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Milne kicks off campaign for Vt. governor - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Milne kicks off campaign for Vt. governor

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BARRE, Vt. - It's official. Businessman Scott Milne kicked off his campaign to unseat Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont. He's a Republican in a blue state and is betting that with taxes rising, more Vermonters want leadership from the center. Analysts say that may not be enough to win.

He admits he may have an uphill climb, but Milne says he should be and can be Vermont's next governor. The Republican formally launched his campaign taking aim at the current governor.

"He must answer for his unkept promises and his mistakes. The bubble of his rhetoric must be deflated and seen for what it is. I suggest we wipe away the foam and see what's left. With a new governor, with more balance in our capitol and with a more moderate course, we can do better," said Milne.

Dozens turned out to cheer on Milne at the Aldrich Library in Barre including big GOP names like Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and former Governor Jim Douglas.

"We have a crisis of affordability in Vermont," said Douglas.

Questioning the health of Vermont's economy and the state's march toward single-payer health care were themes throughout the event.

"Whether the course he has set for the state is responsible and realistic, whether the long-term health of the economy and most importantly of our people is best served by continuing the ultra-progressive agenda and government that he has created as his legacy," said Milne.

Political analysts say Milne's approach is no surprise.

"All of it has to be tied to fiscal matters because there is an unease in the public right now," said Mike Smith, a Republican political analyst.

Smith and Democratic analyst Steve Terry agree that Milne is announcing late and behind in the money race. He's raised $20,000 compared to Shumlin's $1 million stockpile. They both see the economy as a potential weakness for Shumlin with property taxes rising and a cloud hanging over IBM and its 4,000 jobs in Essex.

They differ though on whether Vermonters are fed up enough to go against 50 years of history and vote out an incumbent governor.

"I think there's an opportunity there," said Smith.

"Probably not. I don't see a circumstance where Vermont fires this governor," said Terry.

Terry says Milne's best approach is getting free media attention by making news and by not just criticizing, but defining himself.

"Where is the substance? And I still think that has yet to be played out," said Terry.

Milne runs the travel agency started by his parents and says his business background gives him credibility with Vermonters. His mom, Marion, was a longtime legislator in Orange County and his dad, Don, is clerk of the Vermont House.

As for Shumlin, he says despite fundraising through the summer, he's waiting till the fall to jump into the fray. 

"I welcome him to the race but again, I will do politics after Labor Day and until then, this is a tough job, it's an incredibly important job for Vermonters, I'm going to focus on the job that I was hired to do," said Shumlin.

Milne spoke quite a bit about Shumlin, but he still has to win the Republican primary next month. Emily Peyton and Steve Berry are also in the GOP race.
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