Zuckerman and Benning debate for lieutenant governor post
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - David Zuckerman and Joe Benning stepped onto the WCAX debate stage Wednesday night.
The two candidates hoping to become Vermont’s next lieutenant governor went head to head fielding questions on issues facing Vermonters and how they would serve as Vermont’s number two.
Benning, a moderate Republican, touts his ability to work well with three-term incumbent Gov. Phil Scott if he wins reelection over Democrat Brenda Siegel, but does say he would work with Siegel, too.
“It’s the kind of style that I actually have participated in my 12-year career in the Senate,” said Benning.
The attorney from Lyndonville, touting his commitment to the office, says he would stick with it and run again in 2024.
Zuckerman, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2020, isn’t counting out a run for higher office.
“I’m not going to say no to any opportunity but we will see the lay of the land in whatever faces us,” Zuckerman said.
The candidates drew differences on tackling the overdose crisis, police reform and finding shovel-ready projects to chip away at the housing crisis.
“I know that David has been absent from the Legislature, we have been actually devoting a lot of money,” Benning said.
“What we need to do is be thinking ahead and creating a stable funding source that will be there perpetually or at least for the long haul,” Zuckerman said.
On how to reel in skyrocketing health care costs. Zuckerman says he’s in favor of revisiting single-payer health care.
Benning says it’s too big of a task for one state to do alone.
“This is a national conversation, not a state conversation,” Benning said.
If elected, Benning or Zuckerman would not be able to draft bills and only cast tie-breaking votes. Benning describes the role of the lieutenant governor as being an ambassador of sorts, working with the governor to spread awareness of Vermont across the country.
“People who can work in harmony or synchronization together or are in conflict,” Benning said.
Zuckerman sees the role of Vermont’s number two much differently, describing it as a way to amplify the voices of citizens on child care climate change and housing.
“That way when we’re addressing these issues you know how to reach out to legislators and help influence the policies,” Zuckerman said.
Ballots are already in the hands of voters leading up to Election Day on Nov. 8.
If you missed the debate, you can watch it in the player below.
There are more debates to come.
- 10/6 Gubernatorial debate
- 10/12 Lt. gov. debate
- 10/18 Congressional debate
- 10/26 Senate debate
The debates all start at 7 p.m. and last an hour. Our 6 p.m. broadcast will only be half an hour on those nights.
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