Randy Brock

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Kesha Ram launches bid for lieutenant governor

MONTPELIER — Burlington Democratic Rep. Kesha Ram says she is running for lieutenant governor, creating a Democratic Party primary for the state’s number two office. Ram, 29, joins 28-year-old Brandon Riker in the race, creating a youthful primary. The two are looking to replace Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott who is vacating the position and running for governor in 2016 election. Ram has significantly more political experience in Vermont than Riker. She is in her fourth term representing the Chittenden 6-4 district in Burlington after winning her first term at the age of 22. Continue Reading →

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Snelling bows out of race for lieutenant governor

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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Brock announces bid for lieutenant governor

MONTPELIER — Republican Randy Brock, a former auditor and state senator, said Thursday he is running for lieutenant governor. Brock, the GOP’s 2012 nominee for governor, announced his bid in a statement Thursday afternoon. He had also been considering a run for a Franklin County Senate seat but said the position of lieutenant governor fits his skills. “The lieutenant governor’s job offers the flexibility and the platform to become a catalyst for critical thinking and innovative ideas about how to achieve Vermont’s long-term promise,” he said. “I want to raise issues, generate ideas and get people in business, government and individuals talking with each other – across party and ideological lines.”

The Swanton resident was elected state auditor in 2004 and served one term before he lost his re-election bid to Thomas Salmon following a recount. Continue Reading →

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Brock, Snelling plan meeting to discuss plans for lieutenant governor

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.

MONTPELIER — Republicans Randy Brock and Mark Snelling met Wednesday to discuss their mutual interest in running for lieutenant governor, but a decision on who will ultimately seek the office is not expected to be made for some time. Brock, a former state senator and auditor and the GOP’s 2012 nominee for governor, is interested in the post. Mark Snelling, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 but lost in a primary to Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, also has a desire to run. Snelling, the son of former Republican Gov. Richard Snelling and former Republican Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling, said Wednesday’s meeting with Brock was held to discuss what is best for each of them, as well as the Vermont Republican Party. “We updated ourselves on where each of us are at and we said in the beginning that we weren’t going to come to any conclusions today and that we’re going to keep talking and that our expectation is that we’re going to hear more from people in the coming days who have an interest in the Republic nominations as well as people who have interest in the Democratic or Progressive nominations,” Snelling said following the afternoon summit. 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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Brock bows out

MONTPELIER — Republican Randy Brock, the Vermont GOP’s nominee for governor in 2012, announced in an email Sunday that he will not challenge Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin again this year. Brock, a former state auditor and state senator, had been publicly mulling a run. His decision comes after Stowe Rep. Heidi Scheuermann and former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman already bowed out this year. Scott Milne, president of Milne Travel, is the only other known Republican considering a run. Milne has said he wants a primary, however. Continue Reading →

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Lisman declines gov bid

MONTPELIER — Campaign for Vermont founder and former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman announced Wednesday he will not launch a bid to unseat Gov. Peter Shumlin. Lisman, the former chairman of the JP Morgan Chase Global Equity Division, said he was considering a campaign for governor at the urging of Vermonters. But in a statement issued Wednesday Lisman said he will instead focus on advocacy efforts. “I love Vermont and believe that she faces serious challenges as seldom before in her history,” Lisman said in his statement. “At this time, however, I believe I can best contribute to improving Vermont’s future by publicly and vigorously advocating for a focused, core set of moderate, nonpartisan and common sense government reforms. Indeed, this coalition building effort is the best approach to policy change and consistent with my focus since 2011.”

Wednesday’s announcement follows on the heals of one made by Stowe Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, who just last week said she would not seek the GOP gubernatorial nomination and challenge Shumlin, a two-term Democrat. Continue Reading →

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In September report, Shumlin administration told of “critical” problems with insurance exchange

Acknowledging the severity of the technological glitches in Vermont’s new health insurance website, Gov. Peter Shumlin Thursday issued a surprise announcement extending the deadline by which residents will have to enroll for policies in the new marketplace. But key members of the administration have known since at least the middle of September of defects in Vermont Health Connect, some of which, they were told by outside consultants, were potentially substantial enough to derail the enrollment timeline. In a 192-slide Power Point presentation, conducted on Sept. 11 and 12 and prepared at the behest of the federal government, managers at the Department of Vermont Health Access detailed a range of “risks” in the online marketplace, and presented “workarounds,” “mitigation” plans, and “contingencies.” The so-called “Operational Readiness Review” also includes a presentation from Gartner, Inc., a Connecticut-based tech consultant hired to review the website. Continue Reading →

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On eve of big launch, Brock says new insurance market is a disaster waiting to happen

One of Peter Shumlin’s chief political rivals has exposed what he says are troubling misfires by the technology firm being paid more than $80 million to construct the state’s new online health insurance marketplace. Randy Brock, the former Republican gubernatorial candidate who lost his bid last year to unseat the Democratic incumbent, has authored an op-ed alleging that CGI Systems and Technologies has missed all but four of the 21 “critical milestones” written into its $84 million contract. Based on a review of contracts signed by the Shumlin administration, Brock said the state has also failed to collect millions of dollars in financial penalties owed by CGI for missing the deadlines. The Shumlin administration says CGI has in fact missed more than half of its stipulated deadlines, and that the contractor is on the hook for more than $5 million in penalties, though the administration has yet to make any attempts to retrieve the money. 

Commissioner of Vermont Health Access Mark Larson said he “fully expects” the penalties will be assessed, but that the state’s priority right now is on getting the exchange up and running. 

Brock says the missed deadlines are symptomatic of system-wide failings in “Vermont Health Connect,” the web-based insurance portal set to launch on Tuesday. And the technological shortcomings, Brock alleges, could threaten the insurance security of the more than 100,000 Vermonters who will soon be required to enroll in plans sold on the new website. Continue Reading →

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Brock ends his campaign for governor

Republican Randy Brock conceded the race just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Before the speech, he had been unable to reach Gov. Peter Shumlin, but he said he planned to wish him success as governor. “This is the final chapter in the greatest experience that I’ve had in my entire life,” he said. He plans to remain in public policy in Vermont. Continue Reading →

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