As the world races to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and governors across the country take bold measures to protect public health against the threat from the deadly virus, Vermont Democrats are facing a potential gubernatorial nominee with a history of espousing fringe views on vaccinations.
The candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination are scheduled to virtually debate this evening, and Lt. Governor David Zuckerman’s anti-vaccination position is likely to take center stage.
In recent weeks, primary opponent Rebecca Holcombe has escalated attacks on Zuckerman. Holcombe told Politico in March: “It’s scary that anyone in public office or seeking public office would cast doubt about the value of vaccines. It’s unbelievable this is even up for debate.”
Zuckerman has even been called a “hero” by what is often termed the “anti-vaxx” movement, according to the report:
Despite past blowback for his positions, Zuckerman has remained firm in his opposition to mandatory vaccinations. He was called a “hero” by the co-founder of a Vermont “vaccine choice” group during his 2016 bid for lieutenant governor.
Holcombe doubled down on her criticism of Zuckerman in a recent virtual event, saying she “believe[s] in science,” and that she is “very concerned, particularly as we confront a health emergency, that David Zuckerman has…cast doubt on the value” of “well-established public health initiatives including immunization programs that have saved hundreds and hundreds of lives.”
Holcombe went on to imply that Zuckerman’s policies could make the U.S. more like Afghanistan, where she spent time as a child, when it comes to public health.
Meanwhile, Governor Phil Scott has garnered widespread bipartisan recognition for his science-based and effective leadership in the fight against COVID-19.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, David Zuckerman’s position on vaccinations isn’t just fringe nonsense – it’s downright dangerous,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “Vermonters deserve a governor who will bring people together to protect public health and promote prosperity. David Zuckerman’s extreme and divisive agenda will literally put Vermont families at risk.”