Bruce Lisman

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Dunne discloses raising $717,855 in voluntary filing

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne discusses his campaign contributions at a news conference Wednesday. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne has raised $717,855 for his campaign, including $150,387 since March 15, according to a voluntary financial disclosure he filed with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday. Dunne, a former Windsor County state senator, called on all candidates to voluntarily release information about campaign contributions and expenditures on June 15. But the four other main candidates — Democrats Sue Minter and Peter Galbraith and Republicans Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman — all declined to do so. State law requires candidates to next file that information on July 15, the only required filing before the Aug. 9 primary date. Continue Reading →

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Story & Video: Gubernatorial candidates pounce on alleged EB-5 fraud, call for transparency and release of documents

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith calls for an independent commission to investigate the state's role in EB-5 projects that are the subject of civil fraud litigation. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

https://youtu.be/1W3BtbhRw4c

MONTPELIER — Candidates seeking to succeed Gov. Peter Shumlin are calling for transparency and one is seeking an independent commission to review the state’s involvement as a federal and state fraud case against two Northeast Kingdom developers proceeds. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith, a former Windham County state senator, held a State House news conference Monday to call for an independent commission appointed by the chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court to investigate the state’s role in the fraud case against Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros. The two men are facing civil litigation filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission and the state for allegedly misusing $200 million in investor funds they raised through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Quiros is accused of using $50 million of investor funds for his own personal gain. Galbraith said the two men have contributed significant amounts of money to Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Democratic Party and it should be determined if those contributions resulted in any favorable treatment for the EB-5 projects led by Quiros and Stenger at the Jay Peak and Q Burke Mountain resorts, and other projects in Newport. Continue Reading →

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Gubernatorial candidates raise big money

MONTPELIER — All four declared candidates for governor posted big fundraising hauls Tuesday, the first reporting deadline since last July, in what is likely to be the most expensive gubernatorial race in state history. On the Democratic side, Dunne, a former senator from Windsor County, reported raising $452,436 and spending $134,668 during the eight-month reporting period. That brings his total contributions for the campaign to $567,469, and his total spending to $136,314. Dunne now has more than $430,000 in cash-on-hand — the most of any gubernatorial candidate — for the remainder of the primary season and into the general election if he wins the nomination. Sue Minter, the former secretary of the Agency of Transportation Secretary and Dunne’s primary opponent, reported raising $487,557 and spending $159,044, leaving her with about $328,500 cash on hand. Continue Reading →

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Scott promises to ditch Vermont Health Connect as governor

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott reiterated his call to abandon Vermont Health Connect in a web video released Thursday by his gubernatorial campaign. Scott is facing off in a primary with former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman, who is also calling for shutting down the state’s online health insurance marketplace. In an email sent to supporters Thursday morning, Scott’s campaign said he has been calling for “real” solutions for “more than two years” to fix the exchange, which has faced technological shortcomings since it launched in October 2013. “Elect Phil Scott and Vermont will transition to a better, less costly model that provides Vermonters more affordable health insurance choices,” the campaign wrote in the email. Vermont Health Connect launched without some major functions that were expected, including the ability for consumers to make changes to personal information online, such as their address or marital status. Continue Reading →

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VPR Poll: Phil Scott is in the driver’s seat

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MONTPELIER — A new Castleton Polling Institute poll commissioned by Vermont Public Radio has provided disheartening numbers for the two Democratic candidates in the gubernatorial race, while Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is soaring. The Vermont primary to select major party gubernatorial candidates will not be held until Aug. 9, but the poll results released Monday show that the two declared Democratic candidates — former Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter and Matt Dunne, a former Windsor county state senator — are at a significant disadvantage in the early going in their quest to succeed Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. Among the 895 Vermonters polled, Minter was selected by just 11 percent as their preferred Democratic candidate. Dunne, meanwhile, was the choice of 19 percent. Continue Reading →

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Story & Video: Lawmakers divided over budget address

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo
House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, gives his response to Gov. Peter Shumlin's final budget address on Thursday in Montpelier.

MONTPELIER — Depending upon whom you ask, the proposals offered by Gov. Peter Shumlin during his final budget address are either steps to improve Medicaid and educational opportunities for children, or yet-another call for new taxes. Shumlin offered a number of ideas as he rolled out his final budget, such as new taxes for doctors and dentists to make up for the Medicaid funding shortfall, and and increased fees for mutual funds to offer savings accounts for every child born in Vermont. Sen. Majority leader Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, compared the speech to a host offering prizes on a game show. “I don’t think it should be anybody’s prerogative to stand at the podium like Bob Barker on ‘The Price is Right,’” said Benning, who took issue with the governor’s statement that last year’s rejection of an increase in the payroll tax resulted in federal matching funds being left on the table in Washington. “We have a wicked opiate problem in this state, and this legislature has a wicked addiction of its own, and that’s its enslavement to federal funding,” Benning said. Continue Reading →

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Lisman releases financial data, worth $50.9 million

Bruce Lisman

This story was updated at 1:40 p.m. to include comments from Bruce Lisman

MONTPELIER — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman released financial information Monday showing his net worth to be $50.9 million with an income of $1.67 million in 2014. Lisman, who is squaring off against Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in a Republican primary for the state’s top elected office, is the first of the four major-party candidates to release personal financial information. The retired Wall Street executive spent four decades in the financial services industry and retired as a senior manager at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. There he oversaw operations in stock brokerage, according to his campaign. Lisman had total income of $1,675,299 in 2014, primarily from dividends, interest and investment gains, according to tax documents released Monday. Continue Reading →

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Gov candidates talk business

MONTPELIER — The four candidates for governor made their cases Wednesday that each of them would be the best person to support the manufacturing industry in Vermont. Republican candidates Bruce Lisman and Phil Scott — and Democrats Matt Dunne and Sue Minter — addressed taxes, education and refugees during the 95th annual meeting of the Associated Industries of Vermont, which represents the manufacturing industry in the state. Lisman, who is running on his extensive business experience — having managed more than 2,300 employees in the financial, insurance and electric utility sectors — discussed the issues he sees holding back manufacturing and, ultimately, the state economy. “I think we all see the same problems: a stagnant economy, declining school enrollment, rising property taxes, ballooning state budgets and a shrinking manufacturing base, among other challenges,” Lisman said. “This all fundamentally stems from Vermont’s lack of economic competitiveness.”

Lisman offered a number of proposals, such as streamlining the permit process for construction and and examining all legislation to determine the impact it would have on businesses and the cost of living for workers. Continue Reading →

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Gubernatorial candidates divided on expanding background checks for gun sales

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ubernatorial candidates are divided over the need to strengthen the state’s gun control laws. Sue Minter, one of two Democratic candidates for governor, has come out strongly in favor of requiring universal background checks for all firearm sales in Vermont, regardless of the nature of the transaction. “I am committed to requiring universal background checks for gun sales – including those that occur at gun shows, flea markets, and private sales,” Minter wrote in a statement to her supporters one day after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., claimed the lives of 14 people. “Background checks are currently required for all gun sales at Vermont’s federally registered firearms dealers,” Minter’s statement continued. “The same standard should apply to all gun sales.”

In a subsequent interview, Minter rejected the argument that the state’s gun laws do not need to be changed because Vermont is already among the safest places to live in the United States. Continue Reading →

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Story + Video: Scott launches bid for governor

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott stands with his family after formally launching his campaign for governor in South Burlington on Dec. 1. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

https://youtu.be/Fmrc0PbqPzc

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Highlighting his blue collar upbringing, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott formally launched his campaign for governor Tuesday with a promise to rebuild the state’s economic foundation. Several hundred supporters joined Scott, 57, at the Sheraton Hotel Tuesday evening for his long-awaited campaign kickoff. Known for his nice-guy image and message of creating a more affordable Vermont, Scott delivered many familiar themes. He promised to “set a steady, more predictable and less political course.” He said some Vermonters feel “trapped” and “even victimized” by an economy that has left them behind. “We have to be willing to do things differently if we want different results,” Scott declared. Continue Reading →

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