Senate Leader Looks To Expel McAllister

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statethumbfinalVERMONT - For the first time in the states 224 year history, leaders in the Vermont State Senate are drafting a resolution to expel one of its members from office.

Last May, Franklin County Republican Senator Norm McAllister was arrested at the state house on Montpelier on charges of sexual assault and prohibited acts. One of the alleged victims was an intern, aged 20 at the time, who worked under McAllister.

According to Caledonia County Senator Joe Benning, he had prior history with the same woman when she was a minor.

“He has admitted in a public discussion that he in fact began having a sexual relationship with her when she was sixteen. That by itself creates an impropriety that brings the attention of the senate to bear what was happening.”

Being the senate minority leader, Benning feels responsible for trying to take care of this problem swiftly. “He is a member of my caucus”, he said. “I feel that it is incumbent upon me then to actually take the lead in trying to have him expelled in the senate.”

Vermont legislators will return to State Street in January when the new sessions begin, and the resolution aimed at banning McAllister from the senate is likely to be the first thing that his peers will look at.

“It is not fun, it is very sad, but it has to be done, it has to be done right and I’m hoping, still against all hope, that he is going to see the wisdom of resigning his seat”, said Benning.

McAllister’s steadfast denial of any wrongdoing is adding to tensions within the state government, especially since he maintains that he will return to work when the Senate reconvenes. 

If he were to return to work, McAllister would lose his committee assignments, essentially rendering his position useless. According to Benning, his co-workers could also become polarized, whether it be in support or contempt of McAllister. “That means there will be internal dysfunction as people try to work with each other”, he said.

The distraction in the senate is something that Benning is hoping can be minimalized, noting "This is a historic moment for all the wrong reasons."