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Racial issues divide Vt. lieutenant governor candidates - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Racial issues divide Vt. lieutenant governor candidates

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Just a week after controversial police shootings of African-Americans in Charlotte and Tulsa, race is becoming a hot issue in Vermont's lieutenant governor's race. The Republican is accusing the Democrat of trivializing the issue of race.

In an open letter to his opponent, Randy Brock lists a myriad of complaints.

"When I couple that with statements that David has made in the past about race, it tells me he doesn't get it," said Brock. 

Brock, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, says his opponent, Democrat David Zuckerman, doesn't understand racial issues.

In an open letter to Zuckerman, Brock writes:

"While I don't question your intentions, I am concerned that that you may be trying to score political points by exploiting an incredibly sensitive and difficult national issue."

"The politicizing of it has now happened when it was actually very low key from a politics perspective," said Zuckerman. 

Brock is upset Zuckerman took part in a Sunday event at Arts Riot in Burlington billed as a discussion about race. Brock says his opponent's advertising the event as a "good time" with a cash bar, trivializes racial issues.

"I don't think it's appropriate to take a serious subject like racism and trivialize it in that fashion," said Brock. 

"I don't know whether he's misunderstanding my actions or not looking at what my actions are," said Zuckerman. 

Zuckerman is defending his record, offering examples like when he protested in St. Albans when an African-American student felt mistreated.

Edwin Owusu organized the "Raise Your Voice" event Sunday. He says numerous politicians showed up, not just Zuckerman.

"We got to hear a lot of great things and a lot of great insights from people of all walks," said Owusu. 

Brock is also upset that on Twitter, a Zuckerman staffer retweeted thoughts from a supporter that Brock would "tacitly encourage" hate.

"That I found to be offensive," said Brock. 

Zuckerman says he can't control what some supporters choose to say. 

"I've worked hard at numerous events throughout the summer to help amplify the voice of the community of color," said Zuckerman. 

Brock says Zuckerman has not responded directly to his open letter.

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