Tag Archives: Shumlin

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. “Unlike her opponent, Treasurer Pearce understands the many pitfalls inherent in switching state employees from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.”

Lawmakers disappointed in Entergy ruling

From Pete Hirschfeld:

MONTPELIER — On a snowy February day in 2010, Democratic lawmakers celebrated a Senate vote they said would force the closure of Vermont Yankee. On Thursday evening, many of those same legislators huddled to regroup after learning that a federal judge had stripped their authority to shutter the nuclear power plant.

“It’s disappointing that the court found that the people of Vermont, through their Legislature, could not have a voice about the continued operation of the plant,” said House Speaker Shap Smith.

Word of the ruling spread through the Statehouse like wildfire. Shortly after its release, Smith and Senate President John Campbell hunkered in the speaker’s office with a small corps of lawyers and lawmakers to read the 102-page decision and draft a response.

Campbell called the decision from U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha a blow to Vermont sovereignty.

“I think it shows the deterioration of states’ rights,” he said.

Continue reading on Rutlandherald.com >>>

In ceremonial office, Shumlin repents for his sins

MONTPELIER – When Gov. Peter Shumlin was president pro tem of the Senate, Gov. Jim Douglas occupied the fifth floor, and the two clashed over numerous issues.

Now that he is governor, Shumlin told Douglas on Thursday, he sees how frustrating it can be when you’re on the other end of the deal, trying to get the unwieldy House and Senate to do what you want.

As an example, Shumlin pointed to his ongoing effort to pass a “simple little bill” through the Legislature that would let Vermonters have “Vermont Strong” license plates on their cars. The license plates are designed raise money for Irene victims.

“They can’t move the thing along,” said Shumlin, referring to the Legislature.

During a light-hearted meeting in the governor’s ceremonial office with Douglas on Thursday, Shumlin admitted he may have been guilty of causing the gears of government to grind when he was in the Senate, and said he repented for his sins.

“Funny how your perspective has changed,” said Douglas.

Shumlin played host at the Statehouse to Douglas and the Middlebury College political science class Douglas is teaching.

Shumlin riffed on his top agenda items, and answered questions from students.

The two former rivals kept it light, offering jokes when the opportunity arose.

In comedy, timing is…everything. And timing matters when rising to the governor’s office, too, said Shumlin, noting that in his first year in office Vermont was hit with a record blizzard, record rain and record flooding – including Irene.

“The governor knew when to get out,” said Shumlin.

– Thatcher Moats

Controversial campaign topic could be big issue this session

Remember all that campaign hooplah over Peter Shumlin’s alleged proposal to release child pornographers and drug dealers from prison? Brian Dubie’s vicious opposition to the governor-elect’s plan to reduce corrections costs, it appears, hasn’t scared Senate democrats away from the issue.
Sen. Dick Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he expects “judicial reinvestment” to be a central issue in the coming session. The term is legislative-speak for the same kind of proposal Shumlin outlined last summer – drive down soaring corrections costs by keeping nonviolent offenders out of prison.
“Obviously this was a big issue in the campaign, and we need to start moving forward now with some reasonable alternatives,” Sears said today.
It’s sure to be a controversial topic. The mayors of Barre, Rutland, St. Albans and several other Vermont cities say their communities are already overflowing with habitual low-level offenders. Keeping them out of jail, the municipal officials say, hurts quality of life and drives up public-safety costs locally.
But Sears says efforts to reduce the prison population will be less about freeing offenders from jail than about preventing them from committing crimes in the first place. If investments in human-service programs locally can cut into the 50-percent recidivism rate for nonviolent offenders, Sears says, it will reduce crime rates in Vermont communities and lower corrections costs.
Also on the plate for Sears’ committee this year: ramping up sanctions against DUI and attempting-to-elude; and figuring out how to proceed with the implementation of a 2009 law that aimed to include the addresses of offenders on the Internet sex-offender registry.

-Peter Hirschfeld