Cassandra Gekas

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Two years late: Is Vermont Health Connect Finally Ready?


MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin had not even decided to run for the state’s top office when the federal Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010, but the landmark legislation would soon begin to shape his governorship in ways he could not have imagined. Shumlin, who was sworn into office in January 2011, began his tenure as the state’s chief executive with a trademark swagger. Now as he approaches the end, having announced in June that he will not seek a fourth term, he is hoping to leave in place a working exchange that he has championed, but which has struggled for two years and one month to meet Vermonters’ expectations. The governor held a news conference Thursday to announce that the site should finally work today, Nov. 1, as the open enrollment period for 2016 health care plans begins. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin claims exchange victory

WINOOSKI — Gov. Peter Shumlin and his health care reform team said Monday they have met a key deadline in implementing a core function to Vermont Health Connect and plan to continue improving the online health insurance marketplace through the fall. “Having Vermont Health Connect work as it was designed to is the best possible outcome for Vermont. There’s no question that the biggest challenge that we’ve faced since we launched is change-of-circumstance,” Shumlin said at a news conference Monday. “We set a deadline of today … and I’m pleased to announce that this team behind me and some who aren’t here have delivered.”

Shumlin said the upgrade of the site to include change-of-circumstance, the ability for customers to have their personal information changed online, meets the first of two self-imposed deadlines he laid out in March as he faced mounting pressure about the exchange’s performance. The upgrade, which is still being phased in by the administration, will allow customer service representatives to make changes to consumers’ accounts in an automated way. Continue Reading →

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Scott retains the key Republican stronghold seat

Shortly after 11 p.m., Lt. Gov. Phil Scott said he accepted Gekas’ concession in the race. “We were a well-oiled machine,” he said, calling his campaign creative, positive and issues-driven. He said although he was successful and other Republican candidates weren’t, they should hold their heads high as they left the building. Continue Reading →

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Pro-single-payer group sprouts a PAC, begins pushing statewide and local candidates

The well-funded pro-single-payer group called “Vermont Leads” has launched its own political action committee. Funded entirely by an out-of-state union, Vermont Leads earlier this summer aired a six-figure ad blitz urging voters to support single-payer. More recently, the group won headlines for picketing outside the Burlington home of Lenore Broughton, who has poured at least $680,000 of her own money into getting Republicans elected next Tuesday. With Nov. 6 fast approaching, Vermont Leads has turned its focus from issue advocacy to electioneering, launching a PAC that is separate from the tax-exempt nonprofit that aired the TV ads. Continue Reading →

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The Candidates Speak: Lt. Governor’s Race






We posed 5 questions to the candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Cassandra Gekas and Republican Phil Scott. Their answers, provided by email, are below. Q: It’s April of 2014, and the sitting governor passes away before he was to sign into law a controversial bill with which you disagree vehemently. After being sworn in to serve out the remainder of the term, would you sign the bill? Or use your executive power to prevent it from becoming law? Continue Reading →

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VSEA announces unique mix of endorsements

The Vermont Employees’ Association announced Tuesday the following endorsements, which included Democratic candidate Cassandra Gekas for lieutenant governor, Republican candidate Vince Illuzzi for auditor, and Progressive Party candidate Ed Stanak for attorney general. Other nominations included Democratic candidates Gov. Peter Shumlin, Secretary of State Jim Condos and state Treasurer Beth Pearce. Pearce was appointed to the position but has significantly outraised her opponent, Wendy Wilton, the Rutland City treasurer. VSEA President John Reese said in a news release members of the nonprofit labor union, which according to its website represents more than 8,000 state workers, will focus efforts on the governor’s race as well as the treasurer and attorney general races. “Treasurer Beth Pearce has been a great friend to VSEA members, especially in her articulate and educated defense of state employees’ defined benefit pension plans,” said Reese. Continue Reading →

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