Recent Posts

Commentary: Welch’s Stance Against Corn Ethanol


hen a Washington-based lobbying outfit started airing television ads in Vermont that attack Rep. Peter Welch because he wants to scale back federal support for corn ethanol, the erstwhile Vermonter in me took offense. It has been a few years since I lived in Vermont, but I was born in Burlington, grew up in Essex Junction, and graduated from Essex High. I now live near Boston, but I’ll probably always consider myself a Vermonter and I think I still have a working sense of what Vermonters value. Related:

Welch responds to attack ad

Vermonters value follow-through, which partly explains Rep. Welch’s skepticism about the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal law that effectively requires Americans to put billions of gallons of biofuel into our cars each year. The policy is sustained mainly by Iowa’s peculiar role in presidential politics and by the corn ethanol lobby, which has a history of big claims and poor follow-through. Continue Reading →

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Grant will help study paid family leave

Cary Brown

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Commission on Women has received a $174,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to study the implementation of paid family and medical leave in Vermont. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau announced a total of $1.55 million in grants to research and analyze how paid leave programs can be developed and implemented across the country. The Vermont Commission on Women, an independent non-partisan state commission dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women in Vermont, will utilize the grant to explore how paid family and medical leave can work in Vermont, according to Executive Director Cary Brown. “It’s really a collection of smaller projects that are part of an overall feasibility study,” she said. “We will be issuing a number of contracts with various individuals and organizations in order to conduct different parts of this.”

Brown said the commission is looking to explore potential administrative structures for providing paid leave in Vermont, as well both public and private funding options. Continue Reading →

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Trailing Bernie: Talking Sanders, socialism


It’s no secret by now that Bernie Sanders considers himself a democratic socialist. It’s also no real secret that he’s hoping to spark a national, political movement to change the direction of the country. There are (so far) 16 Republicans and four other Democrats hoping to spearhead a similar movement — all candidates for president of the United States of America. Those two separate things are related because of our electoral system. Candidates, more often than not, are ascribed a political party, and certainly a political persuasion. Continue Reading →

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Trailing Bernie: Sanders unbowed after hitting rough patch out west

Sandy Macys/Times Argus
Bernie Sanders speaks at Montpelier High School prior to Ralph Nader spealing.

The early weeks and months on the campaign trail for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were relatively easy — thousands of adoring fans chanting his name and cramming into tight spaces to hear him speak. They opened their wallets, too, to fund his White House bid. But the trail is long and winding, and Sanders has seen how even a division among progressives, who have flocked to him in droves, can cause headaches for a campaign on the rise. Rough reception
Sanders appeared at the Netroots Nation in Phoenix this past weekend. What was supposed to be a pep rally of sorts for Sanders in front of a hyper-progressive crowd turned sour. Continue Reading →

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Barnes to lead Sanders’ New Hampshire efforts

MONTPELIER — Departing Vermont Democratic Party Executive Director Julia Barnes has landed on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign team next door in New Hampshire. Sanders campaign announced Barnes’ new position Thursday morning in a news release. She will serve as the campaign’s New Hampshire state director. Barnes has lead the Vermont Democratic Party since 2012. Barnes previously worked as a regional field coordinator for Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign during the 2008 Democratic primary. Continue Reading →

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Scott says state contracts with his company are no conflict

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott says his construction business, and the millions of dollars in state contracts it has received since he has been involved in state government, is a major factor in whether or not he will run for the state’s top job. Scott, 56, is co-owner of DuBois Construction, a Middlesex-based excavating and construction company, along with Don DuBois. Scott served five terms in the Vermont Senate, beginning in 2001, before being elected lieutenant governor in 2010. He served as vice-chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and chairman of the Senate Institutions Committee during his tenure as a legislator. Both committees oversaw budgets that included contracts that Scott’s company received. Continue Reading →

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Dunne sets frenetic fundraising pace for gov hopefuls

MONTPELIER — Democrat Matt Dunne posted an impressive fundraising haul Wednesday of more than $100,000 as he considers a bid for governor. Dunne, a 45-year-old former state senator from Windsor County, now works as the head of community affairs for Google. He has launched previous, unsuccessful campaigns for both lieutenant governor and governor. Dunne was part of the five-way Democratic primary for governor in 2010, from which Gov. Peter Shumlin emerged victorious. Another primary is likely in 2016, as House Speaker Shap Smith and Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter ponder their own bids. Continue Reading →

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Welch, Minter seek long-term transportation funds

EAST MONTPELIER — U.S. Rep. Peter Welch and Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter are urging Congress to pass a long-term transportation spending plan before federal spending authorization expires on July 31, which would put dozens of Vermont projects at risk. Welch and Minter held a news conference Tuesday at a Route 14 bridge in East Montpelier that intersects with Route 2. The bridge has been deemed structurally deficient and has visible signs of degradation, including at least one hole in the deck offering a view of the water below. “We in Vermont have bridges that are crumbling,” Welch said. “This bridge next to us is falling apart, and I hate to say that because I don’t want to scare the driving public, but the driving public knows how bad our roads and bridges are.”

In the recent past Congress has passed short-term spending resolutions to keep transportation and infrastructure projects around the country funded. Continue Reading →

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Sanders raises $15 million

MONTPELIER — Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign announced Thursday that he has raised $15 million for his White House bid since April 30 — an impressive number but far behind presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. According to Sanders’ campaign, the $15 million in donations came from more than 400,000 contributions from about 250,000 individuals. The average donation has been $33.51, and 99 percent of the donations have been $250 or less. The fundraising haul is significantly more than most pundits expected, and ahead of the pace President Barack Obama set when he defeated Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary. The self-described democratic socialist has been drawing enormous crowds on the campaign trail, including about 10,000 people in Madison, Wisc., Wednesday night. Continue Reading →

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