By Michelle Amidzich, News Editor
On Jan. 7, 2021, Molly Gray, a Vermont Law School (VLS) faculty member and alumna, took the oath of office as Vermont’s 82nd lieutenant governor. Lt. Gov. Gray is the fourth woman to hold the position. The lieutenant governor is the second-ranking officer in Vermont’s executive branch and first in the line of succession to the governor.
VLS Dean and President Thomas McHenry said of Gray’s election: “We are very proud here at Vermont Law School to see one of our own sworn in as lieutenant governor.”
Lt. Gov. Gray described the occasion as “incredibly special” on Newstalk WVMT’s The Morning Drive Jan. 8 broadcast. “On the backdrop of what has happened this week and everything that has happened around our country, I think the oath and saying those words and recognizing that taking an oath is an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution…is such an important thing now,” she said.
Lt. Gov. Gray noted that friends and family could not attend the swearing-in ceremony in person, nor could there be “normal” celebrations, like an inaugural ball, because of COVID precautions.
U.S. District Judge Peter Hall, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, administered the oath to Lt. Gov. Gray, who clerked for him after graduating from VLS in 2014. Lt. Gov. Gray described Judge Hall as a personal mentor and that it was a special moment for her.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Lt. Gov. Gray spoke about the importance of addressing economic and social inequality for Vermonters, especially throughout the pandemic.
In the days since she entered her new role, Lt. Gov. Gray called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, expressed gratitude to the Vermont National Guard for their service protecting the U.S. Capitol, and had a debriefing by The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs under the new Biden administration.
One of Lt. Gov. Gray’s campaign goals was to use the office to hear directly from the community, with the ultimate goal to make government more accessible to Vermonters. She posted a video to her Facebook page showing Vermonters her new office and said, “This is your office…I look forward to hearing from you.” The post also included her office’s phone number and website information.
Lt. Gov. Gray’s campaign also focused on uniting rural and urban communities. She explained to The Morning Drive that this issue is more important than ever because of the hurdles many Vermonters are facing in this pandemic.
Lt. Gov. Gray emphasized the pressing nature of issues like the broadband gap, “which—we know that if you are trying to remote work or online learn, access telehealth or telemedicine…we’ve got to address that.” She remarked that she agrees with Governor Scott that: “it shouldn’t matter which zip code you have in [terms of] your ability to access services and goods and equity.”
Gov. Phil Scott also took the oath of office on Jan. 7 for his third term. Gov. Scott and Lt. Gov. Gray are from different political parties—Scott a Republican and Gray a Democrat. Vermont is one of 18 states that elects its governor and lieutenant governor separately.
Together, she and Gov. Scott condemned the violence in Washington, D.C. and called for unity. Lt. Gov. Gray discussed working in unison with Gov. Scott to address these issues and said that while they might not agree on everything, they both intend to work together.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Lt. Gov. Gray. “We’re ready to do everything we can to make sure Vermonters are able to access services.”