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Planned Parenthood hits Scott again


MONTPELIER — The political wing of Planned Parenthood is doubling down on its attack on Republican gubernatorial nominee Phil Scott, despite protestations from the Vermont Republican Party about the group’s message. The Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund Independent Expenditure PAC released its second television ad against Scott, the current lieutenant governor, on Monday. The 30-second spot “continues to draw the contrast on issues of choice,” according to the group’s campaign manager, Nick Charyk, between Scott and Democratic nominee Sue Minter, whom the group has endorsed. The first ad, released last week, prompted the Vermont Republican Party to file a complaint with Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell. The GOP argued the ad included false information about Scott and violated state law preventing coordination between independent expenditure groups and candidates. Continue Reading →

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VPR poll shows tied gubernatorial race

(VPR graphic)

MONTPELIER — Republican Phil Scott and Democrat Sue Minter are locked in a tie race for governor with three weeks to go and 14 percent of voters undecided, according to a Vermont Public Radio poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute released Wednesday. According to the poll results, Scott, the incumbent lieutenant governor, has a 1 percentage point lead over Sue Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation — 39 percent to 38 percent. Liberty Union candidate Bill Lee, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, received 2 percent support. But 14 percent of the likely voters polled said they have yet to make up their mind. The poll of 650 likely voters has a 3.8 percent margin of error and includes live interviews from a mix of cell and land line phones. Continue Reading →

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Douglas vouches for Scott in new RGA ad

Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas

MONTPELIER — Former Republican Gov. Jim Douglas is vouching for Republican gubernatorial nominee Phil Scott in a new ad released Wednesday by the Republican Governors Association. The 30-second ad features Douglas discussing his “good friend” Scott, the state’s incumbent lieutenant governor. “Ever since he came to the State Senate, Phil has been able to reach across the aisle,” the former governor says in the ad. “He’s not one of these ivory tower politicians who doesn’t relate well to the people he serves.”

Douglas, who served four terms as Vermont’s top officeholder, has been absent from the campaign trail. But in the RGA’s ad, which it is funding through its Vermont-based PAC, A Stronger Vermont, he labels Scott “somebody the people can trust.”

“Phil is the epitome of a small business owner in Vermont – someone who has seen the economy rise and fall, but has been able to persevere,” he says. Continue Reading →

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State, feds reach deal on all-payer model

Green Mountain Care Board Chairman Al Gobeille, second from left, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, second from right, discuss the terms of an agreement with the federal government to transform the way the state pays for health care. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Vermont has reached a deal with the federal government to move forward with a plan to overhaul the way health care is paid for in Vermont by basing payments to providers on the quality of health outcomes rather than the volume of services they provide, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Wednesday. Shumlin, a Democrat whose tenure in office will end in January after three terms, has been seeking the transformational shift in the state’s health care payment system for more than two years. Negotiations with the federal government have resulted in a draft agreement that will now be presented to the public for review before the state and federal government sign off on it. “We have now a draft agreement from the federal government that will allow us to take on a challenge that I believe effects the pocketbooks of every single Vermonter,” Shumlin told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. “This is probably the single thing that hurts Vermonters the most economically. Continue Reading →

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Gubernatorial candidates take on women’s issues

Candidates for governor share a moment of levity during a forum — co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Vermont, the Vermont Commission on Women and Vermont Federation of Business and Professional Women — at the State House in Montpelier on Thursday. From left are Liberty Union candidate Bill Lee, Democratic candidate Sue Minter and Republican candidate Phil Scott. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

MONTPELIER — All three candidates for governor shared a table for the first time Thursday at a State House forum sponsored by the Vermont Commission on Women focused on issues important to women. It was the first time in the general election campaign that Democrat Sue Minter, Republican Phil Scott and Liberty Union candidate Bill Lee all appeared together. Scott has made it a condition that Lee be invited to all forums and debates, and he skipped the traditional debate on WDEV last week because Lee was not invited. Scott’s presence was noted by Minter. “I’m glad I don’t have to again debate an empty chair. Continue Reading →

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Story + Podcast: Shumlin narrows focus in final months

Gov. Peter Shumlin

Listen: Capital Beat Podcast with Gov. Peter Shumlin

MONTPELIER — With just three months left in office, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin says he plans to push hard to complete a handful of projects before his successor is sworn into office in early January — including an overhaul of how the state pays for health care services. Shumlin, who is not seeking re-election after his third term expires, reflected in an interview about his time in office and pledged to continue his work until his final day as governor. “This is the best job that anyone can ask for, being governor of Vermont. It’s been an extraordinary privilege. One thing that governors do every day is focus on what they were elected to do, which is to grow prosperity, grow jobs, make sure our state remains the best place to live and work and raise a family. 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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Scott releases health care plan, seeks to close exchange

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott speaks about his health care plan at a news conference in Burlington. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

BURLINGTON — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Republican nominee for governor, released a health care plan Wednesday that seeks to scuttle the state’s online health insurance exchange and undo other initiatives put in place by outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. Speaking at a news conference on Burlington’s Church Street, Scott linked his health care proposals to the major theme of his campaign — making the state more affordable. “For a lot of people who live here or who are thinking about living here, I think the affordability crisis will be the defining issue during this election,” he said. “One of the many reasons Vermont is unaffordable for so many Vermonters is because of the cost of health care.”

Scott reiterated his call Wednesday to scrap Vermont Health Connect in his first major policy proposal of the gubernatorial campaign. He has been calling on the state to abandon its own exchange for several years in favor of joining either the federal exchange or a multi-state exchange that does not yet exist. Continue Reading →

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