August 22, 2010 -- Kristin Carlson has another look at the WCAX News profiles of the Democratic candidates for governor of Vermont.
From Vermont's most trusted news source.
WCAX brings you your news makers, your neighbors.
This is you can quote me.
>> Good morning.
I'm Kristin Carlson.
With a primary just two days away we will take a look at the five democrats running for governor with these profiles of who they are and where they stand.
>> People meet me and like me and trust me.
>> And likeability is what Susan Bartlett hopes will take her all the way to the statehouse.
The senator also says unlike many others, she's more than ready to hit the ground running.
>> No learning curve at all.
I can walk to the governor's office tomorrow and know exactly what we need to do and how to do it.
>> As a self proclaimed moderate, she says she stands out from the four other democrats vying for the top spot, including Peter Shumlin who possess what she says are fundamental differences.
>> I've been the person for ten years who has balanced the budget and taken them forward and he hasn't.
I would say there is a difference right there.
>> Critics argue that throughout the campaign, Bartlett has the least amount of name recognition and the most difficult time in securing votes in next week's primary.
>> I said when I got in that it would be difficult.
>>> The Hyde park resident says she has a sure‑fire game plan to win.
>> Between now and the primary is about these sorts of days and meeting as many Vermonters as possible.
And they talk to me and I talk to them.
A real two‑way street.
>> When we met up with her on the campaign trail she did exactly that by reaching out to farmers and small business owners, starting in Cabot.
>> Applying for the position as governor you will be be dealing with this issue.
>> Those are the people that are going to come out and support me and that's how you win a primary.
>> What would you do as governor to help the situation?
>> Some of the very people she spoke with are still undecided on whether Bartlett should be their leader.
>> She's got some fair ideas.
Think she's got some big ‑‑ big role ahead of her.
She says she thinks she is going to do whatever she wants to do.
>> Whoever is governor coming if here is going to have a lot of work to do.
>> Well, I have been a Douglas Dubie men for a long time so I came here just to question her and see how she felt about different things.
>> Her response, she would be a governor for all.
>> You would have a governor whose door is open to talking to all the different parts of our society, of all the different parts of our economy, and saying so where we want to go, what's the plan.
>> Hoping her willingness will give her an edge over the competition.
Melinda davenport, channel 3 news in CABOT.
>> As Matt DUNN volunteers building a new playground he does not sugar coat the problems that he says are putting Vermont in a very dangerous position.
>> Right now we are dead last in internet connectivity.
We are also last in higher education invest.
And we are near the bottom in access to capital for businesses large and small.
>> And Dunn says his willingness to point out the areas that need attention sets himself apart from the four other democrats running for governor.
>> Many of them criticized Brian Dubie for talking about how bad it is to do business in Vermont.
I actually welcome Brian Dubie flaming the debate for this fall that way because my question to Brian Dubie is where have you been.
>> But he lost to Dubie in the 2006 Lieutenant Governor's race and the youngest candidate in the race, some say his lack of experience and name recognition will hurt him again.
But he says government in the green mountain states needs a new approach to moving through the 21st century.
Says the paper trail is causing a financial mess.
>> You can't today get a list of the people who we contract with and how much we are spending on those contracts.
If you don't even know that kind of information, you can't make good decisions like any business leader would to be able to cut costs, particularly those costs that are in the back end.
>> Dunn says there are huge inefficiencies in infrastructure as well like 4 million square feet after ban donned industrial space and lack of broad band internet.
Investments he says will create jobs and cut costs.
So to get them done all options are on the table, including raising taxes.
>> Anytime we look at using new resources whether it is revenues or it is rainy day funds, it has to be in the purpose of reducing costs in the long‑term.
Would I use some capital to be able to do efficiency investments in state buildings, we can lower our long‑term electrical and heating costs?
>> The if you billed it they will come philosophy extends to his environmental estimates as well.
He says renewable energy needs to fit with Vermont values.
>> I am not going to support putting windmills on the top of camel's hump.
What do I believe is that we have to be investing in our long‑term energy future.
Wind is a part that of.
>> Dunn says his experience in both the public and private sectors gives him a unique perspective and knowledge to lead the state.
In a time win Dunn says is more precarious than ever but can be turned around.
>> We have a state that people want to live in.
And if we can build the infrastructure to allow people to actually do business in a state that is as extraordinary as ours, we can come out of this recession like a rocket.
>> Adam Sullivan, channel 3 news in Springfield.
>>> Hitting the phones to shore up votes.
>> We got to win this time and I'm the one who can beat Dubie.
>> He has sharpened his message that he is the one who can win in November against Republican Brian Dubie.
>> I appreciate your support.
He has come around.
>> Shumlin says voters like that are switching to him from other democrats and his campaign is picking up momentum.
>> We will kick us a vote August 24.
>> So far you got it
that's what we want to hear.
>> I see this as a job interview and the most important job interview.
>> He is a name that can draw strong reaction.
The leader of the senate and led the charge to close Vermont Yankee nuclear and pass same‑sex marriage.
>> There is no question that I have taken on tough battles but I say that's an asset.
You know, some folks say say he is kind of political.
What I say about that is, listen if you are hiring ‑‑ I don't apologize for being good at politics.
I hope I am.
That's why I'm running for governor.
>> His reputation as being politically savvy some would call slick.
Shumlin is quick with responses but he says it stems from growing up dyslexic
>> I had to use all of the facilities available to me to make up for that shortfall.
My mouth obviously the ability to express myself is where I turned.
What I learned from that experience was I will always fight for people who don't have a voice, who weren't born on a level playing field, who are discriminated against.
>> Shumlin's priorities pass a single payer health care system, grow green jobs, and give an income tax break to college students who come to work in Vermont.
And he would focus on small companies.
>> The economic jobs outreach of the state of Vermont has been misguided.
We haven't focused on the small businesses in Vermont 90% of our companies in Vermont are like mine.
25 or less employees.
>> Shumlin is the wealthiest person in the governor's race, a millionaire.
There are few details on how he would pay for all his proposals but he says it will not take new taxes.
>> I do not believe that Vermont has anymore tax capacity.
>> But your opponents will pass on that because that's something you said during two cycles ago in the legislature and then the democrats did raise taxes.
>> Well you know, first of all I think that was a fluke.
Secondly, as governor Douglas will tell you, we corrected the problems this year.
>> In this budget year democrats and the governor agreed on a plan to cut the budget and find efficiencies in state government.
Peter Shumlin says if elected that's the same approach he will take next year.
>> We need your vote a week from Tuesday.
>> Another vote as the race to win the primary counts down.
>> Nonstop between now and 294th?
>> Nonstop between now and 24th.
>> At 4' 10", Deb markowitz is the shortest of the five democrats in Tuesday's primary but she's long on energy.
>> Today we have grown from ‑‑
>> She visited dealer.com, talking to the growing staff at the Burlington website developer about some of her top priorities if she's elected governor.
Helping existing Vermont companies to expand is at the top of her list
>> You know, the current administration has been trying to steal big industry from another state and I no that he you help your existing businesses grow first.
I will be tough on banks.
We put 4 billion dollars into financial institutions.
and I'm going to say lock, if you are not lending to Vermont businesses, you are not getting Vermont taxpayer dollars.
>> Markowitz has been Vermont's secretary of state since the late 1990s.
And boasts she's turned that office around from a red tape‑filled bureaucracy to one that stresses customer service.
She vows to do the same for other state departments, focusing on preserving the environment while also upgrading the state's internet and cell phone infrastructure.
She hopes to market Vermont has a great place to do business but she knows not all is rosey in Montpelier.
>> If you are elected governor you will inherit quite the budget mess.
What are you going to do about it request
>> We are facing 120 million dollar budget deficit in the next year.
And I will tell you of all the candidates in the race including Dubie I'm the only one with real experience dealing with a budget having to make cuts.
>> She has never served in the state legislature unlike her primary opponents.
But she says that's not a handicap because she can look at issues with fresh eyes.
She has worked closely on shaping some Vermont laws, though.
Including election reform, changes to accounting rules and protections for victims of rape and stalking.
>> Vermonters know that when I see a problem, I fix it.
>> Can the average Vermonter afford the taxes that they are being asked to pay?
>> We face a challenge in the state.
We paying for the infrastructure of the state with a population of a small city.
And so as governor I will make sure that we have a tax code that is fair.
That is progressive.
But that creates incentives for success.
We've go to make Vermont more affordable for families and for businesses.
>> Mark owe kids unseeded and incumbent in the first of her 6 statewide election wins, she knows the 7th win in Tuesday's primary would mean a match up with a popular and well‑known Republican in Brian Dubie.
But she believes she can win against him in November, calling herself more practical than partisan.
And in touch with the needs of Vermonters in cities and towns alike.
>> I'm feeling confident coming into these last few days.
>> Just a few steps way from a campaign headquarters, Doug Racine waves to drivers passing through.
Born and raised in Burlington, Racine has served more than a dozen years in the Vermont senate and was Lieutenant Governor from 1996 to 2002.
>> I think a really good experience there.
>> He's earned a reputation as someone who can build consensus across party lines.
Something he says has gotten harder over the years as democrats and Republicans entrench themselves deep ner a partisan battle
>> I think that's unfortunate because we don't do our best work where we are lining up across an arbitrary line like that.
>> Do you think you can change that tone if your elected?
>> Hope I can change that tone.
That's really for me.
>> Like his four competitors his top priority is the economy but he has a slightly different approach.
>> You are just worldwide, aren't you?
>> Racine wants to dip into the state's 57 million dollar rainy day fund to fill part of the expected budget gap for 2012 and open to raising taxes rather than continuing to cut the budget.
He says it is about building a solid foundation for recovery.
>> I'm the only candidate who is saying I'm willing to do that and the other candidates seem to be willing to cut back on the services that our elderly get, children are receiving or cut back on the services that businesses need to get through a permit process, for example.
>> Racine wants to change the structure of health care in Vermont.
Helped to pass a bill last legislative session that hires consultants to design possible new health care systems for Vermont to adopt.
He is also pushing for early childhood education and family sis tans to give kids what he calls a good start.
>> How did we get them off to a good start without spending lots more money on them?
>> By shifting priorities around and shifting dollars around and saying we are not going to cut those programs.
>> Racine and his brothers run the Burlington Jeep dealership their parents started.
Critics accuse him of being out of touch with the day to day operations and therefore out of touch with the average working Vermonter.
But Racine is quick to fire back, explaining he worked his way through college and is involved in the family business.
>> Nobody handed me that.
I went in and I worked ‑‑ I worked hard.
>> This is his second crack at the job of governor, having lost to Jim Douglas in 2002.
>> Doug Racine.
Nice to meet you.
>> When asked if he can beet Brian Dubie in November, he answers confidently.
>> I've beaten Brian Dubie.
He ran against me in 2000.
He was part of the take‑back Vermont movement and an aggressive campaign.
And I won by 8 points.
>> He knows the margin will be slimmer in this tight primary.
So he continues to connect with voters one carload at a time.
Bianca Slota, channel 3 news.
>> Stay with us.
More profiles to come up and down the ticket as you can quote me continues.
We continue to profile the biggest races in the August 24 primary.
Keagan Harsha takes a look at the contest for senate and house.
Bianca Slota tells us about the race for Lieutenant Governor.
>> Of all the contests on this year's primary ballot no race better exemplifies the David versus Goliath.
>> That is how you view this race?
>> Do I.
>> The atmosphere in Leahey's headquarters ‑‑
>> Leahey was first elected to the U.S. senate in 1974 at the age of 34.
Not only was he the youngest person to be elected to the U.S. senate in Vermont's history, also the first Democrat.
36 years and 7 primary elections later, only one other U.S. senator has more seniority.
>> It takes a lot of seniority, it takes the right committee assignments to be able to do that.
think I have learned a lot more.
In might say if I ever feel I'm no longer learning, in the job, I don't want the job.
>> Dan Freilich has never run for state office.
The 47 year old physician and U.S. Navy captain lacks the name recognition and campaign war chest that Leah has.
He says that's partly why he's running.
Arguing the political climate in Washington favors of the privileged where lawmakers like lie she are bought and sold.
>> I have only one special interest.
And that is the people of Vermont.
>> When it comes to the issues, there are some differences between the two candidates.
Both support a single payer health care system but he is critical of Leahy for voting for the health care bill.
Argue, it does little to improve the system.
>> So it is a difference of extent.
I think we have to fix this now.
He is willing to fix it over decades.
>> The health care bill was an enormous start.
I cannot understand these people who say they would have voted again the health care bill.
Because gosh to wait for something better we were have heard that argument literally all my lifetime.
>> He is also critical of Leahy's wavering support for the war in Afghanistan, both believe the Iraq war was a mistake, and Leahy has expressed reservations about the status of the the war in Afghanistan
>> I think it is actually very counter productive if senator Leahy is right now in the middle of the surge, of a mission and operation, to be questioning it.
I think what it does is that it strengthens the the enemy.
>> Our troops are doing an believably good job.
I just wish the Afghan troops would begin to do anywhere near as good of a job.
>> Two candidates do see eye to eye on some issues.
Both back reforms to help Vermont dairy farmers including a proposal to cap milk production on dairy forms to better control supply and demand.
>> Don't like it.
I think most farmers don't like it but it seems to work in many places where it has been tried.
>> On energy, both candidates support development of wind, solar, hydro and other forms of renewable energy.
He strongly opposes nuclear energy and the continued operation of Vermont Yankee.
Leahy wouldn't weigh in on the Yankee debate, saying it is a state issue but he does say he has some reservations about nuclear power.
>> Who wants to answer the question what did you do with the waste.
Until you answer that you will not get support for nuclear.
>> Just a few of the similarities and differences between the candidates with the primary now less than two weeks away.
>> Three candidates all from different could corners of the state but all fairly similar in terms of their message.
>> Any Republican party primary, a lot of similarities because we tend to think alike.
>> Paul is perhaps the candidate most familiar to Vermonters.
The Franklin county native around former WDEV talk show radio host is championed a variety of causes.
Most recently a push for a Wal‑Mart store.
>> We want Wal‑Mart to open its doors.
>> They are prominent businessmen.
Stern owns a produce business in white river junction and Mitchell is the former CEO of the Vermont marble company.
>> Out are on 5.
>> Not much separates the candidates on most issues, there are some differences.
Especially when it comes to energy.
Keith stern wants to expand ethanol production
>> So farmers can grow crops that, they can grow every year and make a profit off of that.
>> John Mitchell favors whatever form of energy happens to be the cheapest.
He says that's currently coal, oil, and natural gas.
>> Going off and building windmills and solar panels and stuff like that, with taxpayer sub Sid eels, is in my view a foolish course of action.
If those sources of power are to be developed, then let's let the private market do it
>> Paul Beaudry is a big supporter of nuclear energy and says radioactive waste should be recycled and reused.
He also backs natural gas and envisions a day when motorists will fill their tanks with it.
>> We have the ability to do it and that would be home grown energy right here.
>> Stern has a unique plan to completely revamp the income tax system.
>> I'm running for Congress.
>> Mills proposal would exempt from taxes the first 75 thousand dollars a person earns, a flat tax would be imposed on all income above that.
he argues that would allow people to spend more, boosting the economy.
When it comes to helping Vermont dairy farms, all three candidates vow to change the guest worker program do that undocumented workers can work here legally.
Opposes a cap on milk production.
>> It is a very foolish idea.
Let the marketplace decide.
>> The price will go up, will go down and it would also make a lot of the farmers realize the fact that they have to be frugal with the way they produce.
>> I believe we set a base price where the farmers make a profit.
>> All three candidates also oppose the health care bill passed by Congress.
So the challenge before them may be the biggest thing they have in common, winning the primary and then beating Peter Welch come November.
>> She admits that it is a tough challenge to beat an incumbent.
I won't deny that at all is special an incumbent who has a million dollars.
>> All three say they are up for that challenge so long as voters give them a chance come August 24.
Keaghan Harsha, channel 3 news in Burlington.
>> How are you?
>> Vermont representative Chris bray drove up from his horse farm to connect with voters on church street in Burlington.
One of two democrats vying for the position of Lieutenant Governor.
>> All the things I've been looking at are foed on what we want call, Vermonter to Vermonter work things we can do for ourselves.
>> His opponent, Howard, is also a state representative, serving Rutland.
>> So I really have a middle class values and bring the values of this community to the blue collar community.
>> Howard first came to the statehouse in 1992 and served for 7 years.
Before leaving to focus on his work as a grass roots organizer and campaign fundraiser, mostly for female candidates E came back in 2004.
>> Hey, Mary.
How are you sweetheart?
>> Howard is focus on creating a level playing field for all Vermonters, regardless of their economic status.
>> So a Medicare for all self‑insurance system.
Ending our dependence on nuclear power and fossil fuels and ending the above evident gap in our public schools.
>> Bray joined Howard at the statehouse 4 years ago.
Worked a number.
jobs over the years from sugarer to carpenter, teacher and project organizer, where he has built his career.
His main priority is creating a Vermonter to Vermonter loan fund supported with what he calls freedom and unity bonds.
>> That were we to participate even sort of a modest level compared to the expectations I have based on polling people about their interests, it would probably be roughly a 500 million dollar fund.
So, rather than having government fund these new initiatives, it would be a pool created by Vermonters to helping Vermonter grow business.
>> It is the Lieutenant Governor's job to provide ‑‑ preside over the senate and step in as state leader if something hams to the governor.
Bray says that leaves about 85% of the Lieutenant Governor's schedule blank.
>> That blank space is where I want to write in the job description of being a champion for local sustainable development.
Whether it is local business, local renewable energy, local food.
>> Howard has big ideas for how to transform the position as well.
And takes exception to the notion that it is a powerless job.
>> Not powerless if you know how to organize.
My power won't come from the insiders in Montpelier.
My power will come from people outside of the state and my mission is to transform this sort of sleepy ceremonial office into a grass roots center of action.
>> Two men hoping to transform their experience in the legislature into election success on August 24.
Channel 3 news.