Gubernatorial candidates head into stretch run
by Mike Eldred
Nov 01, 2012 | 1316 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Candidates Randy Brock, David Eagle, Cris Ericson, Emily Peyton, and Peter Shumlin, left to right,  shared a stage earlier this month during a debate aired on Vermont Public Television. Voters will decide on Tuesday who the state’s next governor will be.
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Note: We asked the five candidates for Vermont governor a series of questions on issues facing the state. Four candidates reponded to our requests. Liberty Union gubernatorial candidate Dave Eagle did not participate. This report was compiled by Mike Eldred. Election day is Tuesday.

1. What will your administration do to help create or encourage greater economic opportunity for Vermonters?

2. One of the presidential candidates has promised to repeal the American Care Act. What is your vision and plan for health care in Vermont, and how might that change if the American Care Act is repealed or replaced?

3. Like several other communities in Vermont, the Deerfield Valley has been severely impacted by weather-related disaster. What will your administration do to be prepared for the next disaster in Vermont, and what will you do to improve emergency response to communities once a disaster has struck?

Randy Brock

Brock, of Swanton, is the Republican nominee for governor of Vermont. Brock is a Vietnam veteran and has served as Vermont Auditor. Brock is currently in his second term as a member of the Vermont Senate.

1. Vermont is a great place to live and to raise a family. I’m an optimist and I believe in Vermonters. There is no greater place in America, and our pristine environment, clear air and water, and our sense of community know no rival.

But most Vermonters recognize that our state is a tough place to do business. We’ve been rated as one of the highest tax states in America, as one of the worst states in which to retire, and as the state with the lowest gross domestic product per employee in the nation. Since January 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve lost 600 jobs and our total seasonally-adjusted workforce has fallen by 2,900. While anyone can argue with any of these statistics, the point is that almost every review of Vermont’s business attractiveness tells us that we can and must do better.

Perception is reality, and we have to do better to provide our children and our grandchildren with the opportunity to achieve their dreams right here in Vermont. Unless we responsibly grow jobs and opportunity, our kids will continue to move elsewhere and we will continue to see our friends and neighbors unemployed or underemployed.

So what should be our strategy? We need to do five things: Declare that Vermont is “open for business” and make that a reality; require government to live within its means; reform taxes to make them simpler, fairer, and easier to understand; reconcile education and training to meet workforce needs; and invest in the Vermont brand.

We also need to review the whole permitting process to make it swift, predictable and fair to start a new business. I’ll go out to the four corners of the country and the earth to find a job. I’ll focus on re-engineering and process improvement to lower the cost of government. Most important, I’ll think outside the box and help devise new jobs and new industries, and I’d then lead our Legislature in devising laws and a regulatory structure that advances business while still protecting our precious environment.

2. As governor, I will move forward with five key strategies to expand choice, reduce costs, provide more affordable access, and improve the health for all Vermont citizens: Adopt consumer-driven heath care; empower patients and providers; protect patients with reasonable rules; make health insurance understandable; promote and encourage clinical reforms.

I invite you to go to my website and explore my plan in detail. Unlike Gov. Shumlin’s vague, undefined single payer plan, I’m not hiding anything with these specific solutions. Vermont needs more than rhetoric. We need real solutions. I have them.

As governor, one of my highest priorities will be to ensure that every Vermonter – 100% – has access to quality health care at an affordable cost.

3. Former President Eisenhower said it best: “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.” We need to continually plan for the disaster that has yet to happen. We need to look around corners to identify the disaster we may not have anticipated. We need to avoid planning solely to deal with the last disaster, because the next disaster will never look like the last one. We need to develop robust contingency plans so that we can react swiftly and appropriately when confronted with natural disaster. We need to learn from every disaster, such as Irene, so that we replicate what we’ve done well and avoid doing what we’ve done badly.

Cris Ericson

Ericson, of Chester, is the United States Marijuana Party candidate for Vermont governor. Ericson is a paralegal. She is also running for US Senate.

1. For years there has been an EB-5 “insourcing” versus “outsourcing” job creation program in Vermont. Most Vermonters have no idea where to get information about it. If you vote for me for governor, I will put the program on the front page of the state of Vermont website with links so you can meet foreign business investors and invite them to invest into your struggling Vermont business, or to create a new Vermont business with you. I have some information now at the very bottom of my campaign website and I own the domain http://eb-5.biz.

Did you know that the movie industry is ending their use of film and switching to digital? This is a big change for Hollywood, and it means it is time to find some EB-5 investors to build a new major motion picture digital sound and movie studio in Vermont.

The biggest obstacle to starting new small businesses is knowing how. If you vote for me for governor of Vermont, I will put free business education online with links from the first page of the governor’s state of Vermont website, so you can click on what kind of business you want to start and find out all of the forms you need to fill out and have a bunch of suggested business plans to check off what you need to do. Lots of community colleges offer courses, but if you are working and you have kids at home, you may not have the time or money to even spend $40 for a course, when you are at the bottom, even that much could discourage you. If all of the information that is in most courses is free online, then more Vermonters will take the leap.

2. The Vermont single-payer plan has a single huge flaw. It creates Platinum health care for the rich in Vermont, Gold health care, Silver health care, and then “adequate” health care for the poor. It is not right to mix funds from federal Medicaid and federal Medicare dollars, stir them up, and pour out Platinum health care for the rich and only “adequate” health care for the poor, while the money trail has been fraudulently concealed by mixing funds.

I do not believe that insurance is health care. Insurance is just paying for the middle men. Tax dollars should be spent on government hospitals and health clinics and all care should be provided for free to Vermont residents. Just like going to school grades K-12, you don’t buy insurance to send your children to school, you just pay taxes to pay for the schools and school teachers. So, I would base health care the same way, create a tax system to tax people based on total annual income, or some other plan, like raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco, and then it would be free to go to the Vermont health care clinics and hospitals. Legalizing and taxing marijuana would bring in income, also.

3. Natural disasters have to be treated with the same mind set as war.

My first attitude, if you vote for me for governor, is to stop weather-related disasters before they happen, whenever possible.

I am deeply and absolutely opposed to International Paper and Vermont Gas (Gaz Metro) building a natural gas pipeline under Lake Champlain. This is single-handedly the most idiotic and stupid proposal in the history of Vermont. One-third of Vermonters draw their drinking water from Lake Champlain. The likelihood of polluting Lake Champlain while building the pipeline, and afterward, is imminent.

There are dozens and dozens of sewage treatment plants dumping treated sewage into Lake Champlain while simultaneously one-third of Vermonters are drawing their drinking water from Lake Champlain. The organic lake water is treated by cities with chloramines and monochloramines, and these, combined with organic lake water, raise the incident risks of cancer.

It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to explain to you how the entire length of Lake Champlain could end up on fire when you combine a natural gas leak and the existing sewage treatment plants dumping treated sewage with pipes going out on the lake which could draw back in the leaking natural gas and potentially blow up the sewage treatment plants.

Emily Peyton

Peyton, of Putney, is an independent candidate for Vermont governor. She is an artist and activist, and says she wants to see change.

1. By increasing the money supply through instituting a public system of money inclusive of a public state bank, a Vermont credit card for relief of small business’ credit card expenses, a coupon system to value undervalued labor, volunteerism, and  to allow more exchanges within the state without the high cost of debt, and with a Vermont dollar covering even more ground an economic engine will be built to last Vermonters. Here it should be noted that the two guilty corporate party candidates have been perpetuating untruths during this election cycle: 1) that Washington is broke. No, it isn’t. Instead, it is full of the most addicted and addictive personalities, and in their greed they have broken the American people, always demanding more and more for less and less remuneration.

Nor did Vermont have the biggest rise in the median family income, except by census numbers which are hardly accurate and from 2011. This year’s numbers from bureau of economic assessment tell a far different story. North Dakota, home to the USA’s only public banking system, had the highest growth and Vermont was 30th.  The state bank, the Vermont credit card, the Vermont coupon and the Vermont dollar are the four pistons of an economic engine built to serve Vermont, independent of the world financial shenanigans.

Through these means of putting more money in circulation we can indeed steer our own boat, and not be subject to the whims of Wall Street, or the federal government either, for that matter.   If I am elected, there will be no need for underpaid workers or for hungry children and unproductive people for the lack of work.  Small Vermont-based banks and credit unions should be flourishing, and with a Bank of Vermont they will, and they will have more capital to lend to business start-ups, and guess what? The interest will stay in state, how about that?

Too bad the press doesn’t cover this independent candidate, because neither of the two corporate parties will lift a finger to create public money and instead they succumb to corporate addiction to amassing more and more and more.

2. These are corporate politicians, doing the service of corporations, and the health care industry is the biggest hungry machine there is; in fact, it wants ill people for its profit. How do Vermont people feel about that?

If any reader thinks that either the Democrat or Republican plans will let the medical industry go hungry for American dollars, then you have yet to learn anything from the bailout.  The only honest way to give public health care is to give young doctors and nurses free tuition in exchange for service, and bypass the insurance profit aspect altogether, as well as dump medical malpractice requirements for public doctors and nurses.

This leaves those who would like to pay private insurance for their “better” coverage free to do so, and it removes the burden from businesses. Why should they pay? This way the young doctors and nurses are encouraged and health is restored. The improvements to the money supply as described in the first answer about the economic engine will remove stress that is causing much illness among the poor and destitute, who, by their poverty, live six years less.  Too bad the press didn’t let you hear more from this candidate.

3. First off, in my administration we will get into gear to become food independent. Instead of foreclosing on farms, we will be encouraging small permaculture villages and a huge increase of local food production, assimilation of small animal husbandry, like rabbit and goats, into the accepted meat food supply.  Chickens at schools and more.

We will begin the work of making every home and business and small community capable of powering itself as a measure of preparedness for weather issues bound to come. We should have our own state emergency readiness, now that the National Guard has been usurped, we need to develop a new stay-at-home force. This force will be responsible for overseeing the storms to come, coping with the influx of refugees from the drought if there are any, and to protect our hemp fields from malice from DC. This hemp will be utilized to replace many of our petroleum products, to build energy efficient homes that will not burn, and to reinvigorate our manufacturing base. Once the Vermont population is fully informed about the way the high THC marijuana is able to heal cancers, diabetes and more, they will understand why it is a crime to make people take chemotherapy and radiation for naught. So if we need to protect our right to be healthy with our own Vermont force, then we shall. Science is sure that these storms are going to increase, and as they do insurance payouts are going to decrease, along with FEMA’s help, so let’s get it together now, hey?

The two corporate politicians don’t want to deal with this, they simply are pretending that things will get better without concerted effort.  That is stupid thinking.  The hard science is in, and we have to leave the majority of our oil in the ground, and we can’t have the greedy Wall Street involved and we have to end our reliance on the global market ASAP and GOO,GO  (Get off oil, go organic). It could be fun.

Peter Shumlin

Shumlin, of Putney, is the Democratic nominee and incumbent governor of Vermont. He is a business owner and has served three years in the Vermont House of Representatives and eight terms in the Vermont Senate, where he was Senate President Pro Tem.

1. Two years ago, I made a commitment to Vermonters that if elected governor, I would work every day to get tough things done.  That’s what I have done as your governor. We have been through some hard times, but creating jobs and economic opportunities is my number one priority and we are making progress.  Thousands of jobs have been created, Vermont now has the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the country and last year we were the only state in the nation to see median incomes rise.  

Our jobs future is bright and depends on continuing our progress in key areas.  We are making advancements on controlling skyrocketing health care costs, moving Vermont toward a single-payer health care system. We have made critical investments in renewable energy sources that will create good paying jobs.  We are making extraordinary progress, through my initiative ConnectVT, in expanding broadband and cell service throughout the state.  And we have established a record of smart fiscal management by balancing two budgets without raising broad-based taxes.

2. The rising cost of health care is crushing our families and small businesses. If Vermont continues to spend on health care what we spend today, by 2020 we will be spending an additional $5 billion a year. Vermont families and businesses simply will not have thousands of additional dollars per year to spend on health care.  Under my plan, we will get this burden off the backs of our small businesses and contain costs by making our health care system more efficient.  

3. I have been governor for 22 months and in that short period of time have presided over several climate change-induced storms that have broken records, left hundreds homeless, and destroyed at least 34 bridges and over 500 miles of roads.  It is critical that we take stock of the many lessons learned from our experience responding to and recovering from Irene and these other storms.   I am proud that we recovered from Irene in less time and for less money than anyone imagined.  Yet we know that even as we recover, we must be preparing for the long term.

In the months following Irene, my administration established the Irene Recovery Office and the Community Recovery Partnership, where an interagency delegation went to communities around the state to better understand and respond to their needs. 

We are incorporating what we learned into our work to be better prepared in the future.  We have also undertaken a comprehensive “after action report” to help us document what went well, and what did not, so that we can work even harder to build upon our strengths, and address the challenges that still remain. 

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