Doug Racine

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Minter touts big names on her side: Kunin, Irene

WATERBURY — Sue Minter is banking on her leadership after Tropical Storm Irene to motivate voters to make her the next leader of Vermont. The former transportation secretary and Irene recovery officer for the state kicked off her campaign for governor before a cheering hometown crowd of about 150 people Tuesday afternoon. She and her fellow speakers touted her hard work and results after the flooding that devastated the state in 2011. In some ways, Waterbury — which Minter represented in the Vermont House from 2004 until 2010 — was the poster child for the flooding that followed Irene, which damaged state office buildings and destroyed downtown businesses. “Then, I experienced the unbreakable spirit of this community, as neighbors and volunteers from near and far pulled together and made sure no one was left behind,” Minter said Tuesday. Continue Reading →

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Potential candidates for governor abound

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin’s surprise announcement Monday that he will not seek re-election throws the 2016 gubernatorial election wide open — and several candidates on both sides of the aisle say they are interested. A potential surprise candidate emerged Monday when former Shumlin Chief of Staff Bill Lofy told the National Journal that Democratic Congressman Peter Welch “would be the prohibitive favorite” if he were to jump into the race. Welch has served as Vermont’s lone representative in the House since 2006, and has handily won re-election every two years. Welch Chief of Staff Bob Rogan said Monday that Welch will consider his options and has not ruled out a run for governor. “It’s likely Congressman Welch will seek re-election to Congress but this news comes as a surprise so he will be taking the time he needs to thoughtfully consider how he can best serve Vermonters,” Rogan said. Continue Reading →

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Racine out at AHS

MONTPELIER – Agency of Human Services Secretary Doug Racine is being replaced, the Shumlin administration announced Tuesday, as challenges within the agency mount. According to Shumlin administration officials, current Health Commissioner Harry Chen will replace Racine on an interim basis while a permanent replacement is sought. “I appreciate Doug’s hard work over three and a half years to help Vermont’s most vulnerable,” Shumlin said in a release. Shumlin touted the agency’s move to a data-driven, results-based planning strategy and a revamped mental health system under Racine’s tenure. But the agency has faced significant challenges, too. Continue Reading →

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Deadline for AHS reorganization extended

MONTPELIER — Governor Peter Shumlin’s own Pathways from Poverty Council is asking him to allow for public participation before the Agency of Human Services issues its recommendations on how to address systems, policies and procedures within the agency. As a result, Shumlin’s office says it is planning to extend an Aug. 1 deadline for AHS Secretary Doug Racine to submit a plan to the governor’s office to reorganize the agency. That deadline will now be Oct. 1. Continue Reading →

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Progs slam Shumlin over plan to fund childcare by cutting benefits to poor

A group of Progressive lawmakers this afternoon took an aggressive stance against Peter Shumlin’s first high-profile proposal of 2013, saying his “half-baked” plan to fund new childcare subsidies would “pit working families against one another.”

Shumlin won plaudits last week for proposing that Vermont spend an additional $17 million on childcare subsidies for low-income parents. But his plan to fund it – reducing an “earned income tax credit” that now delivers refund checks to more than 40,000 low-income tax filers – has drawn a scathing rebuke. At a press conference in the Cedar Creek room, Rep. Chris Pearson, a Burlington Progressive, said it can’t be considered a “serious proposal.”

“I have yet to hear from any Democrat who supports this idea. Republicans have articulated their concerns, and Progressives are solidly opposed to this funding scheme,” Pearson said. Pearson said Vermont needs to move ahead with the additional childcare subsidies, but that “there is no reason to cut the most effective anti-poverty program in Vermont” to do it. Continue Reading →

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