Story-Video-Podcast: Smith: Experience counts

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MONTPELIER — Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith believes his eight years leading the House sets him apart from his primary rivals in the lieutenant governor’s race and leaves him most prepared to assume the top job if needed. Smith, 50, joined the Democratic primary for the state’s second-highest office in May — months after his two rivals, Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman and Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram. That came after Smith announced his candidacy for governor last August, but withdrew from the race in November after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the late start, Smith said he has been able to utilize his vast network of supporters in the Legislature to help jump-start his campaign. “We stood up a campaign very quickly. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Lisman touts career, new ideas

Bruce Lisman
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MONTPELIER — After a long and lucrative career on Wall Street, Bruce Lisman is looking to transition from high finance to politics in his bid for governor. The 69-year-old Burlington native is facing off in a Republican primary against Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, a popular politician with a nice-guy image. Despite having founded the advocacy group Campaign for Vermont in 2011 and serving as its voice and face, Lisman has faced a substantial disadvantage in name recognition. As a result, he has launched several television ads seeking to link Scott with Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is not seeking a fourth two-year term. For some, the commercials have come across as negative campaigning, but Lisman has maintained that they are contrast ads designed to show how Lisman would take Vermont in a new direction. Continue Reading →

Candidates raise big bucks

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MONTPELIER — Candidates for Vermont’s top statewide offices have reported big fundraising hauls since March, led by Republican Bruce Lisman, a former Wall Street executive, who has contributed more than $1 million to his own campaign for governor. Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott reported Friday that he has raised $350,000 since the last reporting period on March 15. According to his campaign finance disclosure form filed with the secretary of state’s office Friday, Scott has spent about $250,000 in the past four months. Overall, Scott has raised about $860,000 and spent about $467,000. He has $370,000 cash on hand with less than a month to go before the Aug. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Galbraith brings progressive agenda

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MONTPELIER — Peter Galbraith is running for governor with a progressive agenda shaped by his experiences overseas and from the experiences of his parents. The 65-year-old Democrat from Townsend has unveiled an unapologetically progressive platform, calling for, in part, a $15 per hour minimum wage, a ban on corporate campaign contributions and continuing down the path toward a publicly financed, universal health care system. Those ideas, and his quest for social and economic justice, stem from the values he learned from his parents and his experiences as a diplomat in war-torn areas. “From both of my parents come the values that I have and really a sense that we can have a more just society, that public goods like education, the arts, the environment, are things to be valued,” he said. Galbraith’s mother was a fourth generation Vermonter whose life was “shaped by the great events of the 20th century,” Galbraith said. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Ram: Unique insight into Vermonters’ struggles

Kesha Ram
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MONTPELIER — Kesha Ram launched her political career at the urging of someone who went on to become most powerful man on Earth. In 2006, while a sophomore at the University of Vermont, Ram introduced then-U.S Sen. Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at a rally in the Ira Allen Chapel on the college’s campus. “In the middle of his speech — and he has a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas and I have a father from India and a mother from Illinois — Barack turned to Bernie and said, ‘Bernie, if you don’t behave yourself, we’re going to run Kesha for the Senate instead of you,’” Ram recalled. “It was the first time anyone encouraged me to run for office, and I thought, ‘If there a place for a person like him in politics, maybe there’s a place for someone like me.’”

The now-29-year old — she will turn 30 one week before the Aug. 9 primary — is engaged in a three-way race for the Democratic Party nomination for lieutenant governor, facing off against former House Speaker Shap Smith and Sen. David Zuckerman. Continue Reading →

Poll gives Scott, Minter edge in primaries

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MONTPELIER — Sue Minter has a slight edge over gubernatorial primary rival Matt Dunne, according to a new poll commissioned and released Thursday by Energy Independent Vermont. The telephone poll of 600 Vermonters, which focuses on Vermonters’ opinions about climate change and efforts to combat it, also queried Vermonters’ on their choice for governor in both the Democratic and Republican Primaries. On the Democratic side, Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, garnered the support of 36 percent of those who said they planned to vote in the Democratic primary. Dunne, a former state senator and Google executive, tallied 31 percent support. Peter Galbraith, a former diplomat and state senator had 8 percent support. Continue Reading →

Sanders launches final push to derail Senate GMO bill

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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 →

Candidates increase mass media expenditures

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MONTPELIER — Candidates for the state’s top two offices are ramping up spending on mass media as they look to reach voters and spread their message as the Aug. 9 primary approaches. State law requires candidates to report any spending of at least $500 on mass media activity within 45 days of an election. For the Aug. 9 primary, mandated reported began on June 25. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Dunne: Lead through social justice and technology

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Podcast: Listen to Matt Dunne discuss the issues:

MONTPELIER — From the importance of civil rights in his childhood to his tenures in the General Assembly and as the leader of a national public service effort, Matt Dunne is looking to bring his experiences to the highest office in the state. The 46-year-old native of Hartland — where he still lives, in the same farmhouse where he grew up — is one of three Democrats vying for the party’s gubernatorial nomination. With a wealth of experience that would rival someone 20 years his senior, Dunne traces his pursuit of social justice to his parents. “My father was a civil rights activist turned country lawyer who brought his Vermont values to the University of North Carolina and organized students to stand up to segregation and actually served jail time for his nonviolent protesting,” Dunne said. “My mother was the first woman to go through tenure track at Dartmouth College and spent her career fighting for equality at that institution and supporting a generation of teachers.”

His parents’ experiences led to the sort of character-building conversations around the kitchen table that shaped his view of the role of government as it relates to social justice and economic security for all. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Brock sees Vermont’s future in niche industries

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Podcast: Hear Randy Brock discuss the issues

MONTPELIER — Randy Brock believes the future of Vermont is bright if it can attract and nurture new niche business industries that provide revenue and ease the tax burden on residents. Brock, 72, a former Franklin County senator and state auditor, is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. That should be easy — he faces no primary challenger. The real test for Brock will come in November when he faces one of three Democrats seeking their party’s nomination. The longtime Swanton resident has plenty of experience campaigning. Continue Reading →