Bruce Lisman

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After briefings, Scott more comfortable with vetting of refugees

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott says he has become more comfortable with the vetting of Syrian refugees after learning more from state and federal officials about the process. Listen: Vermont Press Bureau Report for VPR News

Scott, who is a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for governor, called for a pause in allowing Syrian refugees to be relocated in Vermont following the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris. Former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman, Scott’s primary opponent in the gubernatorial race, has called for a similar halt to the program. The attacks have sparked a debate across the country, and in Vermont, about whether Syrian refugees pose a national security risk. Continue Reading →

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Syrian refugee issue draws protesters, supporters

Crystal Zevon, of Barnet

MONTPELIER – Security or compassion? Those two positions drew approximately 50 people to the State House on Friday in demonstrations in opposition to and in support of Vermont accepting refugees from Syria. The demonstrations — overwhelmingly in favor of allowing Syrian refugees in Vermont — follow a statement earlier this week from Gov. Peter Shumlin, who said Vermont would welcome refugees from Syria, a position that finds him at odds with many other state governors who have said they did not want refugees from the war-torn failed state following recent attacks in Beirut and Paris that left nearly 200 people dead. In a  subsequent interview with The Vermont Press Bureau, Shumlin said rejecting the refugees would not reflect the values of the nation. “It is not the way that we as Americans and as Vermonters promote a free and just society that is the foundation for the greatest democracy in the world,” Shumlin said. Continue Reading →

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Story and podcast – Shumlin: U.S. and Vermont should welcome refugees

Gov. Peter Shumlin speaks about welcoming Syrian refugees to Vermont on the Capitol Beat podcast. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin says Republican gubernatorial candidates, like their fellow Republicans seeking the presidency, are stoking fear and bigotry by calling for a halt to Syrian refugees relocating in America. Less than a week since the terror attacks in Paris jolted the world and sparked new fears about the threat of global terrorism and the reach of ISIS, conversation across the U.S., including Vermont, has focused on the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country, and the extent of America’s responsibility and moral obligation to help. Listen to Gov. Peter Shumlin discuss Syrian refugees on the Capitol Beat podcast:

Shumlin, in an interview with the Vermont Press Bureau Wednesday, said Syrian refugees, like immigrants from all nations in past years, will make American and Vermont a better place. “I really feel that America was created on the backs of folks who emigrated to this country under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Some were fleeing war, some were fleeing death squads. Continue Reading →

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Commentary: Local control matters


ermont schools struggle to recruit quality teachers, to maintain their facilities, and to keep students in their classrooms. They struggle to provide quality education to our children who need skills for todays’ workforce. They struggle to sell tax increases — which they don’t control — to property owners. And, now they struggle to navigate a confusing and oversold education reform package known as Act 46. Lawmakers who voted for Act 46 now call for “fixes” and “tweaks” to smooth over the most objectionable parts. But, there is no fixing it — Act 46 must be repealed. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin pushes back against candidates’ criticism

Gov. Peter Shumlin (VPB/Neal Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin is likely to serve as the target for both Republican and Democratic candidates looking to replace him, but the governor’s office appears ready to push back on critiques of his management during his three terms in office. Republican Bruce Lisman, who launched his gubernatorial campaign on Monday, launched a blistering critique of Shumlin’s governorship. He faulted Shumlin, who announced in June he would not seek a fourth term, for a state budget that grows 5 percent annually while revenues grow at 3 percent. Lisman, a former Wall Street executive, said he would cap state spending at 2 percent per year, but did not lay out a plan for where he would cut spending. And he said local communities “are powerless to resist large scale wind and solar installations,” while calling for a two-year moratorium on such projects. Continue Reading →

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Scott, Lisman oppose efforts to defund Planned Parenthood

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, reacts after she was called for a rules violation during her filibusters of an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Davis was given a second warning for breaking filibuster rules. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

MONTPELIER — The two Republicans facing off in a 2016 primary for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination say they do not stand with Republicans in Washington seeking to nix federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the state’s only statewide, elected Republican official, said he did not follow Tuesday’s congressional hearing led by House Republicans with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards but is aware of Republican-led efforts to defund the national organization. Scott said Wednesday he supports the health services the group provides to women. “I’m pro-choice. I always have been and I believe that Planned Parenthood provides very important health services that go far beyond abortions for women,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Phil Scott tops in name recognition, favorability

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has the highest name recognition and favorability among Vermont voters so far in the race for governor, according to a new poll from the Castleton Polling Institute. According to the poll results, released Monday morning, Scott, who is in his third term as lieutenant governor, is known by 77 percent of Vermonters. Scott Milne, who is not a candidate for governor at this point but was the GOP nominee in 2014, is known by 73 percent of Vermonters. “Obviously, it’s good news for me, but it also highlights the fact that we have our work cut out for us to reach the 23 percent that have no idea who I am,” Scott said. “I have never taken for granted name recognition in the state, and I think that many do. Continue Reading →

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Minter resigning from VTrans, announces bid for governor

Sue Minter


This story was updated at 10:40 a.m.

MONTPELIER — Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter is resigning from her post in the Shumlin administration and running for governor. Minter’s resignation, which will take effect at the end of the day Friday, was announced by the office of Gov. Peter Shumlin and Minter Thursday morning after Minter informed agency employees. Her resignation is required in order to seek a political office in Vermont state government. “Next month I will formally announce my candidacy for Governor of Vermont. This decision is motivated by what I have seen Vermonters accomplish when we come together. Continue Reading →

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Scott joins race for governor

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott became the fourth candidate to jump into the gubernatorial race Tuesday, telling supporters in an email that he will focus on boosting the state’s economy

“After much reflection, many conversations and much encouragement, I will be a candidate for Governor in 2016,” Scott wrote. “Let me be very clear, I’ve made this decision because I believe too many families and employers are on the economic edge. For them to thrive and our state to prosper we must revitalize the fundamentals of a strong, healthy economy that expands the middle class, lifts wages, and attracts working families, entrepreneurs and new jobs.”

The 57-year-old Scott, a Berlin resident in his third term as lieutenant governor, has been publicly weighing a run for the top job after Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin announced in June that he would not seek a fourth, two-year term. His deliberate approach to determining whether he would run for governor had some questioning his desire. In an interview Tuesday morning, Scott said there is no question about his commitment to running or his desire to serve as governor. Continue Reading →

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