WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. -
With the general election still months away, the lunch crowd at Crossroads Café in White River Junction is already looking to the future.
"I think there are a lot of great programs that are going on in the state right now," said Bill Mann of Quechee, "but I have concern of how they are going to be paid for."
Concerns that are shared by Pomfret businessman Scott Milne.
"I have a great idea that I want to do it, Adam," Milne said.
Milne is seriously considering a run for governor of Vermont. He likens the current state of affairs in the Green Mountain State to a sinking ship.
"These seem pretty good in Vermont right now, but somebody has got to keep an eye out for the icebergs and figuring out how we get around them," Milne said.
The icebergs, he says, are skyrocketing property taxes, a health care plan without a price tag and a business climate that drives people from the state. And while Milne has not officially entered the race, he's already taking aim at Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont. However, Shumlin is staying above the fray. The governor says he won't start campaigning until September and is focused on the job the people elected him to do. But Milne says he's getting a free ride.
"A Democratic administration, we've got veto-proof majorities in both houses. If you believe that you need balance in Montpelier, that balance is the best way forward, there is really an easy way to do that and that is to change the governor," Milne said.
But the travel agency owner is not the only one who may be up for the challenge. Randy Brock was defeated by Shumlin in 2012. He says he is considering another run and will decide shortly. And prominent Republicans are trying to sway that decision. Former GOP Chairman Jack Lindley distributed a letter over the weekend which begins, "Vermonters would do well to consider Randy Brock as their next governor." The letter, which Lindley says is an official endorsement, goes on to read, "It is my great hope that the Vermont Republican Party will unite and support Randy Brock for Governor."
Milne says he would welcome more voices in the race.
"I hope we have a competitive primary," he said. "I think it is a hard, hard road to hoe in Vermont for a Republican to get elected anyway. But that path to victory is much better with an issue-orientated positively fought out primary."
All candidates, including the governor, have until June 12 to make a decision. And the clock is ticking. Vermont's primary is just three months away.
Shumlin says he is not campaigning for governor but continues to raise campaign contributions and is marching in parades this campaign season.
The Progressive Party has not announced a possible candidate in the governor's race.
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