brock: “He’s equated the fight for marijuana legalization to the fight against racism.”

FACTS: Zuckerman has never equated the fight for legalization and the fight against racism. He does, however, point out that racial disparity in the enforcement of cannabis laws has been a longstanding problem in Vermont and across the country. To claim otherwise ignores the data.

As VT Digger reported in 2013:

“African-Americans in Vermont are 4.36 times more likely to be picked up for pot than whites, although whites comprise 86.8 times more of the state’s residents than blacks.

The discrepancy in arrest rates exceeds the national average of blacks being 3.73 more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.” http://vtdigger.org/2013/06/04/aclu-report- details-racial- disparities-in- marijuana-arrests-in- vermont/

Brock: “He’s billed the taxpayers for mileage he never drove.”

FACTS: Then- Representative Zuckerman followed the direction of Legislative Council and complied with the statute as it was written because Legislators are paid a mileage “allowance” not a traditional reimbursement.

Here are the instructions legislators received that year:

“All members are entitled to an allowance for meals, rooms, and mileage while the legislature is in session in amounts established by the federal government for Montpelier by the GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy and published in the Federal Register for the year of the session.  Under the law, these amounts are an “allowance” and are due whether or not a member actually spent more or less for meals, rooms, and transportation.[emphasis added]

Here is the statute that informs this memo (32 V.S.A. §1052):

(1) Mileage reimbursement. An allowance equal to the cost of one round-trip each day between Montpelier and the member’s home for each day of session in which the member did not rent lodging in Montpelier or the vicinity. If a member rents lodging in Montpelier or the vicinity for an entire week of session, the member is entitled to an allowance for the cost of one round-trip for that week between Montpelier and the member’s home. The allowance shall be at the rate per mile determined by the federal Office of Government-wide Policy and published in the Federal Register for the year of the session.

(3) If a member is absent for reasons other than sickness or legislative business for one or more entire days while the House in which the member sits is in session, the member shall notify the Legislative Council staff of that absence, and expenses received shall not include the amount which the legislator specifies was not incurred during the

Brock: “He passed off an anti-Semitic remark as a joke.”

FACTS: At a recent debate Zuckerman tried to honor the influence both his parents had on his frugality but poorly chose his words. The next day he issued an apology with regret for his comments and for using a negative stereotype.

Brock: “He’s a strong supporter of laws that would expose our school children to dangerous diseases by discouraging vaccinations.”

FACTS:  Zuckerman has repeatedly acknowledged the science behind vaccines and his own daughter is vaccinated. He has deep concerns regarding the small percentage of children who have adverse reactions and the options their parents have.

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