2012 started with money -- Governor Shumlin proposed the states first $5 billion dollar budget.
The Governor got most of what he wanted from the Democratically controlled legislature, from rebuilding the Waterbury office complex, to health care, to holding the line on taxes. And the education commissioner will now become a secretary -- controlled no longer by the education board -- instead -- answering directly to the Governor.
Burlington elected a new Mayor, Miro Weinberger. The political newcomer won, pledging a fresh start, beating better known candidates -- putting a Democrat in charge of City Hall for the first time in three decades. "Whether you voted today for Kurt or Wanda or for me, let's come together now, tonight as one community," Weinberger said.
But the state could not come together with FEMA. The Shumlin administration and FEMA had a miscommunication over rebuilding after Irene damaged the state office complex Waterbury. The two are still negotiating and it's unclear how much the state will have to pay. "We have to prepare for a long, sometimes bumpy, sometimes happy ride with FEMA," Shumlin said.
The funding flap opened the door for criticism from Republican Gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock. "We should have had contingency plans in place and we didn't," Brock said. Brock also brought up Shumlin's vacations and overtime troubles in state government, but nothing resonated with voters. Governor Shumlin easily won re-election.
And on election night Democrats won up and down the ballot. The only Republican elected statewide is Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott. Many in the GOP say they need to rebuild or lose all relevance. "It's a bittersweet moment watching some of the other races, legislative and state wide, that worked so hard but weren't successful," Scott said.
While Democrats rule in Vermont, women do not. There was only one woman elected statewide -- Treasurer Beth Pearce. A sharp contrast to New Hampshire where Granite State voters made history, electing the first all-woman delegation. "I think it's really cool," observed former Vt. House Speaker Gaye Symington. "I'm a little bit jealous."
This election there were some new players trying to influence Vermonters votes -- Super PACs. The groups can raise and spend as much as they want as long as the don't coordinate with campaigns. A group made T. V. ads for Bill Sorrell late in his close primary battle against T.J. Donovan, lifting Sorrell to victory. But in the general election a conservative Super PAC spent almost a million dollars but had little influence on the outcome.
And the year ended with a debate over gun control. Governor Shumlin said change should happen in Washington. Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch are open to an assault weapons ban. Senator Leahy will lead those hearings as Chair of the Judiciary Committee.
With the serious side of politics, there came also some silliness. Who can forget Governor Shumlin's bear story? "The biggest bear is a long distance away -- starts tearing for the porch as I am grabbing the other two feeders, so I grab them and tear for the porch door and literally it was seven feet from the door when I slammed it shut. I thought, that bear is coming right through," Shumlin said.
A crazy tale. But the Governor even revealed more about the middle of the night run. "Lets just put it this way," Shumlin said. "Real Vermont boys don't wear pajamas, so the bear was better dressed than me."
Baring it all and proving in politics -- it's tough to predict what we'll be talking about next year.
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:52:04 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:07:19 GMT
IBM and chip production may soon be parting ways. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Blue is looking to unload three chipmaking plants-- two in upstate New York and its Vermont plant in Essex Junction.More >>
With indications IBM may sell off its chipmaking plants, we talked to the company experts say may buy them. GlobalFoundries already has employees working at IBM in Essex Junction through a partnership, and experts say that could help the company decide whether the plant is a worthy investment.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:04:45 GMT
Darn Tough appears to be making a darn good profit. The high-end sock manufacturer out of Northfield reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever, with revenues up almost 80 percent over theMore >>
Vermont sock manufacturer Darn Tough reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever.More >>