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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott delivers inaugural address as fourth term begins

Governor Phil Scott delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in to a fourth term
Vermont Legislature livestream
Governor Phil Scott delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in to a fourth term

Vermont Governor Phil Scott was sworn in for a fourth two-year term and delivered his inaugural address before a joint session of the Legislature Thursday afternoon.

During a ceremony before a joint session of the Legislature, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Reiber swore Republican Governor Phil Scott into his fourth term.

"Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Philip B. Scott, do solemnly swear."

Governor Scott repeats: “I, Philip B. Scott, do solemnly swear.”

Reiber continues, “That I will be true and faithful to the state of Vermont.”

Scott swears: “That I will be true and faithful to the state of Vermont.”

Scott then swore in Vermont’s constitutional officers: State Treasurer Michael Pieciak, Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas, Attorney General Charity Clark and Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer. All are Democrats. Hoffer is an incumbent. The rest are new to their positions. Democratic Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman was sworn in earlier in the day and moderated the joint session. He returns to the office two years after losing a race for governor.

In his address, Scott told the Democratically controlled General Assembly he is grateful to return to the state’s top office.

“And after a few long years, it’s good to be back in the people’s house, where Vermonters have come together from across the state in our darkest times and finest hours to solve problems for their communities and help their neighbors. So today, I am especially grateful we are here, in this building, together.”

Scott then acknowledged the service of just retired U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

“Patrick Leahy has worked with nine presidents and as Pro Tem of the Senate he was third in line to the presidency. He introduced 1,768 bills and cast 17,374 votes, the second most in Senate history. He carved out a legacy that will benefit generations of Vermonters to come and that’s because he always served with an eye on what’s best for the state he represented.”

He told legislators they should learn from Leahy’s legacy and copy his strategies.

“This session, we should take a page out of Senator Leahy’s playbook by always working with an eye on what’s best for the communities we represent. About half of you represent towns of less than a thousand. What better way to honor Senator Leahy’s legacy than to deliver for your small communities the way he’s delivered for our small state.”

Scott then outlined economic, social and cultural deficits between small and large towns across the state and told legislators they must close the gaps.

“The work done in this building is felt differently across counties and communities because they all have different assets and attributes, and sometimes not enough of either. This session if we pay more attention to the individual needs of each community we can close the gap between regions to give all our towns and villages a brighter future.”

The Republican said while challenges can be addressed the legislature must consider inflationary pressures.

“There’s no denying people are facing tremendous cost pressures. Just over the last year, energy costs are up thirteen percent. Just a dozen eggs or a box of cereal can easily cost over five dollars. So, I want to be clear: this isn’t the time to increase the burden on anyone. We must find ways to achieve our goals without adding taxes and fees.”

Scott added that they all must work together to make real change for constituents.

“The decisions we make in this building have real-life consequences on people. When we work together to solve problems we can get the results that make a real difference. And I’m telling you the challenges that people face in all these struggling communities are just as urgent as any pandemic or any flood.”

Vermont House and Senate members were sworn in on Wednesday.

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