Vermont Primary Profile: Democrats for governor on the issues

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 7:17 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - In just eight days, Vermonters will decide the party nominees for the November general election. Incumbent Phil Scott may be a lock for the Republican nod for governor. But the Democratic primary looks to be a closer contest. Our Calvin Cutler takes a look at where the candidates stand on the issues.

Amid a global pandemic, a state budget in the red and calls for racial justice, Vermont's next governor will have a full plate.

Leading up to the August primaries, Rebecca Holcombe, David Zuckerman and Pat Winburn agree on a number of issues such as a taxed and regulated marijuana market and paid family leave.

After the death of George Floyd came new calls for racial justice and systemic police reform. Holcombe and Zuckerman support bias training across state government.

Zuckerman says he wants to take a hard look at who receives economic development opportunities to avoid disproportionate opportunities.

“From slavery to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to the GI bill to redlining to bank loans that have all been part of the build-up to this huge disproportionate wealth gap that we have in communities of color,” Zuckerman said.

Also taking center stage-- reining in skyrocketing health care costs. Zuckerman says he supports a universal primary care system paid for through a single-payer model. But Holcombe wants to strengthen the state’s all-payer model which seeks to bring down costs through preventive care.

"Our current health care model rewards people and compensates doctors when they provide expensive services. The problem is we don't reward doctors and hospitals when they keep people healthy in the first place. Payment reform makes that difference," Holcombe said.

Meanwhile, the Vermont State Colleges System is looking at a $30 million hole this year. Holcombe wants to double down with bridge funding through the Legislature while Zuckerman wants to raise income taxes for wealthy Vermonters. Winburn, however, says the cash should come from the feds.

"Children are our future and people need to get a vocational education so that they can do things and be productive with their hands that actually create and help other Vermonters," Winburn said.

Democratic voters will have a choice of these three candidates plus Ralph Corbo.

Gov. Phil Scott has four challengers on the Republican ticket. There are also two candidates running for the Progressive nomination.

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