Phil Scott

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Senate votes to suspend McAllister

Sen. Norm McAllister, R-Franklin, pleads his case to his Senate colleagues before the body voted to suspend him on Wednesday. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Senate voted 20 to 10 Wednesday afternoon in an unprecedented vote to suspend Sen. Norm McAllister until criminal charges pending against him for sexual assault are resolved. “Nobody knows more than me the seriousness of these charges, these allegations. I’ve got people who want to put me in prison for the rest of my life. I’m very much aware what is at stake,” McAllister told his colleagues on the Senate floor before they voted to oust him. The historic vote came after more than an hour of discussion on the Senate floor, mostly by Senate Majority Leader Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, and Republican Rutland County Sen. Peg Flory, a close friend and ally of McAllister. 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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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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Watch: Vermont PBS’ Vermont This Week

Vermont Press Bureau chief Neal Goswami joins the panel on Vermont PBS’ Vermont This Week. HEADLINES:
Syrian Resettlement Opens Vermont Divide
Smith Ends Campaign for GovernorSanders Defines Democratic Socialism
Marijuana Legalization Bill Taking Shape
Lawmakers Consider Revising Act 46
Swanton Voters Reject Turbines
PANEL:
Stewart Ledbetter, Moderator
Paul Heintz, Seven Days
Neal Goswami, Vermont Press Bureau
Robin Smith, Caledonian Record 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)
Play

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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Snelling bows out of race for lieutenant governor

Mark Snelling

MONTPELIER — Republican Mark Snelling bowed out of the lieutenant governor’s race Monday after expressing his disappointment last week that fellow Republican Randy Brock had announced his own candidacy. Snelling, the son of former GOP Gov. Richard Snelling and Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling, ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 but lost a primary race to Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. He announced his decision to pass on a 2016 bid in an email to fellow Republicans Monday. “Last week, Randy Brock announced that he was going to be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor. Since that time, I have looked again at a possible candidacy and come to the conclusion that I will not run for Lt. Governor in 2016,” he wrote in his email. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin administration set to deploy new exchange function

VTHealthConnect

MONTPELIER — State officials maintained cautious optimism throughout the summer that an automated enrollment process will be added to Vermont Health Connect by Thursday’s self-imposed deadline and are preparing to deploy it this weekend. Lawrence Miller, Gov. Peter Shumlin’s chief of health care reform, said officials expect the online health insurance marketplace to be taken offline Thursday night to allow the function to be deployed. The site is expected to remain offline through the weekend. Miller said the function has been in vigorous testing over the last several weeks and is on track to be deployed. The state’s contractor, Optum, has been testing code to ensure that it works for users when open enrollment begins on Nov. 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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