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Campaign Countdown: Secretary of State - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Campaign Countdown: Secretary of State

Jason Gibbs Jason Gibbs
Jim Condos Jim Condos

Burlington, Vermont - October 25, 2010

In our Campaign Countdown tonight, the battle between Democrat Jim Condos and Republican Jason Gibbs to be the next secretary of state.

A busy office in the Capital City, The Secretary of state deals with town clerks, business registrations and elections. This campaign season former State Senator Jim Condos and former Press Secretary for Governor Douglas, Jason Gibbs, are running for that title.

"It's an office that can help Vermont fight back against the recession and generate some long term economic activity and demonstrate the capacity of state government to be more innovative bringing the office from the 20th century to the 21st century," Gibbs said.

One of the major differences between the two candidates, Condos says, is their background. "I have over 20 years of elected experience. I have over 30 years of business experience and my opponent has never served in an elected position at all," Condos said.

"I'm much more of a 'yes if' kind of guy. The bureaucracy that Jim's been part of over the past eight years in the senate really engenders this 'no because' attitude that stifles innovation," Gibbs said.

Gibbs was appointed by Governor Jim Douglas in 2008 as the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation, which he says is management experience that translates to the secretary of states office. Both candidates say they're going to bring change. "I think we have to do a better job in meeting the needs of our entrepreneurial partners so that we have a more inviting environment to create businesses and grow jobs," Gibbs said.

"There's a tremendous amount of information on the secretary of state's web site and we need to bring some kind of consistency and bring it into the 21st century," Condos said.

Gibbs criticizes Condos for not being transparent during his time on the City Council, where he had a hand in the South Burlington pension crisis. "Out of 123 meetings, out of that four year period, they met in executive session 61 times. They met 12 times specifically to discuss contract related pension issues, but there's no public record of whether or not the difficult questions were asked," Gibbs said.

"When we were ready to ratify a contract or sign that contract we came out of executive session and we voted on it -- open session and then signed it in open session, so there was nothing mysterious about it," Condos said.

But Condos says that Gibbs did not lead by example either during his time in Governor Douglas' office. "When in doubt, give it out. I think it's important. That's a big difference between me and my opponent, who defended the Douglas administration on numerous occasions when they were holding public records," Condos said.

Gibbs argues that he was never in any position or involved with any decision to withhold public documents.

Both candidates hope the honks they are getting on the campaign trail translate to votes on election day.

Gina Bullard - WCAX News

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