Vermont lawmaker apologizes for dousing colleague’s bag




Politics

An apparent personal rivalry between two state representatives from the same district in Vermont spilled into public view Monday in an emotional and tense interaction on the House floor.

A Republican lawmaker publicly apologized to a Democratic colleague before the Vermont House of Representatives after she was caught on video pouring water into his bag multiple times over the course of five months. 

“I am truly ashamed of my actions,” Representative Mary Morrissey, who serves Bennington, Vt., said at a House veto session Monday. 

Videos of Morrissey pouring cups of water into a personal bag belonging to Representative Jim Carroll, who also represents Bennington, were first acquired by Seven Days. The news outlet obtained the videos via a public records request after Carroll mounted a camera above where he hung his bag to find a culprit for the frequent soakings his belongings were getting.

“For five months, I went through this,” Carroll said at the meeting after Morrissey’s apology. “It was torment, there’s no doubt about it.”

When House Speaker Jill Krowinski first saw the videos and confronted Morrissey about it, she initially denied it, Seven Days reported. But she later apologized to Carroll, an encounter the latter told the outlet was “uncomfortable.”

On Monday, Morrissey admitted her behavior was “disrespectful” and said she had apologized to Carroll privately. She added that she will be “working toward resolution and restoration through our legislative process.”

“It was conduct most unbecoming of my position as a representative and as a human being, and is not reflective of my 28 years of service and civility,” Morrissey said. She also asked for forgiveness from her colleagues and the citizens of Vermont.

Morrissey has held her seat since 1997.

She did not provide a reason for her actions, and Seven Days reported that the representative claimed to not know why she did it. 

Carroll said he has faced repeated verbal harassment from his colleague, mainly for his policy decisions, according to the outlet.

“I hear the sincerity in your voice,” Carroll said. “And I’m gonna be quite frank with you … for five months, I went through this. And each month, each day that I went through this, Representative Morrissey had a choice to make. And each time, she didn’t choose to either drop it or come to me and say ‘I’m sorry, I screwed up, let’s put our heads together and serve our constituents the way they ought to be.’ And for that I’m really sorry and sad.”

Carroll said that he is willing to sit down with Morrissey to talk through their issues, though he admitted it may be “awkward” at first. 

“There’s gonna be some work to be done between the two of us,” he said. “That first time that we sit down together its gonna be kind of awkward, but we have to start somewhere.”





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