Posted on December 9, 2010
I had a whirlwind trip to Vermont last week with an itinerary that included a meeting with Governor-elect Shumlin, strategy sessions with local organizers and lobbyists, dinners with supporters, an interview with a potential field team director, and a tour of the Vermont Statehouse with its beautiful gold dome.
Our meeting with the Governor-elect was short and direct. He opened the meeting by saying that he made a campaign commitment to work on behalf of Death with Dignity and he was a man of his word. He promised to work with us to ensure passage of a Death with Dignity law in the Vermont legislature. It was refreshing to work with a politician committed to fulfilling campaign promises!
I spent the bulk of my visit in strategy sessions with local organizers, Dick and Ginny Walters, and members of our lobbying team. The skill level of meeting attendees was impressive. Members of the lobbying firm brought more than twenty-five years of collective lobbying and legislative strategy to the table. Dick and Ginny Walters brought resources developed over the last seven years, where they have both contributed countless hours of volunteer service to Patient Choices at End of Life — Vermont in an effort to secure passage of a Death with Dignity law. Dick has personally raised half of the total budget in the last 45 days!
As a representative of the Death with Dignity Political Action Fund, I was able to deliver a historic perspective and contribute information about what we've learned about strategy, messaging, and organizing in our 15 years of political experience on this issue.
To ensure a smooth transition, I was proud to present the team with an implementation plan, developed by George Eighmey, who has 12 years of experience implementing Death with Dignity in Oregon. George worked in consultation with Washington after the passage of their law to ensure that their implementation plan progressed smoothly, and he has committed the same effort to Vermont.
The trip was everything I had imagined and more. Vermont will be the next state with a Death with Dignity law. Every element is in place. Every player has a plan of action. Every commitment has been fulfilled.
Everyone interested in Death with Dignity should turn their eyes toward Vermont.
Peg Sandeen, MSW
Death with Dignity Political Action Fund
Defend dignity. Take action.
You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, non-profit organization, has been the leading advocate in the death with dignity movement. Member contributions helped us pass a new Death with Dignity law in Washington, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the death with dignity movement.