State Government

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Scott announces two cabinet posts, staff positions

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MONTPELIER — Gov.-elect Phil Scott announced two major appointments to his cabinet Tuesday, naming current Deputy Attorney General Susanne Young as his secretary of the Agency of Administration and Green Mountain Care Board Chairman Al Gobeille as secretary of the Agency of Human Services. Scott, a Republican who defeated Democrat Sue Minter last month to become the state’s 82nd governor, announced the two cabinet-level appointments along with a trio of staff who will work in the governor’s office when Scott is sworn in early next month in a news release Tuesday afternoon. “Susanne and Al are both accomplished and highly respected leaders who share my focus on making Vermont’s economy stronger and our state more affordable for businesses and families,” Scott said in a statement. “Together, they will be a strong and dynamic team, working together to modernize state government, put our state budget on a more sustainable path and move our healthcare priorities forward.”

Young, 60, will become, will become one of the most influential people in state government. The Agency of Administration oversees most aspects of state government, including development of the state budget. Continue Reading →

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With concession, Doyle’s storied Senate career to end

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MONTPELIER — Longtime Washington County Sen. Bill Doyle withdrew his request for a recount on Wednesday, effectively ending his 48-year tenure in the Vermont State House. Doyle, a Republican who sought re-election earlier this month, finished behind Democrat Francis Brooks and the two other incumbent senators from Washington County. Brooks edged him out by just 191 votes. Doyle, 90, initially moved for a recount following the election, but on Wednesday he opted to forego that effort and concede defeat after consulting “advisors” who told him a recount was unlikely to close the gap. “In order to prevail in a recount, I would need 96 votes to change,” Doyle said in his statement. Continue Reading →

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Judiciary, VSEA reach agreement

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MONTPELIER — The Vermont Judiciary and the Vermont State Employees Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract after nearly a year of tense negotiations. The two sides announced the deal Wednesday, which still requires ratification by the VSEA’s judiciary bargaining unit. The two sides agreed not to release details on the proposed agreement until the 170-member bargaining unit backs it. The agreement, reached after about 11 months of negotiations, comes on the heels of a fact-finder’s report and even an attempt at mediation by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The Maine-based fact-finder, Michael Ryan, recommended that docket clerks and court officers receive an immediate wage review by a third party. Continue Reading →

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Podcast: Scott discusses deliberative transition process

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott speaks to reporters the day after winning Vermont's gubernatorial race. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)
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Listen to the podcast below:

MONTPELIER — With just over a month to go before he takes office, Gov.-elect Phil Scott has yet to name any top cabinet positions, but promises his deliberative selection process will result in a full cabinet by early January. Since winning the governor’s office on Nov. 8, Scott, a Republican, has appointed four people to serve on his staff. But top-level cabinet positions remain unfilled. Six years ago, outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin named several such appointees within a couple of weeks of his election. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin: Obamacare critical for Vermonters

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin speaks about the progress of Vermont Health Connect, the state's online health insurance marketplace, and the importance of the federal Affordable Care Act to Vermont. (VPB/Neal P. Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin is defending Obamacare and the state’s health care exchange as President-elect Donald Trump signals his intention to decimate them, a move the governor says will be an “extraordinary disaster for Vermonters.”

Shumlin, who is nearing the final month of his governorship, used a Montpelier news conference Tuesday to defend the federal and state health care reform efforts during his six years in office. He said Vermont Health Connect, the state’s online health insurance marketplace created under the federal Affordable Care Act, is finally working as anticipated when it launched in Oct. 2013. “I personally believe that Vermont now has among the best functioning state exchanges in America and probably the best functioning state exchanges in America,” the governor said. The open enrollment process, which has struggled in past years as technology faltered, is “proceeding smoothly,” Shumlin argued. Continue Reading →

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Transition: A look at the Scott team

MONTPELIER — Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott’s transition team is in full swing, working on a proposed state budget and developing policy proposals for his first term that will begin in early January. As of Tuesday afternoon, Scott’s transition team included 11 full-time staff and three part-time committee chairs overseeing various parts of the transition. Tim Hayward, who previously served as chief of staff to former Republican. Gov. Jim Douglas, is serving as the director of the transition team. According to Jason Gibbs, a former aide to Douglas also serving on the transition team, several people are involved in policy development, including Republican Franklin County Sen. Dustin Degree. Continue Reading →

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Lunge heading to Green Mountain Care Board

Robin Lunge

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin has appointed Robin Lunge, one of the top health care reform advisors in his administration, to the Green Mountain Care Board. Lunge, Shumlin’s director of health care reform since 2011, will replace Dr. Allan Ramsay, whose term expired in late September, on the five-member board. Lunge will begin serving her six-year term on Nov. 28. The board has regulatory authority over hospitals and insurance companies and is responsible for controlling the growth rate of health care spending. Continue Reading →

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Ashe locks down pro tem support

Sen. Tim Ashe

MONTPELIER — Chittenden County Sen. Tim Ashe is poised to become the next president pro tem of the Senate after the Democratic caucus unanimously nominated him for the post Monday. Ashe, 39, who serves as both a Progressive and Democratic in the Senate, will replace Democratic Windsor County Sen. John Campbell in the critical leadership post. Campbell, who now works as the executive director of the Department of State’s Attorneys & Sheriffs, did not seek re-election. “I’m, obviously, totally humbled to get the caucus support for the position. Many people outside the building don’t understand the role of the pro tem is really to be the shepherd of the entire Senate,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Scott vs. Minter: How the race played out

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott celebrates his victory on Tuesday, Nov. 8. (Times Argus/Stefan Hard)

MONTPELIER — After months of campaigning, millions of dollars spent and countless hours of plotting and strategizing from both campaigns, in the end, the gubernatorial race in Vermont was not a close contest. Republican Phil Scott, the state’s current lieutenant governor, and now governor-elect, beat Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter by a very comfortable margin — 52 percent to 43.5 percent. Public polls commissioned by Vermont Public Radio and WCAX released in mid-October showed a closer race, with Scott leading by 1 percent and 7 percent, respectively. There was plenty of speculation in the days before Election Day that the winner may only receive a plurality, and once again, the race would be tossed to the Legislature to finish. But it was not close. Continue Reading →

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Video: Shumlin, Scott meet to begin transition

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott met with outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin Thursday afternoon for their first face-to-face meeting since Scott’s victory on Tuesday. The two were planning to begin discussing how to ensure a smooth transition from Shumlin’s administration to Scott’s incoming team. Watch the video below:
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