first_imgby Anne Galloway vtdigger.org March 29, 2011 Darcie Johnston, a political campaign consultant for GOP candidates, is galvanizing support ‘ and money ‘ for a campaign to kill the universal health care bill that just passed in the House. Johnston started her organization Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, a ‘free’ market group that opposes a ‘single-payer’ style medical coverage system for the state, just a few weeks ago as a Facebook campaign.Her mini movement has ‘ thanks to money from an unnamed source ‘ migrated from the somewhat limited realm of social networking sites to a website and a burgeoning list of 200 donors, ‘friends’ and supporters. Johnston, who is the volunteer prime mover of a faction of disaffected conservatives, rallied the anti-single payer flag and got dozens of opponents of H.202, the universal health care bill, to come to the Statehouse last weekend to decry the evils of government-controlled payment systems for medical care.Johnston has formed a 501(c)(4) to collect anonymous donations for the cause, and just today launched a website featuring a V-shaped, ultra-patriotic logo wrapped in the American flag and crowned with three gold stars.DOYLE POLL SHOWS SUPPORT FOR VERMONT YANKEESen. Bill Doyle, R-Washington, a political science professor at Johnson State College, has released the results of his annual town meeting survey. Though the survey is unscientific, it’s considered to be a indicator of public opinion. This year about 15,000 Vermonters filled out the survey, representing 142 cities and towns. Doyle says it’s one of the biggest responses in the 42 years he’s conducted the survey.Forty-five percent of respondents supported renewing Entergy Corp.’s license to operate Vermont Yankee, while 41 percent said no and 14 percent were unsure.Doyle also asked Vermonters whether ‘physician-assisted suicide’ should be legalized. Fifty percent of those polled said yes; 37 percent said no; and 13 percent weren’t sure.Here is a rundown on some of the ‘yes votes.’Tougher DUI law 75 percentExpand bottle deposit 79 percentPay more for locally grown foods 63 percentRequire use of motorcycle helmets 90 percentGOLD PLATE DINNER FOR DEMSIt’s never too early to start raising money for the next campaign cycle, which is now 13 months away. Gov. Peter Shumlin began tapping donors just eight weeks into his first term as governor. The Democratic House Campaign isn’t far behind. On April 7, Democratic Party devotees will have an opportunity to break bread with House Speaker Shap Smith and three other members of his leadership team at the Chef’s Table in Montpelier for $500 a plate. Want cocktails with that? Donate $1,000 to the party and you can sip away at martinis, too.NRA TARGETS ‘RIGHT’ ANSWERLast weekend the National Rifle Association called my husband (they wouldn’t speak to me) as part of a telephone survey and wanted to know if he was concerned about the bureaucrats taking away his right to bear arms. The caller then played a recorded message from the CEO, Wayne LaPierre. The message? A secret U.S. Senate subcommittee is looking to hit the delete button on the right to bear arms. And they asked what my husband (who happened to purchase a hunting rifle for our son a few years ago) would do about it. My husband wasn’t aware that secret Senate subcommittees could change the Constitution without state ratification.When he replied that he was a proponent of gun control, the caller, a self-professed NRA member, said ‘Oh. That’s alright then. Good-bye.’ Survey completed.It wasn’t clear why the NRA would make such a concerted effort to reach out to Vermonters. Maybe it’s because as Kate Robinson reported earlier this month, Vermont has among the most liberal ‘carry’ gun laws in the nation for the carrying of concealed or visible weapons’in a car or on your person’without a permit. ‘There are no gun licensing or registration requirements, no waiting period to buy a gun, no requirement for firearms safety training before you can buy a gun, private sales do not require records and there are no state laws limiting who can buy a gun,’ Robinson wrote.The bill the NRA was worried about, H.83, which proposed stiffening penalties for gun owners whose guns have been used in teenage suicides, has gone nowhere this year.H. 244, however, a bill allowing Vermont law enforcement officials to use gun silencers was introduced in February.THE GRASS ISN’T GREENER IN VERMONTJohn Gregg reports this week in the Valley News that population growth in towns along the Connecticut River is decidedly lopsided. More people are moving to sort of tax-free New Hampshire (the Granite state does charge a 5 percent tax on unearned income) than the Green Mountain State. Gregg analyzed Census reports as the basis for his story, which appeared in theSunday edition of the Valley News.  Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.orglast_img read more