Tag Archives: Vince Illuzzi

With Illuzzi concession to Hoffer, last statewide race decided

Republican candidate for auditor Vince Illuzzi moments ago called Democrat/Progressive Doug Hoffer to concede. Hoffer gave an extremely short victory speech, saying he’s a numbers guy, not a speechifyer.

We’ll bring you more tomorrow on Hoffer’s win, and how his tenure could make for an interesting one over the next two years.

 

Democrats allege illegal use of Vermont seal by GOP super PAC – UPDATED

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Tayt Brooks, treasurer of the Republican super PAC working to support the candidacies of Wendy Wilton and Vince Illuzzi, said group has removed web ads alleged to have run afoul of a state statute that prohibits the use of the Vermont seal in advertisements.

Brooks said he was unaware of the law until he was notified of the possible violation in an email from the Secretary of State’s office earlier today.

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Vermont Democrats today accused a Republican super PAC of violating an arcane statute that prohibits the use of the state seal in advertisements.

Vermonters First, the political action committee funded by GOP super patron Lenore Broughton, has been spending massive sums of money to bolster the electoral prospects of Wendy Wilton and Vince Illuzzi, Republican candidates for treasurer and auditor, respectively.

In late July, Broughton’s shop began airing 15-second TV ads for the duo. More recently, their smiling faces have begun appearing on internet ads.

Those web ads, according to a press release fired off this afternoon by the Vermont Democratic Party, constitute a clear violation of Vermont Statutes Title 13, Chapter 45.

Both of the ads feature an image of the Vermont seal, that enduring symbol of agrarian enterprise made famous by the Vermont inmates who carefully hid those pigs on the state police cruiser decals. But as VDP chairman Jake Perkinson pointed out, a state law dealing with “flags and ensigns” says “the state seal and coat of arms may be used for commemorative medals or for public displays not connected with any advertising.”

The Wilton/Illuzzi ads, presumably, would constitute political advertising.

We put in a call to Vermonters First Treasurer Tayt Brooks but haven’t heard back yet.

“In a race where a Super PAC funded by millionaire Lenore Broughton is already spending it’s money to lie to Vermonters, every detail counts,” Perkinson said in a release. “Tayt Brooks and Ms. Broughton should take down their ads and stop misusing the Vermont state flag and coat of arms for partisan purposes. Vermonters deserve and expect all players in this race to obey the law, Vermonters First is no exception.”

It would be interesting to see whether the law cited by Perkinson would stand up under challenge. The same chapter bans the reproduction of the U.S. and state flags on merchandise. It also features a provision saying you can’t “publicly mutilate, deface, defile, defy, trample upon, or by word or act cast contempt upon” a U.S. or Vermont flag.

Federal law also prohibits the desecration of a U.S. flag, but it’s a totally toothless statute, since the U.S. Supreme Court has on numerous occasions upheld citizens’ rights to burn disparage or in anyway show public contempt for the Stars & Stripes.

When Republican super PAC hits airwaves Monday, will Randy Brock get any love?

We brought you news last week of the first Republican super PAC to hit Vermont, and that fact that it’s going to spend at least $70,000 over the next couple weeks to push conservative viewpoints. Though we don’t know yet who’s funding “Vermonters First,” the point man for the outfit, Tayt Brooks, said the group will provide a foil to the “single-party” rule dominating Montpelier.

A day after our story broke, Paul Heintz of Seven Days had a great follow-up piece detailing the content of the group’s ads. One spot will tout Republican candidate for auditor Vince Illuzzi. Another is dedicated to the GOP’s candidate for treasurer, Wendy Wilton. You can watch video of the spots at “Off Message,” a new blog from Heintz and Seven Days political editor, Andy Bromage:  http://7d.blogs.com/offmessage/ 

Does that mean Vermonters First has snubbed the man at the top of the ticket? Perhaps not.

The Illuzzi/Wilton spots are what’s known in the TV business as “bookends” – 15-second spots at the beginning and end of a commercial break.

According to documents on file at WCAX, those spots constitute only a portion of the $53,000 buy by Vermonters First, which includes plenty of 30-second ads as well. An approximately $15,000 buy on WPTZ won’t start until Sept. 17.

We asked Brooks whether we could expect to Randy Brock’s face in those longer spots, but the former executive director of the Vermont Republican Party wouldn’t say. We’ll find out soon enough – the ads begin airing Monday morning.

Shumlin, Donovan earn nod from firefighters

The Professional Firefighters of Vermont unveiled endorsements today in statewide races, and true to Vermont form, the 300-member organization wasn’t afraid to split the ticket.

Democrats Peter Shumlin, TJ Donovan, Beth Pearce and Jim Condos won endorsements for their bids for governor, attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state, respectively.

Republicans Phil Scott and Vince Illuzzi, meanwhile, will get the union’s support in their candidacies for lieutenant governor and state auditor. 

The group is known to hit the phones hard for their chosen candidates, and could provide a key lift in close races.

From the release:

The Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont gathered for their 2012 Biennial Convention at the Sheraton in South Burlington. The highlight of the convention was the PFFV endorsement of the candidacy of Peter Shumlin for Governor.
 
Speaking about the endorsement, PFFV President Mathew Vinci stated: “The nearly 300 members Professional Fire Fighters from across Vermont are proud to stand with Governor Shumlin and to support his candidacy for a second term.  Throughout his first time, and during long political career in Vermont Governor Shumlin demonstrated time and again his strong leadership on the issues important to our members.  We look forward to his reelection and to partnering with him in his second term.”
 
At the convention the PFFV also endorsed candidates for Auditor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Secretary of State and Lt. Governor.  Speaking about this slate of candidates Vinci stated:  “Our slate of endorsed statewide candidates distinguish themselves as leaders in Vermont and supporters of our members and their families.  Vince Illuzzi, TJ Donovan, Beth Pearce, Jim Condos, and Phil Scott all recognize the essential roll our members play in keeping Vermonters safe and we know will all continue to be champions for our cause when elected.”
 
The Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont are a statewide union that represents Paid Professional Fire Fighters, Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians across Vermont.

Collective-bargaining freeloaders or conscientious objectors? Depends on who you ask…

Lawmakers will engage in a heated debate over organized labor this week, though the conversation for once won’t center on childcare unions.

The Senate will take to the floor Tuesday to contemplate a wide-ranging labor bill that would, among other things, force Vermont workers to pay union fees to associations that bargain on their behalf.

A majority of laborers in most workplaces can vote to join a union. But under current law, they can’t force their dissenting brethren to pay dues.

Sen. Vince Illuzzi, an Essex County Republican and longtime champion of organized labor, says that allows workers – unfairly in his view – to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining without contributing to it considerable costs.

“The analogy could be that for those who vote with the minority in this body, they would never be obligated to pay their fair share of whatever tax or mandate has been enforced on others,” Illuzzi says. “There is a group that enjoys the benefits, but never pays their fair share of achieving those benefits.”

The so-called “Fair Share” legislation would affect teachers, state workers and municipal employees.

Connor Casey, director of legislative affairs for the Vermont State Employees Association, says about 570 state workers pay nothing toward the activities of the union that advocates on their behalf.

The legislation wouldn’t require them to pay toward the political activities of the union – which Casey says accounts for about 20 percent of overall dues. They would, however, have to pay 80 percent of the $13 that VSEA members contribute every two-week pay period.

“The bill preserves their right not to join the union. But they should at least pay for the cost of negotiating the contract and the enforcement of that contract,” Illuzzi says. “To my knowledge, not one state employee who does not belong has ever rejected a pay increase or benefit increase.”

Steve Jeffrey, executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, is among the advocates who will be urging lawmakers to vote down the measure.

Jeffrey says the Legislature should leave it to employers and unions to work out who does and does not pay union dues. When unions broker collective bargaining agreements with towns, Jeffrey says, the negotiations include whether or not to force non-member workers to pay union fees.

The same is true at the state level.

The issue of whether workers who aren’t members of the union have to pay dues, Casey says, can be a significant bargaining chip in overall contract negotiations.

Controversy brews over mental health as Senate preps for vote

Senate lawmakers this morning are frenetically preparing for a floor session this afternoon during which leaders aim to pass out, at long last, the mental-health bill that Gov. Peter Shumlin says will alleviate the “crisis” unfolding in hospitals across Vermont.

It’s been a long road for the legislation, which lays out a replacement plan for the 54-bed psychiatric hospital flooded out in Tropical Storm Irene. Seven weeks of legislative debate have done little to quell dissent over the administration’s plan. And a spate of amendments on the Senate calendar today spotlights the major areas of disagreement.

The size of the replacement hospital remains the biggest sticking point. Shumlin has demanded a bill that calls for a facility, to be located somewhere in central Vermont, with no greater than 16 beds. Exceeding that number, Shumlin says, will cost taxpayers nearly $10 million in foregone federal revenue annually. That’s because new rules in place at the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, he says, prohibit federal Medicaid matches for facilities with greater than 16 beds. Continue reading

Could 7-term incumbent Bill Sorrell face challenge in Democratic primary?

Hard to believe, but the rumor mill is certainly churning.

For the past 15 years, the race for attorney general has been a sleepy down-ticket affair won by almost laughable margins by Democratic incumbent Bill Sorrell. As the 2012 electoral landscape comes into focus, however, the contest to becomeVermont’s top prosecutor could shape up as the season’s hottest race.

And the most viable challenger might come not from the ranks of the GOP, but from within Sorrell’s own party.

Read all about it here: http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120229/NEWS03/702299899/1050

Hinda Miller to step down after 2012

Hinda Miller, a five-term Democratic senator from Chittenden County, said today this term will be her last.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, Miller has been embroiled over the past year in the heated debate over single-payer health care. She’s been a go-to lawmaker for Vermont employers seeking to add business-friendly amendments to various pieces of health care legislation. It’s won her some notoriety among fellow Democrats, but Miller has made no apologies for voicing opinions sometimes used as talking points by anti-single-payer groups.   Continue reading

Shumlin on Illuzzi, Vermont Yankee, AFT, Dubie case

MONTPELIER – The main event for Gov. Peter Shumlin’s presser Wednesday was the distribution of more than $2 million in block grants to communities around Vermont.

But he answered reporters’ questions on numerous topics. Here’s a sample.

VELCO: Shumlin said a plan afoot in the Senate to buy a majority share in the state’s transmission company VELCO (a proposal being championed by Sen. Vince Illuzzi and others) is a crackpot idea.

Shumlin said he respects Iluzzi, but “every once in awhile he has an idea that probably shouldn’t see the light of day, and this is probably one of them.” Continue reading