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Vermont legislative leaders decry racist language by witness

February 4, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The leaders of the Vermont Senate decried Thursday what is being described as racist language that was used by a witness during a break in an online committee meeting.

In a statement, Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint said the witness made the comments when all committee members and staff were away from their computers.

“This language is abhorrent and will not be tolerated,” Balint said. “The legislature must be a venue that welcomes and supports the participation of all, and language that traumatizes people of color cannot stand.”

The comments were recorded during a Wednesday hearing of the Senate Transportation Committee, which was being conducted online.


Balint said she would work to have the comments removed from the footage while retaining them for transparency and accountability.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Molly Gray said the witness, an employee of a consultant working for the Agency of Transportation, has been terminated by his employer, a decision she supports.

“This behavior has no place in Vermont, and I stand with state leadership in condemning this incident and calling for accountability,” Gray said in a statement.