Pastor calls Dean a 'principled' member: Candidate donated tax rebate to ministries for poor people

January 27, 2004

Robert A. Lee, the pastor of the First Congregational Church (UCC) in Burlington, Vermont, says that Howard Dean is a supportive member “with strong principled views.”

A member since 1982, Dean reflected his beliefs when as governor he signed the “politically risky” civil union legislation giving same-sex couples rights equal to those of heterosexuals, Lee told United Church News, the denominational magazine, in September.

Another example of Dean’s principled action, the pastor said, came after the first round of federal tax rebates, which President Bush said were for “middle-class Americans.” First Congregational’s board of trustees suggested that members who were able should consider donating part of the rebates to ministries for the poor. “One of the first letters I received in response to that appeal was from the Governor of Vermont’s office with a check for [Dean’s] entire tax rebate,” Lee said.