Republican Brian Dubie's campaign continues to seize upon Democrat Peter Shumlin's prison plan as a campaign issue, this week announcing a robo call featuring Barre Mayor Thomas Lauzon.
We had several Times Argus readers call and e-mail us today not too happy to hear Lauzon's recorded voice on the other end.
Here's what Lauzon, a longtime supporter of Dubie, says in the call:
Hi, this is Thom Lauzon, the mayor of Barre. The number one job of government is to keep Vermonters safe. Peter Shumlin’s plan to cut $40 million from the state corrections budget by releasing nearly 800 non-violent criminals is simply dangerous. Peter Shumlin’s plan is so reckless that even members of his own party are criticizing it. Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor Steve Howard told reporters that he does not agree with the Shumlin plan and that there are better ways to close the budget gap than by releasing non-violent offenders. We are lucky to live in one of the safest states in the country. Let’s keep it that way. Call Peter Shumlin and tell him you agree with me and his ticket mate Steve Howard that putting 800 non-violent criminals into our neighborhoods is no way to balance the budget.
Rep. Steve Howard of Rutland – the Democrat running for Dubie's soon-to-be old job, did say he disagreed with Shumlin's plan in a recent interview with Seven Days.
But he hit back against Dubie and Lauzon today, writing in a press release that:
I will have no part in these ugly, negative Karl Rove style political attacks on my friend Peter Shumlin. The Lt. Governor ought to be ashamed of himself for bringing such despicable, fear-mongering and nasty campaign tactics to our state. Vermonters have had enough, they believe these negative tactics have no place in the State of Vermont and are absolutely shameful.
Howard sidesteps the question about what he disagrees with about Shumlin's plan and instead focuses on what they agree on – and where they differ from Dubie.
Peter Shumlin and I agree that Vermont needs a greater public investment in drug treatment, mental health counseling, adult education, skill development, transitional housing and community support systems in order to get the Administrations runaway Corrections budget under control.
According to the Dubie campaing, Lauzon's call went out to 75,000 homes in Vermont.
The Vermont Press Bureau spoke with Con Hogan – a former corrections commissioner and secretary of human services under two Vermont governors – last week and he defended Shumlin's prison plan, saying it closely resembles recommendations he and others made to Gov. James Douglas six years ago.
– Dan Barlow