MONTPELIER — Governor Phil Scott has returned from his trip to Washington D.C., where he met with President Biden and other leaders at the White House as Congress debates a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
Governor Scott said he approached the meeting with a bipartisan spirit, and spoke to the importance of setting aside political differences to get the bill passed. He suggested if there’s anything Capitol Hill can agree upon, infrastructure is at the top of that list.
“We need to put the last election aside, put the next election aside, and do what’s right for Americans and our states and our citizens,” Governor Scott said. “If we can’t agree on an infrastructure package, it’s going to be a long four years.”
Scott’s trip to the nation’s capital on Wednesday was the first time he’d left Vermont since before the pandemic, and it brought him to the Roosevelt Room with a seat next to Vice President Kamala Harris and President Biden. He said the infrastructure talks were an opportunity to advocate for Vermont’s unique needs.
I wanted to make sure that flexibility was part of this solution, because governor murphy from new jersey spoke first, I spoke second, and we aren’t new jersey. Our needs are different. Broadband is probably our highest need, but traditional roads and bridges are another.”
Governor Scott was also struck by President Biden’s leadership style, and how the he ran the room. Scott had met him briefly on two occasions as Vermont’s lieutenant governor. At the time, Biden was serving as Vice President.
“The President’s style is to just have a conversation, it really is very interactive,” Governor Scott said. “He cares about what’s going on, and he likes the anecdotes and to talk about what’s happening on the ground.”
It was a relatively small group of governors and mayors, and if you’re wondering why Governor Scott was selected, apparently you’re not alone.
“I have really no idea in some respects,” Governor Scott said. “I believe that he did want to have bipartisan representation at the governor’s level and the mayor’s level.”
Last week, Governor Scott was appointed to the Council of Governors by President Biden. In his two-year term on the council, Scott will work with federal officials on issues relating to national security, homeland defense, disaster preparedness, response and recovery, and the National Guard.