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Governor Phil Scott Celebrates the 2017 Holiday Season with State House Christmas Tree and Menorah Lightings

December 22, 2017


On Thursday, November 30, Governor Phil Scott addressed attendees for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the State House. The tree was donated by Pat and Diane Eugair, of Pittsford, in honor of their deceased son, John Paul. Markowski excavating donated time and materials to harvest and transport of the tree to the State House. The Governor’s remarks follow.

GOVERNOR SCOTT: Good evening, thank you very much for being here today. I also want to thank the Otter Valley Senior Chorale for coming up to perform for us tonight, this is a special event and it’s an honor to join you to celebrate this season.

First, I want to talk a little bit about this amazing tree. It comes to us from Pittsford, and from the home of a loving family, who exemplify what it means to be Vermonters.

More than 25 years ago, Pat and Diane Eugair planted this tree with their son John Paul. Diane is with us tonight, as well as her daughter Marie and her mother Anne.

John Paul had brought a small spruce seedling home from the Vermont State Fair in Rutland. John loved Christmas, and especially, as his mother tells, the lights that decorated their family Christmas trees.

A few years after they planted this small spruce in the front yard, John passed away due to complications from Cerebral Palsy, but his tree continued to grow stronger and taller with each passing year to become the tower of spirit, and joy, and celebration that we have before us here tonight.

So, as we light this year’s Christmas Tree and kickoff of the holiday season, we celebrate the life, memory, and inspiration of John Paul Eugair, and the joy he brought to so many lives. And, we honor the generosity of his parents, Diane and Patrick, his sisters Marie and Andrea, and their entire family.

Vermonters are known for civility for a deep sense of community and our commitment to the most vulnerable. We help each other out, go the extra mile, believe in each other, and the value of every person.

And, during this holiday season, it’s important to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in this brave little state alongside so many good and decent people who, in their homes and jobs and churches, give so much of themselves in service of others.

So here, tonight as we kickoff the Christmas season lets commit ourselves to showing gratitude for each other and especially all of those Vermonters who inspire us with their kindness; with their commitment to their families, their compassion and optimism, and their unconditional love.   

Because to me, that’s what this season represents. And that’s what this tree represents.

Finally, at a time when the national dialogue often lacks the respect and civility our country needs and deserves, it’s up to us to remember the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s pretty simple, treat others the way you want to be treated even on social media and Twitter, tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.

And let’s remember, this tree will remind us that every adult is a role model and that there’s incredible inspiration in the example of children like John Paul and their families. 

Again, thank you very much for being here tonight and Merry Christmas.

View full remarks ceremony here



On Thursday, December 14, Governor Scott also hosted a menorah lighting on the state house lawn, joined by Rabbis Tobie Weisman and Yitzchak Raskin, and members from the Yearning for Learning Center. The Governor’s remarks follow.

GOVERNOR SCOTT: Good evening… thank you all very much for being here tonight for this special event...

I appreciate being here, to celebrate the third night of Hanukkah with all of you.

The lighting of the Menorah here on the State House Lawn – a tradition that began five years ago – offers an important opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate this holiday at our beautiful capitol building.

Hanukkah has traditionally been a celebration of religious freedom and a dedication to overcoming odds… a time of perseverance, faith through adversity… and having that faith rewarded… These are important lessons that are carried on in the traditions of this holiday… and reflected in the shared values we have here in Vermont.

Over time, the entire holiday season, for all of us, has also become about a spirit of togetherness and peace.

This holiday season represents an opportunity to be inspired to do better… and to come together and embrace each other, regardless of different backgrounds.

So, I hope the message of acceptance, perseverance and strength through adversity represented in the history and traditions of Hanukah inspires us…

Let’s commit ourselves to showing gratitude for each other, respect for our differences, and an embrace of our common values… to be accepting and kind… to celebrate all Vermonters and our commitment to our families and neighbors… our compassion and optimism, no matter what hardships we face.

Finally … at a time when the national dialogue often lacks the respect and civility our country needs and deserves… It’s up to us to remember the Golden Rule… “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”… It’s really pretty simple… treat others the way you want to be treated… Even on social media … As I’ve said many times before…. “tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.”

In closing, I’d like to thank Rabbis Weisman and Raskin, and the Yearning for Learning Center for tonight’s event, and thank you all for being here.

Happy Hanukkah.

View full remarks ceremony here