Peter Shumlin, unfiltered…

Peter Shumlin

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At his weekly press conference earlier today, Gov. Peter Shumlin, as per usual, offered thoughts and opinions on a range of questions posed by the press. A rundown for you:

ON HIS RECENT TRIP TO WASHINGTON,D.C., FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE NGA

“I had incredibly productive conversations with fellow governors as well as three lengthy conversations with the president and several conversations with the vice-president. Really the focus was on jobs, education and renewable energy.”

Shumlin said he talked “extensively” with Barack Obama about extending the production tax credit for renewable energy industries. The credits, he said, have resulted in Vermont companies “building windmills in Barre, solar trackers in Burlington. And we need to have … (renewable energy) tax credits in order to grow and prosper and get off our addiction to oil. (Members of the NGA) urged Congress to extend the current renewable tax credits and incentives for four years, giving the industry predictability and allowing manufacturing jobs to continue to prosper.”

ON OBAMA’S TRIP NEXT MONTH TO VERMONT:

“We’re thrilled he’s coming, and he’s excited about coming. I made it clear to him he’s the first president in 17 years to come to Vermont… I have a close relationship with the president. I just think that if you look at the initiatives the president has been pushing so hard on, to grow jobs and economic opportunities, and you look at my agenda, they seem to be closely matched.”

If you compare Shumlin’s State of the State address with Obama’s State of theUnion, he said, “some of the sentences are so in sync they could have been written by the same author.” Of Obama, Shumlin said “we talk by phone whenever I need. We talked frequently during the Irene crisis. He was incredibly helpful to us during that process. He’s an incredibly accessible, actively engaged president who loves anything that helps create jobs.”

ON CHANGES IN STATE POLICE SEARCH AND RESCUE POLICY AFTER THE DEATH OF A RIPTON HIKER

“I’m not going to comment on who made mistakes and who didn’t make mistakes. If someone loses a life and we could have saved it, we have a responsibility to look at all of our policies.”

Asked if his reluctance to comment on culpability was related to possible legal action by the hiker’s family, Shumlin said “I’m not worried about a lawsuit. I’m worried about breaching confidential information about confidential information about the family and responders and that’s not my business.”

ON SHAP SMITH’S DECISION TO BLOCK, AGAIN, THE MARIJAUNA DECRIM BILL:

“I don’t expect legislative leadership to agree with me on everything. I think Shap Smith is the best Speaker in America. I do disagree with him about the decriminalization of marijuana. The fact that we’re tied for second with the state of Maine for having more people addicted to opiates than any other state in the country suggests to me … that we should be using precious law-enforcement resources to go after the real drug problems causing crime.”

ON THE FLAP LAST WEEK OVER ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TEXTING WITH HOUSE MEMBERS DURING A FLOOR DEBATE
“I just want to remind you I spent three years in the House, spent 10 years in the Senate, took a break from the Legislature and then came back and did four more years in the Senate. Or was it six? I don’t know – it was a long time … In my experience I can’t remember reporting a controversial bill where I didn’t have someone from the administration … regardless of party, not far away from me to answer questions through notes … We know it’s been a long-term practice to have pages pass notes from administration officials, and people in the know, when someone is reporting a bill. So the question is do rules allow you to move from notes to technology? It seems logical they might, but that’s a decision Senate and House leadership has to make. But is it appropriate for administration people or other people to give information to reporters of a bill? It’s been done in this building as long as I’ve been here. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.”

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