Gov. Phil Scott is backtracking on social media, unblocking users on his official Facebook account and “wiping the slate clean,” a spokesman said.
JT Dodge, who lives in Newbury, said he was blocked after leaving a number of comments on the governor’s page in April.
“He signed onto gun control, he went against what he said he was going to do and it really set a lot of people off and he must’ve been pretty sensitive about that,” said Dodge, who said he was recently unblocked by the governor’s office. “”These are our folks who represent us and it’s important that we maintain our speech,” said
Scott’s social media policies came under fire by the Vermont’s ACLU chapter, which suggested the governor was violating the First Amendment rights of his constituents.
“The people who made complaints to us about being blocked said that they were making complaints about political activities, that they were trying to operate within the governor’s policy at the time,” said Jay Diaz, ACLU staff attorney.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office says it stands by its decision of blocking people who were considered to have a history of posting abusive and obscene language to the page.
The governor’s office is now revamping its policies and intend on creating a space where ‘all are welcome’ to participate in “civil dialogue.”
Diaz said, “The ACLU is encouraged that people are being unblocked from the governor’s official Facebook account and other accounts, we hope the governor will issue some kind of official policy is in line with what we suggested.”
Diaz says there are a number of elected officials across the country who have run into similar issues, including President Donald Trump, who has blocked Twitter followers.
“It’s the First Amendment for a reason and speech is such a fundamental piece of being an American citizen,” Dodge said.
It is unclear as to when the governor’s new social media policy will be finalized and made public.