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52 posts categorized "Election 2012" Feed

June 28, 2012

Vermont Politicos React to Health Care Ruling

SCOTUSThe news is in: The federal Affordable Care Act (also known as "Obamacare") is here to stay, according to the much anticipated ruling the Supreme Court handed down today.

SCOTUS Blog is reporting that the court upheld nearly the entirety of the ACA in a 5-4 ruling, including an unpopular individual mandate that requires virtually every American to carry health insurance. Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding swing vote. 

Click here to read the actual opinion. Click here to read the excellent analysis of people who know more about these things than we do.

How are Vermonters reacting? Here's a smattering of comments gleaned from phone interviews and written statements.

Republican candidate for governor Randy Brock summoned reporters to the Hilton in Burlington less than an hour after t he ruling came out. Brock said he was less concerned about "Obamacare" than about "Titanicare" — his term for Gov. Peter Shumlin's "Green Mountain Care" single payer health care plan.

Today's Supreme Court decision only postpones the day of reckoning for Governor Shumlin's Titanicare health care law. Federal dollars can now temporarily plug the huge holes the Governor's plan will generate in Vermont's budget. Let's be frank about this: Titaniccare will sink and take all of us with it. It's just going to sink a teeny bit slower with this subsidy and nobody, not even Governor Shumlin, believes the subsidy will last forever. Vermonters better start asking the Governor and his allies in the legislature to explain before this upcoming election how they're going to rescue us passengers.

Full steam ahead?

Continue reading "Vermont Politicos React to Health Care Ruling" »

June 27, 2012

In Email to Board, VPIRG Head Slams Shumlin Over Lite Gov Candidate


**Update below with reaction from Gov. Peter Shumlin at Wednesday's press conference**

In an email to the Vermont Public Interest Research Group's board of directors, executive director Paul Burns slammed longtime ally Gov. Peter Shumlin, saying the gov "should be ashamed of himself" for encouraging a VPIRG employee to run for lieutenant governor.

As reported in this week's Fair Game, Democratic lite gov candidate Cassandra Gekas (pictured) says she was fired on the spot by Paul Burns when she informed him of her candidacy. Burns maintains that Gekas resigned her position as VPIRG's health care advocate.

After Seven Days went to press, we obtained a copy of an email Burns sent his board two weeks ago — shortly after his conversation with Gekas and the day she filed to run for office. In the email, Burns says he was "sickened" by Gekas' move, which he calls "utterly unprofessional and dishonest."

Far more notably, Burns rips Shumlin a new one and suggests that members of the board — which includes a number of prominent Shumlin supporters and donors — let the gov know their displeasure.

"I believe Cass was talked into this by the governor and others," Burns writes. "He should be ashamed of himself. I hope he has a nice job waiting for her after she loses a race for which she is completely unprepared, but it's no excuse. He deserves to hear from others who don't appreciate this self-serving political move."

(Complete text of email after the jump).

Continue reading "In Email to Board, VPIRG Head Slams Shumlin Over Lite Gov Candidate" »

June 22, 2012

Vermont Dems Attack Brock for Supporting an Anti-Abortion Law He, In Fact, Does Not Support

Vermont's Democratic and Republican parties spent the week in a press-release pissing match over whether Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock should be held responsible for the views of a pair of prominent GOP governors who are campaigning for him.

By enlisting the help of Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Dems argue, Brock "confirms his allegiance to a radically conservative Republican agenda." Vermont Republican Party chairman Jack Lindley responded by referring to his counterparts as "the name callers who dwell in the bowels at the Vermont Democratic Party."

Whoa! Chill out, homies!

In today's episode, the Democrats are insinuating that Brock, who supports abortion rights, actually secretly backs a controversial Virginia law requiring women to receive an ultrasound before getting an abortion.

"The vast majority of Vermonters support a woman's right to choose, and it is unsettling that Randy Brock is siding on this issue with ultra-conservative GOP Governor McDonnell — his host at a Washington DC fundraiser next week," Dem party chairman Jake Perkinson says in a press release.

Perkinson's evidence? An Associated Press story that says Brock campaign adviser and fundraiser Darcie Johnston praised the Virginia law. Here's the relevant paragraph from AP reporter Dave Gram's story:

Brock campaign aide Darcie Johnston in an email lavished praise on McDonnell for improvements in Virginia’s economy, and called the ultrasound bill a "common-sense pro-life bill that puts Virginia in line with a number of other states."

But according to the Brock campaign, the AP story resulted from a miscommunication between Johnston and Gram. The campaign says it offered Gram background information about the Virginia governor to counter Democratic claims about his record. After reaching out to McDonnell's office to clarify his position on the ultrasound issue, Johnston copied and pasted talking points supplied by the Virginia governor's staff and emailed them to Gram. She says she did not mean to imply that the words were her own.

Emails provided by the Brock campaign confirm that the "common-sense pro-life" language comes directly from a McDonnell aide. Johnston's email to Gram, however, does not explain that the information came from a third party.

Gram did not immediately return a call to the AP's Montpelier bureau seeking comment.

As for Brock, he says he does not support the Virginia ultrasound law and strongly backs a woman's right to choose: "I am and always have been pro-choice. I don't believe the government should be interfering in women's medical decisions. Period."

He called the Democrats' release "a classic smear tactic to divert people away from the real issues" and called on his opponent, Gov. Peter Shumlin, to "tell the Democrats to stop the negative campaigning."

And how does Johnston really feel about the law?

"I support the same position as my boss," she says.

So she's pro-choice, too?

"I support the same position as my boss," she repeats.

June 14, 2012

With Deadline Past, A Few Surprises For the November Ballot

DSC03756Ding, ding! As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the filing deadline for those seeking election to state office in November has passed. Secretary of State Jim Condos just sent over an unofficial list of candidates — a "final draft" is expected by Monday — and we thought we'd share a few nuggets:

  • The biggest surprise is this: the Democrats found a candidate to put up against race car rock star Phil Scott, the incumbent Republican lite guv. Who is it? Cassandra Gekas, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group's health care lobbyist. Gekas, who didn't immediately return a call for comment, is well-known around the Statehouse — but can she take down the Thunder Road king? That remains to be seen. [Also in the race is Progressive Marjorie Powers.]
  • McMullen is in. Whoever wins the bruiser of a Democratic primary between incumbent Attorney General Bill Sorrell and challenger T.J. Donovan, the Chittenden County state's attorney, will face two-time U.S. Senate candidate Jack McMullen, a Republican. "I think I'll bring a new perspective to the office," McMullen told us today, noting his business and legal experience. He said he's hired a campaign manager and plans to be "financially competitive" with whoever wins the Democratic nod.

Continue reading "With Deadline Past, A Few Surprises For the November Ballot" »

June 13, 2012

Calling All Candidates: One Day Left to File

Take out the trash? Check.

Pick up little Jimmy from school? Check.

File signatures with the Secretary of State's office? Oh, shit!

Yep, it's that time of the year. Those hoping to run for state office this November must turn in their signatures (500 for statewide seats, 100 for the Vermont Senate, 50 for the House) by 5 p.m. Thursday. With less than 24 hours to go, plenty of incumbents and challengers have filed for candidacy — but there remain a few notable holes.

Here's a (very partial) rundown of who's not running — yet:

  • Lieutenant Governor: Granted, it's a part-time job without much in the way of responsibilities, but surely somebody's interested! So far, though, not even incumbent Phil Scott, a Republican, has filed.
  • Treasurer: Beth Pearce, a Democrat who was appointed to the job a year and a half ago, has said she's running — as has Progressive Don Schramm. But so far, only Wendy Wilton, the Republican city treasurer of Rutland has filed.
  • Auditor: Democrat and Progressive Doug Hoffer says he's running. Sen. Vince Illuzzi (R-Essex/Orleans) finally settled on the race. But neither has submitted a petition.
  • Attorney General: Democrats Bill Sorrell, the incumbent, and Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan have filed. But businessman Jack McMullen, a Republican who has been eyeing the race, has yet to formally plunge in.
  • U.S. House: Republican Mark Donka is in; independent James "Sam" Desrochers is in; VoteKISS party (whatever that is!) member Andre LaFramboise is in. But incumbent Democrat Peter Welch is nowhere to be found.
  • Chittenden County State Senate: Of the five incumbents expected to run for reelection to the state's most populous state Senate district (Sen. Hinda Miller, a Democrat, has announced she's not running), only three have filed: Philip Baruth, Sally Fox and Ginny Lyons — all Democrats. Who's missing? Tim Ashe, a Democrat and Progressive, and Republican Diane Snelling. Newcomers on the ballot thus far include Democrats Ed Adrian, Debbie Ingram and Loyal Ploof; Republican and Tea Partier Shelley Palmer; Progressive Richard "Terry" Jeroloman; and independents Bob Kiss and Robert Letovsky.

If you're hoping to pigeon-hole an elected official tomorrow, it shouldn't be hard to find one. Just hang out next to the Secretary of State's office or a nearby copy shop. Who knows? Maybe they'll even ask you for your signature.

June 08, 2012

Burlington State Rep. and Former Mayoral Candidate Jason Lorber Will Not Seek Reelection



Four-term Burlington state representative and former mayoral candidate Jason Lorber will not seek reelection to the Vermont House, he announced Friday morning in an e-mail to supporters.

First elected to the legislature in 2004, Lorber was one of four Democrats to seek his party's nomination for mayor last fall, saying he would serve as "chief marketing officer" for the city. At the November Democratic caucus, Lorber won just 106 of 1309 votes on the first ballot and promptly withdrew from the race.

In his announcement, the consultant and stand-up comedian said he was proud of his work reforming the criminal justice system, supporting "farm-to-plate" initiatives and voting to legalize gay marriage. Lorber is one of just a handful of openly gay legislators in Vermont.

Continue reading "Burlington State Rep. and Former Mayoral Candidate Jason Lorber Will Not Seek Reelection" »

June 07, 2012

Vermont Dems (and a Republican) to Raise Money Over Nachos and Cervezas

If you're looking to schmooze with Vermont politicos over nachos and margaritas, Tortilla Coast's your place tonight.

If you haven't heard of it, that's because it ain't in Montpelier. Just two blocks from the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., Tortilla Coast is a popular watering hole for Beltway types looking to cool off with a Dos Equis.

Coincidentally, the Capitol Hill restaurant is playing host to two Vermont fundraisers tonight: one for a Republican state senate candidate from Franklin County and one for the Vermont Democratic House Campaign, which works to elect Dems to the Statehouse.

Continue reading "Vermont Dems (and a Republican) to Raise Money Over Nachos and Cervezas" »

June 05, 2012

Farmer Dave Shoots for the Senate

Jeb-dave-zuckermanHinesburg farmer and former Burlington lawmaker David Zuckerman said Tuesday he's returning to politics and running for the state senate.

First elected to the Vermont House in 1996 at the tender age of 25, Zuckerman worked his way up to chair the House Agriculture Committee — despite serving as a Progressive in a Democrat-controlled body. He stepped down from his Burlington seat two years ago to focus on moving his family's organic Full Moon Farm from the Burlington Intervale to a 151-acre plot in Hinesburg.

Now that he's all settled in, he says, he's ready to return to the Statehouse — this time as a member of Chittenden County's sprawling, six-member district.

"Looking at the major issues of this last session that didn't get resolved, many are issues I helped get started years ago," he says. "And I'd like to get back to the Senate and continue that work."

Continue reading "Farmer Dave Shoots for the Senate" »

June 04, 2012

Former Transportation Secretary to Run for State Senate

David DillA former transportation secretary in Gov. Jim Douglas' administration said Monday he's running for a Northeast Kingdom state senate seat.

Lyndon resident David Dill, a Republican, says that with lopsided Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature, opposing points of view have been given short shift.

"I think there needs to be a more conservative voice, a better balance in the senate," Dill says. "The one-party rule thing disturbs me, and I think there's some stuff going on that's not being examined closely enough."

What kind of stuff?

Dill says he's particularly focused on slowing down the adoption of single-payer health care and incentives for renewable energy. With his party currently controlling just eight of 30 seats in the body — and with Republican Sens. Randy Brock and Vince Illuzzi likely to step down to seek higher office — Dill acknowledges that slowing down the Democratic train will be tough even if he is elected.

"By myself, I won't be able to stop much, but I'm hoping we'll be able to get more conservative voices running and winning, so we'll get at least a better balance in the legislature than we do now," he says.

Continue reading "Former Transportation Secretary to Run for State Senate" »

June 01, 2012

A "Two-Fisted" or "Ham-Fisted" Attorney General?

When Attorney General Bill Sorrell launched his reelection campaign Wednesday at the Statehouse, he had clearly settled on a metaphor to describe his 15 years in office: that of a hard-charging fighter, ready to take the gloves off and beat his big, bad corporate opponents to smithereens.

Just a few lines into his announcement, the boxer/lawyer said, "I have been called a 'two-fisted attorney general,' and there's a reason for that: I have never backed away from aggressively but fairly enforcing our laws — even when confronting wealthy and powerful opponents."

Sorrell was so taken with the image, he repeated it again near the end of his prepared remarks: "Zealous and impartial enforcement of our campaign finance laws will remain a priority — and this 'two-fisted attorney general' will fight, fight, fight to uphold Vermont's laws, giving Vermonters a real say as to the future of Entergy's operations in the state."

So who exactly referred to the AG as he with the two fists? The New York Times? The Harvard Law Review? The Rutland Herald editorial page?

Not so much.

Continue reading "A "Two-Fisted" or "Ham-Fisted" Attorney General?" »

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