Eric Rickstad (Arlington)

Gervais is Wrong for Vermont

Sunderland Arlington Sandgate Front Porch Forum (Issue 2333, October 26, 2022)

Candidate Joe Gervais is the wrong candidate to represent Vermonters. We need representatives who base decisions on facts, not on disinformation and ideology. Mr. Gervais pushes the ongoing lies of the ex-president and seems bent on doing the ex-president’s bidding. He might speak for a vocal minority, but he does not speak for the majority of us who soundly rejected the ex-president, twice.

I say this as an independent voter and a lifelong gun owner and a Vermonter who values facts, pragmatism, and inclusion over disinformation, political hyperbole, and exclusion.

Mr. Gervais states he’ll: “Remove legislation that facilitates fraudulent elections.”

Pushing the idea of fraudulent elections is itself fraudulent. No doubt Mr. Gervais is alluding to the 2020 presidential election and ignoring the facts. The ex-president’s attorneys brought 62 cases of so-called voter fraud to federal courts and judges, many appointed by the ex-president himself, including the Supreme Court that includes three judges he appointed. Our courts are where such matters are settled, and this matter was settled decisively when 61 of these 62 cases failed in court, most dismissed out-of-hand because they were entirely meritless or lacked any legal standing. Mr. Gervais’s peddling of lies of fraudulent elections damages the democracy he claims to honor. His disingenuous conduct does not represent me, and it undermines his claim to “bring honesty to the Vermont House.”

Mr. Gervais also claims “I believe in liberty and justice for all” yet he states he’ll “Bring education away from radical programming of our children.” And to: “teaching American history, not revisionist ideology.”

One can infer his “radical programming” means the teaching of awareness of and respect for all students and citizens, specifically our neighbors and friends in the LGBTQ+ community.

When he labels a more accurate history than has traditionally been taught as “revisionist ideology” Mr. Gervais shows he’d rather whitewash our past than teach a comprehensive history that includes human and systemic failings—a history our youths might learn from in order to not repeat past mistakes and to create a better society. If Mr. Gervais is for justice for all he wouldn’t see these issues as radical programming or revisionist ideology but as an appreciation “for all” perspectives and life experiences not just those he approves.

Mr. Gervais also states: “I believe in the right to life.” In the case of rape, incest, mother’s health, youth pregnancy, or any reason and individual sees fit, will he insist on this “right to life” over that individual’s right to choose?

Surely if Mr. Gervais is pro-life, he understands life doesn’t end at birth, it’s just beginning. So, certainly he’ll pass strict laws that force fathers to pay half the costs for carrying a pregnancy, giving birth, and raising, feeding, clothing, housing and caring for that child to the age of 18, as the mother must, or else that father face jail upon his very first failure to do so. After all, jail is what women now face in many states for making a choice certain men don’t agree with. I doubt Mr. Gervais would pass such laws that hold fathers accountable for their role in a pregnancy. Often when certain men say they’re pro-life, they’re really just anti-choice/pro birth—after which the actual life of a child becomes wholly the mother’s responsibility while the fathers skate.

Mr. Gervais’s disinformation extends to environmental issues too.

He states about EV vehicles: “Zero-emissions vehicles are a lie–the emissions are just exported elsewhere. The emissions still exist with the mining operations for EV battery raw materials, the refining of these raw materials and manufacture of finished batteries, and the power generation to recharge these batteries.”

He is either unaware of the most recent information or ignores it. Neither is a trait I seek in a representative.

The most exhaustive study of EV vs. gas vehicles, completed in 2021 by Reuters, used hundreds of data points, including cost of mpg/charge, the footprint to mine and refine every metal, plastic, etc. for batteries and parts, and to build and ship vehicles. It proved that after 13,500-15,000 miles, a year for the avg. driver, EVs earn out their footprint to be true zero-emission vehicles. Gas vehicles add to the carbon footprint for the life of the vehicle, about 150,000 miles, and have a larger carbon footprint. Will Mr. Gervais be swayed by these facts or, because they don’t fit his ideological agenda, dismiss the truth as he has concerning legitimate elections?

Mr. Gervais’s agenda is one of ideology and exclusion. He uses misinformation and lies from the ex-president’s playbook. While he represents a faction of Vermonters who want to Take Vermont Back, I hope the majority of us will reject him as decisively as we rejected the ex-president that he seems so beholden to and vote instead for James / Bongartz to Take Vermont Forward.