Politics

‘Your fate has been sealed’: Legislative leaders receive threatening emails

Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, left, and House Speaker Jill Krowinski. Photos by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

Days after renewing their calls for an indoor mask mandate, Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham, and House Speaker Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, received identical emails.

“Fuck your fucking masks, you little tyrant and fuck your fucking vaccines. You and your ilk are all going to face a military tribunal for committing crimes against humanity,” the Saturday afternoon messages read.

“Tick tick you insufferable Marxist c-nt,” the missive from an anonymous, encrypted email went on. “Your fate has been sealed.”

The messages have been forwarded to law enforcement. Capitol Police and Vermont State Police “take all reports of threats to Vermont officials and legislators with the utmost seriousness,” state police spokesperson Adam Silverman wrote in an email. He said troopers could not comment on investigations that “may or may not” be ongoing.

Messages like these have a chilling effect, Balint said. 

“It’s clear that we’ve reached a new low,” she said. 

The Senate Pro Tem said the messages, in conjunction with recently publicized death threats made to elections officials at the Secretary of State’s office, left people “on edge about the upcoming (legislative) session.”

The threats made against Vermont election officials were featured in a Reuters story about law enforcement agencies declining to charge Trump supporters who parroted conspiracy theories about a stolen election and threatened civil servants with violence. In Vermont, prosecutors defended their inaction by arguing Vermont’s criminal threatening law was much more restrictive than the federal standard. 

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he intends to take up legislation come January that would better align Vermont’s criminal threatening law with the federal one. But he suggested the upcoming debate would not be an easy one.

“I’ve felt for a long time that something needs to change. It’s just: What is that something? We all want to be protected by the free speech amendment to the Constitution,” he said. 


Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, has said he’s open to considering such a change in law, according to the Bennington Banner.

A spokesperson for the governor, Jason Maulucci, said the governor also gets messages such as the ones received by Balint. One last month “similarly espoused that the Governor would face imminent trial and execution for promoting Covid-19 vaccines,” Maulucci said.

“Despicable messages like these are far too common,” Scott said in a statement. “These anonymous messages are cowardly in nature and we should not tolerate them, nor should we give them the exposure they desire.”

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Lola Duffort

About Lola

Lola Duffort is a political reporter for VTDigger, covering Vermont state government, the congressional delegation and elections. She previously covered education for Digger, the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire and the Rutland Herald. She has also freelanced for the Miami Herald in Florida, where she grew up. She is a graduate of McGill University in Canada.

Email: [email protected]

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