Democrat Peter Shumlin and Republican Randy Brock faced-off for the first time Wednesday night. The candidates for Vermont governor spent much of the hour-and-a-half discussing jobs and healthcare.
At the first Gubernatorial debate of the general election season - hosted by Vermont Public Radio - the candidates covered a range of topics: from FEMA funding to cell phone coverage, Irene response to marijuana decriminalization, health reform to the F-35, and jobs, green and otherwise.
The candidates fielded questions from the hosts, each other, and the public. Before wrapping, they took the opportunity to make a final pitch to undecided voters.
"I think we've proven that I can bring business practices, common sense and tough leadership to state government to make things happen," said Shumlin. "I urge you, I encourage you to give us another two years to complete the job that we've begun."
"Right now we have a Governor who says he gets tough things done," said Brock in response, "and he does bold things, and the question is are they bold or are they reckless?"
Throughout the debate, Brock criticized Shumlin for acting before doing his homework on issues like single-payer and reconstruction of the state hospital. However, when pushed to provide nuanced details of his own plans Brock responded by saying that's not the role of the challenger, adding he won't have the resources to do so until in office.
Shumlin countered that Vermont's biggest problems require bold action, and that the Green Mountain State's experiments will be the model for other states to follow.
Voters will have the chance to hear the candidates debate about five more times before deciding the path of Vermont's future. The WCAX debate will be held Saturday, October 13th at 7:00 p.m.
The number of debates the Shumlin and Brock will have has been a campaign issue of late though it did not get raised Wednesday night.
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