Campaign Countdown: Vermont lieutenant governor

By  | 

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Two familiar faces in Montpelier will be going head-to-head on Election Day hoping to be the next lieutenant governor.

The two major party candidates for lieutenant governor have seen their share of the Statehouse. Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman has served in the Legislature since 1997, first as a House member and then later as a state senator. The Progressive/Democrat has served one term in his current role.

"I've developed, I think, a solid reputation of fairness as a presiding officer over the body," Zuckerman said.

His opponent, Republican Don Turner of Milton, joined the Vermont House in 2006 and has served as minority leader for the past six years. He is Milton's town manager, serves as a volunteer firefighter, and also manages a realty business. His public service work is something he takes great pride in.

"I've been all for my community my entire adult life and now I want to be on call for Vermont as the next lieutenant governor," Turner said.

While both men have spent a long time in politics, their views are far apart. Zuckerman, an organic farmer from Hinesburg, is pushing to build a rural economy, capitalizing on Vermont's location and hoping to attract and keep young people.

"If we can continue to diversify our agriculture economy-- build up maybe a Vermont brand of milk or a way to get our dairies a better price for their milk and expand broadband into our rural areas-- we have an opportunity to create businesses that can work with those southern New England markets, where northwest Nebraska doesn't have that," Zuckerman said.

Turner also wants to keep young people here as well, but puts an emphasis on the cost of living and job opportunity in the trades.

"You're not a failure if you don't go to college, if you take and choose a career path, and I wanna work on that," Turner said.

The lieutenant governor position doesn't have much sway in policymaking, though. The main duties are standing in for the governor when they are out of state or can't do the job. They also preside over the Senate and are able to break a tie vote. Both say they won't necessarily follow along party lines.

"I definitely would look at the issue, as I have in the past, and ultimately the decision will come down to what's best for Vermonters," Turner said.

"I will always promote debate and discussion if there's that opportunity. Then let the votes fall where they may with respect to support for a position on the issue, because again, at the podium I don't make those debating points," Zuckerman said.

But even through their differences, both candidates say they want Vermonters to have faith in their elected leaders.

"Really, right now we need stability and civility in higher office in Vermont," Zuckerman said.

"The integrity of the institution is far more important than any one person," Turner said.