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Milne ad: Leahy has a sickness

Scott Milne (VPR photo)

MONTPELIER — Republican Scott Milne has released his first video ad against longtime U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, but the ad will only run online and not on television. Milne, the Republican who nearly toppled Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin in the 2014 gubernatorial race, has struggled to gain traction against Leahy, who is seeking his eighth term in Washington. Milne’s campaign has largely focused his campaign on attacking Leahy for being a “career politician.” Until this week he did not even have an issues section on his campaign website. In the 30-second video ad, Milne continues his assault on Leahy’s longevity in Washington. “Career Politician Patrick Leahy has caught the bug. Continue Reading →

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Minter, Leahy launch general election ads


Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m.

MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter is on the airwaves with her first general election television ad, while Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy has launched his first two television ads of the Senate campaign. Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, launched an ad Tuesday that looks to highlight her management skills. It focuses on her work helping the state recover from Tropical Storm Irene and and serving on President Barack Obama’s Climate Preparedness and Resilience Task Force. A narrator lays out what Minter’s goals as governor will be. “As Governor, Sue Minter will make sure our children can stay and succeed here in Vermont with affordable education and livable wage jobs, a governor who will put Vermont families first,” the narrator says. Continue Reading →

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Sanders launches final push to derail Senate GMO bill


MONTPELIER — Sen. Bernie Sanders is launching a final push to derail legislation in the U.S. Senate that would nullify Vermont’s landmark GMO labeling law and replace it with a national law that opponents say undermines efforts to mandate the labeling of genetically modified foods. Sanders distributed a letter Thursday to his Democratic colleagues in the Senate outlining why the legislation crafted by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, is insufficient. He is also appealing to the full Senate membership to support an amendment that would replace the Senate bill with Vermont’s law on a national scale. “The Roberts-Stabenow bill will undermine the strong GMO labeling law that went into effect on July 1st in Vermont. It will also undermine the efforts of other states to label GMOs. Continue Reading →

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Senators reach bipartisan deal on national GMO labeling law


MONTPELIER — A bipartisan deal has been reached by two key members of the U.S. Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on a national GMO labeling law that would nullify Vermont’s labeling law set to take effect on July 1. The compromise bill was announced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the Agriculture Committee’s ranking member, and its chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas. The legislation would create the first mandatory, nationwide label for food products containing genetically modified organisms that are commonly referred to as GMOs. “This bipartisan agreement is an important path forward that represents a true compromise. Since time is of the essence, we urge our colleagues to move swiftly to support this bill,” the two lawmakers said in a joint statement. Continue Reading →

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Now Vermont, Too, Shows Why National EB-5 Reforms Are Needed


ears ago when I began working to reform the national EB-5 program, the problems we saw seemed far removed from the many promising EB-5 development projects in Vermont. It is heartbreaking, and it is maddening, to see such problems here at home. It is now painfully clear to all Vermonters that the EB-5 Regional Center program is flawed. The program once promised to transform the Northeast Kingdom and other underserved communities through millions of dollars of investment at no cost to taxpayers. Yet it has become mired in fraud and abuse across the country, and unfortunately such allegations have now reached our state. Continue Reading →

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Vermont officials react to SOTU


resident Barack Obama delivered the final State of the Union address of his presidency Tuesday night. The president delivered a strong defense of his presidency and sought to shape his legacy. He urged Americans to reject rancor and discord in America’s politics and instead work collectively to boost the country’s economy and security. Vermont’s two senators and Gov. Peter Shumlin issued the following statements in response to the speech: (more…) Continue Reading →

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Commentary: Four Years After Irene, Renewal In Waterbury


his past August, we marked the four year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. Memories of communities besieged by flood waters, houses knocked from their foundations and families forever changed are still fresh for each of us, and for so many other Vermonters. But just as Vermont rebuilt from the historic 1927 floods, Vermonters have pulled together to build back stronger, smarter and better after Irene. This has required new and creative thinking, and significant collaboration between communities, the State of Vermont and the federal government. Nowhere in Vermont is that story better told than in Waterbury. Continue Reading →

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Welch calls for debate on war authorization

Rep. Peter Welch

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., has introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize military force against the so-called Islamic State. The legislation from Welch and co-sponsor Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., would pave the way for the United States to send troops into Syria and Iraq. Welch has long said Congress should debate the issue, rather than leaving it up to the White House alone. “Under the U.S. Constitution, it is the responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force,” Welch said Thursday. “Since August 8, 2014, when military action against ISIL began, Congress has been absent. Continue Reading →

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Food industry pushing to thwart GMO labeling by end of year


WASHINGTON (AP) — Food companies are mounting an aggressive year-end push to head off mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. The food industry wants the labeling to be voluntary, and it hopes to get a provision in a massive spending bill that Republicans and Democrats want to wrap up this week. If that becomes law, states could not require companies to disclose whether their products contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The House passed similar legislation earlier this year, but the Senate has not yet acted. Even so, food companies and farm groups say Congress must step in before Vermont becomes the first state to require GMO labels next summer. Continue Reading →

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Vermont to receive $1.1 billion for highway projects


WASHINGTON – Vermont will see a significant increase in the money it receives for road and bridge work as part of the first long-term federal highway bill in a decade. Congress has approved a 5-year, $305-billion bill that includes $1.1 billion for Vermont, an increase of $95 million, as well as increases for public transportation and charging stations for electric vehicles. “While this legislation does not have everything I would have hoped for, I am pleased it includes more than $1 billion for Vermont’s roads and bridges in the coming years,” said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which has primary jurisdiction over federal road and bridge programs.

Vermont will see a 5-percent increase in federal funding during the first year and a 15-percent increase over a five-year period. U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, who has been a long-time advocate of passing a long-term highway bill, said the bill will allow officials at the state level to better plan their infrastructure projects. “This is going to give greater stability and security to our Agency of Transportation, and give them the critical confidence they need to plan their projects,” Welch said. Continue Reading →

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