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October 08, 2010

Young Professionals to Grill Gubernatorial Candidates

100610cover Vermont's young professionals will get a chance to question two of the candidates for governor at a forum next Tuesday night.

As Andy Bromage explained in this week's excellent cover story ("Friending Politics"), a plethora of young professional groups have been sprouting up in Vermont. Many of their members want to have some of their unique concerns and issues addressed by politicians and policyamkers.

A group called Vermont Young Professionals recently solicited feedback from their members about the governor's race. About 100 young professionals chimed in with their concerns, which the VYP leadership team translated into questions for Republican Brian Dubie and Democrat Peter Shumlin. Seven Days printed the results of the VYP survey and put them online as well.

Interestingly, none of the groups in the article offers a definitive description of what it means to be either "young" or "professional".

That must be why the Burlington Young Professionals Group asked a 42-year-old political columnist and father of three (me) to host their gubernatorial forum. OK, fine, maybe it's my "Social Media King" status that cinched it. I'm honored to be part of the event — even if yesterday I did receive an AARP membership application in the mail. Sheesh, is AARP that hard up for members? Give me a break. I'm old, but I'm not that old.

BTVYPGSo if you're a young professional, or pretend to be one at work, you should register to attend Tuesday night's forum.

The forum will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Film House at Main Street Landing on Burlington's waterfront. I'll be sitting down with Dubie and Shumlin — separately — to ask them questions of import to this group of voters.

Dubie will be on stage from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., and Shumlin from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Both candidates will stick around for more informal chats until about 8 p.m. Yes, drinks and appetizers will be served, too.

I'm collecting questions via Twitter ahead of the debate. You can tweet questions to the hashtag #YPGGov. Or, you can send questions via the event site or the BTV YPG fan page on Facebook.

You can find the event page here and the Facebook page here.

Seven Days cover credit: Jordan Silverman, photo, Andrew Sawtell, design.

A question I would have is does either candidate know of any extra money available, say 17 million or so to bail Kiss and Leopold out of jail? Maybe it would be more correct to say 17 million to bail out burlington taxpayers and let Kiss and Leopold rot in jail. Yeah that wont work as Burlingtonians cannot pass the buck for their foolishness in electing Kiss, TWICE. Shame on you IRV supporters.

The total indebtedness of BTV is not just the 17 million that was illegally taken from the cash pool, but 50 million, which includes the 33 million BT owes to CitiLease. Give or take a million or so.

By the way, at some point in 2008, didn't our current Prog candidate for Auditor assure Burlingtonians that all was fine with BT and there was nothing to worry about? You know, the candidate who's now trying to make political hay against Salmon out of the fact that a state employee up in Newport embezzled $490,000 over the past 5 years and Salmon's office supposedly didn't catch it? I'll see your $490,000 and raise you, oh, say, $17 million -- the amount that your friends in the Kiss Administration stole from the taxpayers.

As the average age of Vermonter's increases so does the definition of "young professionals". Didn't someone say 70 is the new 50? I sure hope so!

Maybe we can start consolidating some of these debates. Lots of debates are great if you can get more than 25 people to show up to each one, otherwise it's a bit of a waste of time.

Message to Dubie:

Hey, Brian, since Shumlin seems to be fond of stupid media stunts, like showing up at your office with multi-millionaire Jerry Greenfield claiming that single-payer healthcare would help them hire new employees (does Greenfield even have employees, other than maybe household help?), why don't you show up at Shumlin's office with all 650 VT Yankee employees who will lose their jobs because of Shumlin?

And, while you're at it, ask Shumlin why he needs seven cars?

Is Shumlin still going on about single payer? Anyone who would vote for someone who promises them something that's impossible to deliver really has their head up their ass. Maybe Shumlin will participate in a debate where the moderator will actually drill down on him about that.

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