FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from the Vermont Democratic Party Monday, July 27, 2020 CONTACT: RCDiMezzo@vtdemocrats.org
Vermont Democratic Party Statement on Structural Bias Against Female Candidates
MONTPELIER, VT — The 2020 campaign for Lieutenant Governor features a strong group of qualified female candidates. That is undoubtedly an encouraging sign for our state which has struggled to elect women to statewide office. We are disappointed, however, in recent coverage of the race — coverage that further highlights the challenges female candidates face when vying for power.
Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Senator Debbie Ingram has been open about her struggles with alcohol and her DUI. In fact, 12 of the first 14 paragraphs in a recent candidate profile of Senator Ingram published by VTDigger dealt at length with the subject. The same could not be said of a similar candidate profile for Republican Lieutenant Governor Candidate Scott Milne. Milne’s profile from the same news outlet did not mention his two DUI arrests or his arrest for possession of cocaine and marijuana.
We commend Senator Ingram for her honesty and transparency and question why the same coverage and transparency was not the case for an opposing male candidate. A level playing field offers the same opportunity to every candidate to present and defend their records.
The same profile of Milne included this quote: “The 61-year-old Milne has the calm, measured personality and the physical appearance of a classic northern New England politician. He stands a shade over 6 feet tall, squints inquisitively when he speaks and has an easy crooked smile.”
Surely Governors Madeleine Kunin and Janet Mills, Treasurer Beth Pearce, Senators Maggie Hassan, Jeanne Shaheen, Susan Collins, and Kelly Ayotte would disagree with that characterization of a “classic northern New England politician.”
At a time when our nation seeks to address our failures with representation and its adverse impacts on public policy, we must all strive to do better and be better.