Snelling Announces Bid for Lt. Governor
Mark Snelling, the son of former Republican Gov. Richard Snelling, announced Friday he is running for lieutenant governor.
The announcement caps weeks of speculation about Snelling's political future. Seven Days first reported Snelling's gubernatorial ambitions earlier this month.
Though he didn't mention this in his announcement, Snelling told Seven Days he will run as a Republican, and he hopes that current Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie runs for governor.
"I'm very hopeful that Brian Dubie will run for governor," said Snelling, "and when I looked at the possibility of him not running and would I, I realized what I would have to do and I would have had to start a campaign very, very quickly. And I'm not in the position to do that right now as I have to wind down some business and personal commitments."
Snelling said his mix of public and private sector experience would serve Vermont well.
"I have worked in the public and private sector for the last 35 years, and I believe I have the skills and the knowledge of Vermont and public policy to be a strong voice and an active participant in the work that must be done," said Snelling. "I have actively served the last five governors working on public policy, including the areas of affordable housing, economic development and the environment."
To date, no other GOP candidate has announced a bid for higher office, though several have expressed an interest. They include State Sens. Randy Brock (Franklin), Kevin Mullin (Rutland) and Phil Scott (Washington).
"I look forward to the campaign," said Snelling. "I truly enjoy talking with people about Vermont and its future. I'm not rooted in cement; I'm open to hearing all ideas about how to make Vermont a better place."
Earlier today, Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan announced he's considering a bid on the Democratic side. Other possible Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor include State Sen. Ed Flanagan (D-Chittenden), former House member Tom Costello and former Vermont CARES executive director Tim Palmer. House Majority Leader Floyd Nease is no longer interested in the job.
Snelling, who lives in Starksboro, is currently the president of the Snelling Center for Government, which was created in honor of his father. He also runs Shelburne Corporation, the family business, which makes brass wire products.
He’s chaired the governor’s council of environmental advisers and served as chairman of the board of Housing Vermont and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.
Though perhaps not a household name, the Snelling surname is well-known in political circles.
Mark's sister, Diane Snelling, serves in the Vermont Senate and is the only Republican from Chittenden County.
Republican Gov. Richard Snelling served twice as governor, with his second term cut short by his death in August 1991. His wife, Barbara Snelling, was elected lieutenant governor in 1992 and served two terms. She suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1996 while campaigning for governor. She was later elected to the state senate in 1998, representing Chittenden County, where she served until she retired in 2002.
Here is an excerpt from Snelling's announcement to the media:
My vision of Vermont’s future is one where a vibrant economy provides good opportunities for all Vermonters.
It is one where Vermonters are able to live in quality, affordable housing that is near their workplace.
It is one where those Vermonters who need our help can receive help in their struggle to overcome obstacles to their happiness and receive that help in a dignified manner.
It is one where our farmers are able to receive a fair price for their products and our environment is preserved for the future generations.
This vision of Vermont can only occur if we able to solve Vermont’s long term economic problems.
Strengthening Vermont’s financial health will mean that we must look at our levels of spending and our levels of taxation over the next five to ten year period and make sure that we have a plan to match our spending with our income. We cannot continue to outspend our income and hope to make up the difference by increasing taxes to an unsustainable level.