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RGA launches first ad supporting Phil Scott

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MONTPELIER — The Republican Governors Association wasted little time inserting itself into Vermont’s gubernatorial campaign, launching a television ad supporting Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in his race against Democrat Sue Minter. The RGA’s quick response — just hours after Scott was declared the GOP’s nominee over former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman, is a sure sign that Republicans and Democrats are ready to spend big on the race. The RGA purchased the ad, titled “Back on Track,” through a super PAC it funds known as A Stronger Vermont. Reports were not yet filed with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday afternoon indicating how much the RGA is spending. The ad features a narrator saying Scott is “working hard to make Vermont better for everyone by working hand-in-hand with leaders of all parties.”

“As governor, Phil Scott will restore trust in state government, bring new jobs to Vermont, and focus on solving problems, not playing politics,” the female narrator says. Continue Reading →

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Dems, GOP present unified parties as general election begins

In the foreground, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter hugs House Speaker Shap Smith, who came up short in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. In the background, Sen. David Zuckerman, the nominee for lieutenant governor, hugs Matt Dunne, who was defeated by Minter. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

BURLINGTON — After lengthy primary campaigns, both the Vermont Democratic Party and the Vermont Republican Party gathered Wednesday morning to rally their troops and present a unified front for the general election. Democrats gathered at Burlington’s Main Street Landing Wednesday morning where the winners and losers in the primaries for governor and lieutenant governor spent time exchange hugs and well wishes. Matt Dunne, who lost to Sue Minter in the gubernatorial primary Tuesday by a wide margin, provided a gracious introduction for Minter after his campaign manager Nick Charyk lashed out at her last week. Charyk accused her of being part of the establishment trying to undermine Dunne for his progressive platform, offered gracious words to his former rival Wednesday

But that seemed to be forgotten Wednesday as Dunne offered his endorsement for the general election. “It wouldn’t be OK if we just wanted any Democrat to win. Continue Reading →

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Outside spending ramps up as primary approaches

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MONTPELIER — Outside spending in the gubernatorial races is exploding as the campaigns churn toward the primary on Aug. 9, according to public filings. Reid Hoffman, the Silicon Valley billionaire who co-founded LinkedIn, has ponied up $220,000 for radio, television and online ads supporting Matt Dunne. Hoffman filed a mass media report with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday as required by state election law. According to the filing, first reported by Seven Days, Hoffman is spending $154,000 for television spots, $44,000 for radio spots and $22,000 for online advertising. Continue Reading →

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Story + Video: Scott: A career of building coalitions

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Phil Scott likes to tell people how, about 20 years ago now, he did not have a political bone in his body. He grew up in Barre and spent his adult life building a family, a career as a contractor, and a reputation as a race car driver. He takes great pride in his blue-collar roots. But when he started to see politics miring the Legislature, he decided to step up. That trajectory — serving in the Senate and then as lieutenant governor — has forced him to become the leader he felt Vermont needed then — and now. Continue Reading →

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Dunne, Minter spar over wind, airport contract at debate

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COLCHESTER — All five Democratic candidates running for governor took part in a televised Vermont PBS debate Tuesday night, but two frontrunners dominated the discussion as they traded barbs and thinly-veiled accusations of impropriety. Sue Minter, a former Agency of Transportation secretary, and Matt Dunne, a former Google employee and Windsor County state senator, waded quickly waded into a discussion on wind energy. The issue exploded into the campaign last Friday when Dunne released a policy position calling for local communities to first approve any wind projects before they are built.

The policy announcement has cost Dunne dearly. Renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben has withdrawn his endorsement of Dunne and is now backing Minter. And on Tuesday, Vermont Conservation Voters announced it, too, was backing Minter. Continue Reading →

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Scott, Lisman, face off in PBS debate

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COLCHESTER — The two Republican candidates for governor had their first televised, head-to-head debate Monday night and sought to immediately air their grievances with each other, but were short on specific plans. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and former Wall Street Executive Bruce Lisman used the hour-long Vermont PBS debate as a chance to highlight their ideas and contradict the assertions made by the other. But throughout the debate, neither ventured far from their broad policy ideas into specific plans. Both candidates offered spoke of using the office to revitalize Vermont’s economy. Curbing state spending and bringing it in line with the state’s economic growth was a broad goal set forth by both men. Continue Reading →

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Dunne position on wind draws fire

Matt Dunne

MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne is drawing strong criticism from environmental advocates and leaders after calling for local referendums over the siting of wind energy projects less than two weeks before the state’s Aug. 9 primary. On Friday, Dunne, a former Google employee and Windsor County state senator, distributed a press release detailing his stance on the siting of renewable energy projects. At the top of the three points listed Dunne stated that “wind projects should only take place with the approval of the towns where the projects are located.”

“As governor, I will ensure that no means no. Towns should be voting by Australian ballot, and if a town says no to a large industrial wind project I would use all the power of the Governor’s office to ensure that is the end of the project,” Dunne wrote. Continue Reading →

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Dean throws support behind Minter

Sue Minter

Former Gov. Howard Dean threw his support behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter Thursday, choosing the former Secretary of Transportation over her two primary rivals. Dean, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and 2004 candidate for president, announced his support for Minter as he attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. He said his support was the result of Minter proving “she can get the job done.”

“I am proud to support Sue Minter to serve as the next Governor of Vermont,” said Gov. Dean. “She is a strong leader and a true progressive who has the experience and dedication we need to keep moving Vermont forward.”

Dean is the third former governor to back Minter, following Madeleine Kunin and Phil Hoff. “I am thrilled to have the support of so many who have dedicated their lives to making progressive change in Vermont,” Minter said in a statement. Continue Reading →

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Story-Video-Podcast: Minter: Experience would guide service

Sue Minter
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Listen to Sue Minter discuss the issues:

MONTPELIER — For Sue Minter, the destruction of Tropical Storm Irene — and the state’s successful recovery — is a template for the way she would lead the state. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate was the secretary of the Agency of Transportation in 2011 when the catastrophic storm pounded the state and the subsequent flooding devastated communities from Wilmington to Minter’s home in Waterbury. “We received 15 inches of rain, and overnight, 500 miles of road was gone, and it was our job to mobilize quickly and effectively,” Minter said. “It took an all-in approach with thousands of people involved, neighbor helping neighbor, and it’s really been a transformative experience for me, both in the emergency phase in the first few months, but then to have that responsibility to address 3,500 homeowners whose homes were damaged,” she continued. Minter points to her experience as the head of the Agency of Transportation, where she oversaw 1,300 employees and a $600 million budget, as both giving her the tools to make government work and proof she is ready to lead the state. Continue Reading →

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Economists: state revenues to grow less than expected

Economists Tom Kavet, right, and Jeff Carr, left, present a new revenue forecast to the Emergency Board on Thursday, July 21. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Economists for the Shumlin administration and Legislature issued a revised state revenue forecast for the current fiscal year Thursday that projects a total of $28 million less in revenue, but growth over the 2016 fiscal revenues. Tom Kavet and Jeff Carr, consulting economists for the administration and lawmakers, issued their revised revenue forecast Thursday to the state’s Emergency Board, which includes the governor and the four chairs of the Legislature’s money committees. Revenue for the state’s general fund was lowered by $21 million, while revenues for the transportation and education funds were lowered by $3.5 million and $3.4 million, respectively. Still, revenues are expected to grow above the 2016 fiscal year, which closed on June 30, both Kavet and Carr said. “The upturn continues, that’s the good news,” Carr told the Emergency Board. Continue Reading →

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