Just days after he was involved in a race car crash, Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, is assuring his state that he is safe and follows precautions when participating in one of his favorite pastimes.
“It's just part of racing,” he said Tuesday of Sunday’s crash.
Scott has long competed in stock car racing at Thunder Road in Barre, where his past track championships are even enshrined in stone at the entrance to the racetrack.
In his first race since taking office in January, Scott was doing pretty well in the number 14 car, until a tire blew and he hit a wall and slid over a bank at the edge of the track.
The Republican was not injured, and promised he follows many safety steps before competing. Those measures include using a helmet, harness, and fire-retardant suit.
“Some people golf. Some people bike. Some people play chess. I just happen to race stock cars,” Scott told necn. “It’s very safe the way we do it.”
The wreck came just days after Scott's high-profile veto of marijuana legalization in Vermont. Some apparent critics commented on a Facebook post about the race car crash published by necn affiliate NBC 5 News.
"Guess you got vetoed!" one Facebook user wrote.
"Gotta love karma," another Facebook user commented on the news station’s post.
The Vermont State Police is generally responsible for the governor's security. Necn asked if the agency has any new concerns about his safety, following this weekend’s crash.
Col. Matt Birmingham, the commander of the Vermont State Police, said he never comments about security protocol and referred our questions to the governor's office.
Scott himself said he did discuss safety with his protective unit.
In response to necn’s question about whether it’s wise for a sitting governor to be racing, Scott answered, “It's something that's in my blood. It's something I've done throughout my life — I’m known for it. In fact, I think it's some of what keeps me grounded. Being able to be with the people.”
When asked if a potential risk for injuries would interfere with his ability to serve the people of Vermont, Scott reiterated that he believes the safety steps taken to secure his race car offer him excellent physical protections.
Scott said in his many years of racing, he has had other minor crashes before.
“Obviously the job of governor comes first, and I'll make sure that happens,” Scott said in response to a question about whether Sunday’s crash left him rethinking his pastime.
As for the number 14 car, the governor said it will be drivable again.