Jon Margolis

Jon Margolis

Jon Margolis is VTDigger's columnist. He is the author of The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, left the Chicago Tribune early in 1995 after 23 years as Washington correspondent, sports writer, correspondent-at-large and general columnist. Margolis spent most of his Tribune years in the Washington Bureau as the newspaper’s chief national political correspondent. In 1988, he was a one of the journalists asking questions of Senators Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle in their televised vice presidential debate. Before joining the Tribune in 1973, Margolis had been the Albany Bureau Chief for Newsday. He was the first reporter on the scene of the Attica prison rebellion in 1971, and spent the entire first night inside the prisoner-held “D” yard. Earlier, Margolis was a reporter for the Bergen Record in Hackensack, N.J.; the Miami Herald and the Concord Monitor (N.H.). In addition to The Last Innocent Year, published by William Morrow in 1999, he is the author of How To Fool Fish With Feathers: An Incompleat Guide to Fly Fishing (Simon and Schuster, 1991) and The Quotable Bob Dole — Witty, Wise and Otherwise, (Avon Books, 1995). He also wrote two chapters of Howard Dean: A citizens Guide to the Man Who Would be President (Steerforth, 2003). A native of New Jersey, Margolis graduated from Oberlin College in 1962. He served in the US Army.

Email: [email protected]

    Margolis: Leading means being able to say you lost

    Peter Shumlin signed the historic health care reform act on the Statehouse steps on Thursday. VTD/Taylor Dobbs.

    Gov. Peter Shumlin may have wasted a lot of time and money, but in the end he at least stood up and took the heat, even though the decision to move away from single payer health care wounded him and his supporters.

    Margolis: The affordability question

    Jobs

    On the campaign trail both Democrats and Republicans focused on Vermont’s cost of living. Does Vermont really have an affordability problem?

    Margolis: Scott Milne and the pursuit of the governorship

    Republican travel agency executive Scott Milne formally launches his campaign for governor Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at the Aldrich Public Library in Barre. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

    Scott Milne has yet to concede the race for governor, and may take his quest to the legislature, which will have the final say. He is within his rights to do so, but he is unlikely to prevail and could put his political future at risk.

    Shumlin may win, but voters express dissatisfaction

    Peter Shumlin dem

    With his race against an unknown Republican still in the balance, Gov. Peter Shumlin will surely post one of the lowest vote totals for a sitting governor in years.

    Margolis: Governing is left out of the political equation

    Gov. Peter Shumlin (left) and Republican challenger Scott Milne participate in a televised debate at WCAX studios in South Burlington on Wednesday night. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

    Go to incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin’s web site and try to find a hint of programs and policies he will put forward if re-elected. Republican challenger Scott Milne didn’t start outlining his policies until a few weeks ago. Only on Oct. 22 did he unveil an economic proposal.

    Margolis: Disobedience was civil, but was it warranted?

    VT Gas occupy 10

    Protesters occupying the Pavilion in opposition to the Vermont Gas pipeline perhaps invest the issue with more significance than it deserves.

    Margolis: Milne faced steep learning curve on the campaign trail

    Republican travel agency executive Scott Milne formally launches his campaign for governor Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at the Aldrich Public Library in Barre. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

    From the outset, he has had too little money, too small (and inexperienced) a staff, and too little time.

    Margolis: Vermont economy out of the governor’s hands — whoever that governor may be

    Gov. Peter Shumlin (left) and Republican challenger Scott Milne participate in a televised debate at WCAX studios in South Burlington on Wednesday night. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

    It’s October of an election year, and the hills are alive with the sounds of clashing statistics.

    Margolis: A colossus by comparison

    Gov. Peter Shumlin, left, Dan Feliciano and Scott Milne at the VPR debate, Sept. 23, 2014. Photo by Anne Galloway

    Of the four candidates at Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate, only one managed to project the qualities expected in a governor: the incumbent Peter Shumlin. The other three fell woefully short.

    Margolis: For a meager 10 grand, you, too, can make a fool of yourself

    Screenshot taken from Skip Vallee's ad calling on former Burlington College President Jane Sanders to return money the college paid her when she left in 2011. YouTube video

    Skip Vallee’s ad criticizing Bernie Sanders’ wife was poorly written and misdirected, but the man has every right to make himself look silly.

    Margolis: Schools likely to remain small and expensive

    A classroom at Montpelier High School awaits students. Photo by Katie Jickling/VTDigger

    Better get used to it, Vermont will always have a low teacher-pupil ratio and a high per-pupil cost compared to most other states.

    Margolis: Measuring Vermont’s schools on a variety of standards

    Creative Commons photo by Alberto G. via Flicrk https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

    By any calculation, Vermont spends a lot on public schools, and by the most common approach to assessing school quality, it gets what it pays for.

    Margolis: Cutting teachers is quickest way to reduce school costs

    First grade teacher Emily Wrigley works with students at Union Elementary in Montpelier. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

    There are only two ways to hold down school spending, and by all indications, most Vermonters don’t want to do either one.

    Margolis: Primary night predictably anti-climactic

    vote

    Statewide, the only real question surrounding Tuesday’s voting was whether Dean Corren, the Progressive Party candidate for lieutenant governor, would get enough Democratic write-in votes to get on that party’s line on the November ballot also.

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