Phil Scott

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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

poll-results4

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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Republicans call for assessment of Vermont Heath Connect

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott calls for an independent assessment of Vermont Health Connect last month. (VPB/Josh O'Gorman)

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s top republicans are calling for an independent assessment of Vermont Health Connect to determine if it’s worth keeping. On Friday, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning and House Minority Leader Don Turner called for the Green Mountain Care Board to conduct an assessment of the state’s beleaguered health care exchange. “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” said Scott, whose remarks follow testimony offered earlier this week to the House Health Care Committee from Garton Consulting, which recommended an independent assessment. Sen. Benning, R-Caledonia, reviewed a two-year time line of blown deadlines, cost overruns and lack of functionality for Vermont Health Connect. “Vermonters have suffered a long history of broken promises and missed deadlines on this frustrating path to affordable and dependable health care,” Benning said. Continue Reading →

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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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