Meet the candidates for Vt. lieutenant governor - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Meet the candidates for Vt. lieutenant governor

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On the campaign trail, Democrat Cassandra Gekas goes on foot.

"When I'm out talking to voters that's so energizing," said Gekas, Democrat for Vt. lieutenant governor.

Republican Phil Scott takes two wheels.

"I want to slow down the pace," said Scott, Republican for Vt. lieutenant governor.

Scott is just finishing his first term as lieutenant governor. He served in the Vt. Senate for 10 years representing Washington County and owns a home in Berlin. He also races at Thunder Road.

Reporter Gina Bullard: How would you describe your style of governing?

Phil Scott: Open, objective; I took on four principles when I became lieutenant governor: I thought I need to listen, learn, help when I can and lead when I need to. And I think I've done that.

Gekas is running for statewide office for the first time. She moved to Vermont from Pennsylvania eight years ago and is running as both a Progressive and Democrat. She rents in Burlington.

"I think I'm a bridge builder. All the work I've done in the Statehouse-- I've been very successful there. I've passed five pieces of legislation in the past two and half years, three of which were original on my end," Gekas said.

For two years, Gekas lobbied for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, helping a bill to cover home births become law. But she was fired in June after her employer learned she was running. VPIRG has a policy to remain nonpartisan.

"There's always challenges in life and when I think about VPIRG, it's about what we were able to accomplish together and how successful my track record was there," Gekas said.

On the issues, the candidates disagree on wind power. Scott used to support wind, but now wants a two-year moratorium.

"After I rode my bike in Craftsbury over the ridgeline it was a bit startling to see the turbines on the ridgeline, so I said why not take a step back and see if this makes sense," Scott said.

Gina Bullard: So, you don't support a two-year?

Cassandra Gekas: No, it's not my job as an elected official to unilaterally decide where we're headed and what we're doing. My goal on wind is to continue to find ways to bring communities together.

Gekas says she hopes Gov. Peter Shumlin gets re-elected because as a Democrat she will push forward his agenda of a single-payer health care system.

Scott has questions about single-payer and says he needs to know what it will cost first.

"When I look at my opponent I think he's a nice guy with a good heart, but I don't see leadership or tackling tough policies and moving Vermont forward," Gekas said.

"I think I stand for Vermont, I stand for Vermonters, I stand for common sense," Scott said.

Scott says Shumlin has worked to make him part of the team, inviting him to cabinet meetings; a rare move since he's from the other party.

Gina Bullard: Does he take your input?

Phil Scott: I'd like to think so at times, but you never know. We talk frequently. But he does listen, I'll give him that.

There can be bumps on the campaign trail. Just miles into his 14-county bike riding tour, Scott took a tumble, slipping over a railroad track. Eight years ago, Scott fell the same way, breaking his collarbone.

"I'm glad I got that out of the way," he said.

He was not hurt this time, and politically he hasn't fallen yet-- winning every race.

In the home stretch Gekas says her hurdle is name recognition, but that's improving every day.

"When I talk to people, share what I've done and talk about my vision it swings people," she said.

A fight to the finish for these two candidates.

Phil Scott will finish his eight-day bike tour across the state on Tuesday. Since he isn't in the Statehouse during this time, he's donating a $1,000 portion of his weekly take home pay to the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.

Gekas says she'll be hitting the campaign trail until Election Day.

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