Brock announces bid for lieutenant governor

MONTPELIER — Republican Randy Brock, a former auditor and state senator, said Thursday he is running for lieutenant governor.

Brock, the GOP’s 2012 nominee for governor, announced his bid in a statement Thursday afternoon. He had also been considering a run for a Franklin County Senate seat but said the position of lieutenant governor fits his skills.

“The lieutenant governor’s job offers the flexibility and the platform to become a catalyst for critical thinking and innovative ideas about how to achieve Vermont’s long-term promise,” he said. “I want to raise issues, generate ideas and get people in business, government and individuals talking with each other – across party and ideological lines.”

Randy Brock

Randy Brock

The Swanton resident was elected state auditor in 2004 and served one term before he lost his re-election bid to Thomas Salmon following a recount. He was then elected to the Senate in 2008 and 2010. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has announced he is not seeking a fourth term, defeated Brock in the 2012 gubernatorial race.

Brock said his four years in the Senate provide him with the experience needed to serve as its presiding officer. He said his service as state auditor and his business career provide him “the financial background needed to turn ideas into fiscal realities.” Brock worked as vice president of risk oversight for Fidelity Investments prior to his government service.

“I want to get people to discuss how to implement a vision for a Vermont that is strong economically, affordable for our people, that has a growing population with new jobs to match, and that provides our kids with a world-class education plus an opportunity to build a future right here at home,” he said.

Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has announced his candidacy for governor, along with former Wall Street Executive Bruce Lisman. Brock said he looks forward to working with one of them as lieutenant governor.

“I’m pleased that there are two strong and capable Republican candidates for governor and I wish them well,” he said. “As lieutenant governor, I pledge to work with whoever is elected governor, to preside over the Senate with dignity and impartiality, to be an ambassador for all the good things we have, and to be a strong voice that contributes ideas, questions the status quo, looks behind the numbers and continually suggests solutions to make Vermont even better.”

Mark Snelling

Mark Snelling

Not everyone is pleased with Brock’s announcement. Mark Snelling, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 and lost the primary to Scott, had been speaking with Brock behind the scenes about their mutual interest in the job. Snelling said he and Brock had a recent meeting in which the two agreed to ask the state party to host a meeting with candidates interested in the position “to try and maximize the talents within the party.”

But Brock called Snelling Wednesday night to tell him he was announcing his candidacy.

“I asked him not to and asked him to wait until the party had an opportunity to put a meeting together and he declined, so I’m disappointed. I think a meeting would have been a helpful thing,” Snelling said. “I do think that it sets a tone for a campaign when people all get together and agree to have a civil conversation.”

Snelling said he has spoken to 2014 gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne and Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning and both have an interest in running as well. A meeting may still go forward without Brock, and others could jump in the race and create a primary, according to Snelling.

“I would never have a desire to run against Randy. On the other hand, I don’t think his jumping out of the gun should stop me or anyone else from running. I’m not going to let it stop me. I’m going to make my decision on my time and if I run it will be against Randy,” he said.

So far, Democrat Brandon Riker is the only other announced candidate. The 28-year-old Marlboro resident has contributed about $60,000 of his own money to the effort.

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