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Voices / Letters from readers

State Legislature should not entrust adjutant general role to the executive branch

In the aftermath of the recent vote at the Statehouse, this talk being bandied about by some members of the Vermont Legislature that they should give up their power to elect the state’s National Guard adjutant general over to the governor is dangerously myopic given the threatening situation taking place at the federal government level.

There, the executive-branch power is being seriously misused by a would-be fascist dictator who is part of a long line of executive-power abuses starting in the second half of the 20th century and getting worse through each presidency.

Already, we have seen broad powers given to the executive branch through the 2001 PATRIOT Act, the 2001 Authorization For Use of Military Force Act, and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. These laws have created a state of total governmental surveillance unrivaled since the days of the Third Reich.

What is needed to counteract all this is to place more, not fewer, major-governmental-office leadership positions at the federal, state, and municipal levels into the hands of the citizens by elective public ballot.

The heads of departments like agriculture, environmental standards, fish and wildlife, health, finance, public safety, transportation, etc. — who make decisions and policy that have a major impact on the public — should be directly under the people’s elective power.

We must demand of our legislators at both the federal and state levels that they do their utmost to curtail and reduce executive-branch powers.

The Vermont Legislature should start by putting the election of the National Guard adjutant general into the hands of the Vermont citizens.

Ralph Corbo
East Wallingford

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Originally published in The Commons issue #505 (Wednesday, April 10, 2019). This story appeared on page D3.

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