Governor Peter Shumlin refused to speak about his re-election throughout most of the summer. But, Monday marked the end of keeping his plans to run again an open-secret.
He stumped and kissed babies in all four corners of the Green Mountain state before taking the stage in Burlington. "Give me another 24 months," he said to the crowd of supporters gathered at Nectar's Restaurant, "to finish the work we started."
Republican challenger Randy Brock kicked-off his campaign almost a full year earlier and has been critical of Shumlin's late entrance into campaign season.
Shumlin began his speech by thanking supporters, but quickly turned to criticizing republican challenger Randy Brock, stealing a line from Bill Clinton's recent speech at the Democratic National Convention. "Let's do some simple arithmetic," he said as he began comparing his plans with Brock's.
He says his administration is responsible for adding 7,500 jobs to the Vermont economy since taking office a year and a half ago. As for single-payer health-care reform, the other major issue Shumlin hammered in his 20-minute speech, he says the unknown costs now are less scary than the soaring prices of the status-quo.
Both Shumlin and Brock see healthcare and jobs as two of the issues voters care about most. "Eight weeks until election day, we're looking forward to a spirited campaign," said Shumlin, "I have a lot of respect for my opponent, lets make it a discussion about the issues."
However, Shumlin only intends on discussing the issues with his opponent about half as often as he did in his original campaign. The governor says will only participate in about six debates held by broadcast outlets.
Shumlin says he's limiting the debates so as not to shirk his responsibilities in his current role as governor. Brock has criticized him for refusing to participate in debates held by interest groups but managing to find time to deliver speeches to those same groups.
The issue is likely to resurface this Wednesday when the pair sit down for their first debate.