Liberty Union and Socialist Party candidate Ben Mitchell was not the only one to withdraw from the race to become governor this week.
Independent Em Peyton also dropped out of the campaign, saying she preferred Democrat Peter Shumlin over Republican Brian Dubie.
Peyton said she should not have been excluded from many of the candidate forums and debates. Peyton added that Shumlin's support for single payer health care convinced her he was the better major party candidate.
“Do I think Shumlin goes far enough? No,” Peyton said in a statement. “We must end the flow of wealth to Wall Street and let it flow here.”
Peyton also hinted she might run again in two years.
Peyton added that her application to become governor "is now resubmitted for 2012.”
Like Mitchell, Peyton’s name will remain on the ballot. Both Mitchell and Peyton are from Putney – as is Shumlin.
- Louis Porter
Very interesting question from Mark Johnson during the debate among the candidates to become Vermont’s lieutenant governor last night on Vermont Public Television.
What is your greatest worry for the state over the next couple decades, Johnson asked.
Steve Howard – Democrat
“If we don’t reverse our economic policies we will become a playground for the wealthy.”
Marjorie Power – Progressive
That “our young people and our middle-aged people, they are all young to me, will not be able to make a reasonable livable wage.”
Peter Garritano – Independent
“I am concerned about our freedom, our liberties and all of the things have been lost over the last ten years.”
“The federal government is grasping more and more control all of the time.”
Phil Scott – Republican
“I am very concerned about losing our freedom and our independence.”
“We need to learn to take care of ourselves.”
– Louis Porter
Clerks weigh in on SOS race
The Vermont Municipal Clerks' and Treasurers' Association made its choice for Secretary of State, the state office clerks most often deal with.
In its election scorecard released today the clerks' association choose its candidate based on six issues, including whether the candidates support changes to election law like election day registration and less specific areas such as whether the association members who voted feel the candidates will listen to local officials.
Republican Jason Gibbs bested Democrat Jim Condos in each of those measures, according to the clerks.
– Louis Porter
In the end this is how Em Peyton summed up the race in her closing statement:
“Too much testosterone.”
– Louis Porter
What would the candidates do to prevent bullying?
Ben Mitchell said there were other issues that need attention.
“What would I do to keep people from bullying each other? I can't believe we are talking about this. People are hungry.”
“Don't bully people. That's the answer.”
Dennis Steele said the state needs to be liberated from the federal government.
“Let's end the class warfare.”
“Liberating Vermont is the only way.”
Em Peyton said she will start a volunteer peace force whether she wins or not.
“You know how we have a volunteer fire department? We need a volunteer peace force.”
“Our police force is working for the corporate world and they cannot be working to create peace.”
Cris Ericson said differences in money were what caused the biggest problems.
“What causes racial disparity?"
“How many children look up to Barack Obama despite his color?”
“Rich people don't go to prison in Vermont."
Peter Shumlin said he would follow former Gov. Howard Dean's lead on the issue.
"He devoted a whole State of the State address to racial hatred. That took courage. Then he went out to schools to talk about it.”
Brian Dubie said the issue was personal for him.
“My son was in a school where there was cyber bullying that led to a suicide. This is not some academic thing for me.”
“This is an issue across all of our state.”
What about Brian Dubie's pro-life stance, is it too conservative on social issues for Vermont?
Dubie pointed to “some of the things I have done as a pro-life lieutenant governor” including supporting a baby save haven bill with Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz.
“Planned Parenthood and Vermont Right to Life came together” to support the bill, Dubie said. “That is the kind of work I have done.”
Peter Shumlin said the issue deserves attention in the race because 18 states have seen legislation recently that would “weakening a woman's right to choose,” Shumlin said.
“I would veto that legislation, Brian would sign it,” Shumlin said. “I think that is not in keeping with most Vermonters' values.”
“This is a decision between a woman and her provider,” he added.
Offered a chance to respond Dubie said the economy was the issue that matters most in the campaign.
“I respect people who have different opinions. I am running on jobs,” Dubie said.
U.S. Marijuana Party candidate Cris Ericson's plan for lowering the obesity and diabetes rates in Vermont?
“I want swimming trails," she said. “Swimmers do not have equal rights to surface waters.”
Is making a single payer health care system in Vermont possible?
Peter Shumlin said he will work tirelessly to do it, including trying to get federal waivers to allow such a system.
“We cannot continue to spend $1 million more a day on health care than we spent the day before," he said. “It is bankrupting small businesses.”
“Stick with the current team, with Brian Dubie and your costs will go up another $2.5 billion" as they have in the last decade, Shumlin said.
And what does Brian Dubie think of Shumlin's plan?
“He is good at making promises," Dubie said. “I will make promises I can keep.”
That would include expanding the current Blueprint for Health and chronic disease management programs, he said.
What do candidates think about universal pre-kindergarten education as proposed by Sen. Peter Shumlin?
Brian Dubie wondered if the state could afford it:
“Sen. Shumlin has said he is not into new taxes but the list of new programs he is proposing …. would require significant new funding," he said.
But Shumlin responded that the program was important to set children on the right path, would save money.
“We know that every dollar spent on early childhood education saves $7 to $14 later on," Shumlin said. “The earlier we get to them the better chance we have of success.”
And he did not say he would implement the program next year when the state is expected to be in tough financial shape, Shumlin said.
“I did not say we would spend $32 million next January," he said.
Here's a new take on the recent corrections plan debate from Liberty Union candidate Ben Mitchell.
“I would pardon all non-violent drug offenders," he said.
Not everyone can make friends as quickly as Independent Dennis Steele:
“Col. Dubie and aristocrat Shumlin do not get it," according to Steele.
Vermont Public Television debate among all candidates for the governorship is beginning. Follow along here for some notes on the debate.
– Louis Porter
With river levels high from the recent rain the state has closed its offices for this afternoon, except for essential personnel.
All offices, except for those in the National Life Complex in Montpelier are "authorized to operate on a reduced workforce status effective immediately, and will continue for the duration of the 1st and 2nd shifts on Friday, October 1st," according to the state.
"Employees who have not been specifically authorized by the appointing authority, or delegated representative, to remain at work in the Montpelier complex (with the exception of the National Life complex), are directed to leave at this time in an orderly manner," according to the Vermont Emergency Management release.
– Louis Porter
In a public statement Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas Tremblay told reporters Wednesday evening that two members of the Vermont State Police have been the subjects of an investigation into the improper voiding of a speeding ticket given to Peter Shumlin, at the time a democratic candidate for governor and now his party's nominee.
The trooper who initially issued the ticket was not involved. Shumlin paid the ticket, which was later processed.
– Louis Porter
Like many candidates, State Rep. Michael Fisher, D-Lincoln, has just started a Facebook page for his campaign. Which resulted in a status update that would likely have been redundant before electronic campaigning:
“Michael Fisher likes Representative Michael Fisher.
8 hours ago”
It had taken voter Michael Fisher a little while to make up his mind, candidate Michael Fisher joked.
– Louis Porter