Campaign Countdown: The race for Vermont lieutenant governor
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Recent polls indicate it’s a tight contest in the race for Vermont’s next lieutenant governor. With Lt. Governor David Zuckerman running for governor, Democrat Molly Gray and Republican Scott Milne are hoping to take the open seat. In Vermont, the lieutenant governor has two main functions -- presiding over the Senate and breaking ties. They don’t make policy.
“I am running for lieutenant governor because I want to put people before politics,” said Molly Gray, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
The assistant attorney general burst onto the political scene in January, receiving early endorsements from Democratic heavyweights. She grew up on a farm in Newbury, Vermont, and graduated from the University of Vermont.
She helped to elect Congressman Peter Welch before moving to Washington D.C. as his congressional aide. Gray spent three years working across the globe for the Red Cross and returning home to attend Vermont Law School.
“I have worked across our state. I know the value of our rural communities. I know what it’s like to work at a small business, but I also know what it’s like to serve statewide, to work with our congressional delegation,” Gray said.
Pomfret business owner Scott Milne is hoping the third time is the charm in a general election. In 2014, Milne was just 2,000 votes shy of unseating Governor Peter Shumlin. Two years later he was trounced in a challenge to Senator Patrick Leahy. He says losing those races makes him a stronger candidate now. “I think Scott Milne is going to be lieutenant governor, but I have been wrong before,” Milne said.
He grew his family’s travel agency from a small business to a company with nine locations throughout New England and New York. He believes it’s the type of experience needed for the lieutenant governor’s office. “I think a business voice is underrepresented in Montpelier,” he said.
“I didn’t inherit a family business, if that’s what he’s talking about. I grew up on a farm. I know what it’s like to run a business,” Gray said.
If elected, Gray plans to focus on Vermont’s demographic challenges by attracting young people, by increasing access to broadband, expanding child care, and investing in the state college system. She says she wants to use federal money to help pay for those goals and plans to work with the congressional delegation to secure funding. “We are not going to tax hard-working Vermonters,” Gray said.
Milne doesn’t buy that and says his proposals, including streamlining state government, revitalizing rural Vermont, and growing the workforce, will pay for themselves. “They’re all achievable, affordable, things that will make Vermont a better place,” he said.
A contentious topic between the candidates is each other’s voting record. Both have missed election year votes in the past, but now they are both focused on winning your vote between now and November 3
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